November 10/17, 2014; Volume 28/Number 11
By Ken Ryan
With a plethora of LVT products vying for space in retail showrooms, one way for a product to differentiate itself is through unique styling. In that case, Raskin Industries’ Elevations Loft is winning the battle, according to distributors who carry the product.
Mike Welch, president of E.J. Welch, an Earth City, Mo.-based flooring distributor with locations in five states, said the realism of Loft’s visuals—both ceramic and wood—and the grays and beiges that are in step with what consumers seek are making a clear difference in the marketplace. Couple that with aggressive pricing, and you have a successful product that will appeal to a variety of customers.
“Our sales of Loft are very strong,” Welch said. “It has settled in very nicely in the residential arena with its price point and ease of installation. Another cool thing: We were a little tepid in the idea of grouting plank, but seeing it done has made us believers.”
There are other believers in the way in which Loft is constructed. Scott Carson, product manager for T&L Distributing in Houston, said Raskin Industries has done “an incredible job with Loft hitting on the visuals the homeowner is asking for and needing for her home.”
The distributor also praised the softer color tones, including cool browns, subtle grays and a calming beige the market is seeking, as well as some rustic looks. In particular, Carson said the sawn-cut look is a “unique, one-of-a-kind” visual, and the grouted look “plays off the wood plank craze that is going on.”
T&L carries eight 7 x 48 Loft planks and four tiles. “We have high expectations for the product,” Carson said. “Raskin is a very good, dependable vendor.”
Loft, which debuted at Surfaces 2014, follows Elevations in Raskin’s lineup. Whereas Elevations has found a home in commercial applications, Loft is seen as a residential product.
Michael Raskin, president of Raskin Industries, said the bold styling of Loft has won favor in the market, and the aggressive pricing has helped dealers make better margins. “The three main components of Elevations are still intact in Loft, enabling a proven loose lay installation: fiberglass sheet for additional stability, weight of the product to keep it down and the ability to easily lock in the product with our perimeter R-88 spray adhesive.”
Loft also features an advanced coating system that provides durability, easy maintenance and anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Raskin said dealers like the fact they can cover multiple subcategories in LVT with one product: a loose lay installation, traditional glue down and a grouted plank and tile option.
“One display enables the retailer to efficiently maximize their floor space while meeting the demands of the LVT market,” Raskin noted, adding that the company has included more grouted plank boards to the Loft display.
Raskin said the success of his porcelain ceramic planks created an opportunity to offer a better product with longer planks that can be grouted, along with all the benefits of grouted LVT, such as a warmer and softer feel underfoot and superior acoustics.
Marty Ackerman, retail manager at distributor Michael Halebian in Carlstadt, N.J., said Loft offers a number of helpful selling features, from style and design to an attractive price point. “We’ve had it for six months and the product is doing very well in the market.”
Raskin is looking to build on its success at Surfaces 2015. “We view Surfaces as the launch pad for new, innovative technology and trendsetting designs and colors,” Raskin said. “I am sure our competitors will be coming through to see the next great thing, but we will keep it under wraps a little longer as we get closer to show time.” He added the success of recent launches has prompted the company to expand its corporate space and add a new salesperson on the West Coast.