January 20/27, 2014; Volume 27/Number 19
By Ken Ryan
In his nearly four decades in the flooring industry, Bill Snowdon said he has never seen a product get out of the gate so fast—and sustain that sales pace for two years—as Elevations’ luxury vinyl tile from Raskin Industries.
“We were the first to take Raskin on,” said Snowdon, vice president of residential sales for E.J. Welch, a Midwest distributor that serves Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, western Kentucky and Iowa.
Snowdon met with Michael Raskin, president of Raskin Industries, and his team at Surfaces 2012. Less than two months later, Welch was selling Elevations. “To launch it that quickly is almost impossible to do,” he said.
Elevations, a 5mm product with 20 mil (commercial) and 12 mil (residential) wearlayers, was an overnight sensation in Welch’s portfolio. “I’ve been around hard surfaces for nearly 40 years and have not seen a product take off like this one has,” Snowdon said.
Elevations has been profitable for distributors and worry-free as well. Welch has sold more than 1 million square feet of the product in less than two years, with nary an issue. “It’s been a great product for us. It is well styled and has some bulk to it. People still like to touch the product, and they will feel some heft with this. The amazing thing is the sales have continued and not plateaued.”
Michael Halebian & Co., a distributor that serves New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, reported similarly strong results with Elevations—commercially and residentially—since taking on the line in May 2013.
“We’ve had an outstanding first seven months,” said Pete Schmitt, product marketing manager. “It usually takes well over a year for a product to develop substantial specifications on the commercial side, but this product had substantial specs almost immediately.”
Elevations’ design has captured the interest of both the A&D community and consumers, Schmitt said. “Beyond that, it is unique from the standpoint of the Gravity Grip non-skid backing and ease of installation.”
Both distributors praised Raskin as a strong supplier with which it is easy to work. “The company bends over backwards for us, and we bend over backwards for them,” Snowdon said. “Raskin is a small company, and it is often easier to deal with a company like that because you can get things done a lot faster.”
Snowdon said the product has boosted both the company’s bottom line and image. “Frankly it has put our name on the map. We have moved up a few echelons in our market by having this product.”
Distributors are in the process of ordering Elevations Loft, Raskin’s new tile and plank collection that will be showcased at Surfaces. The Loft collection is a 4mm looselay (perimeter glue) offering in 18 x 18 and 7 x 47¼-inch formats. It has a fiberglass sheet for added dimensional stability. “A solid fiberglass sheet is the game-changing component that separates us from most of the competition,” said John Hunter, national sales manager for Raskin.