February 16/23, 2015; Volume 28/Number 17
By Ken Ryan
(Second of two parts)
Carpet manufacturers seemed upbeat at Surfaces, likely because they are anticipating a strong 2015. Those good vibrations were also illustrated with product introductions that exhibited extensive investments yielding bold new offerings.
Couristan highlighted two new broadloom products in its Purity collection. Sherman is hand-loomed in a cut loop construction that is 75% natural wool and 25% viscose, offered in five colorations. Acacia is also hand-loomed in a cut loop construction that is 50% natural wool and 50% viscose, offered in six shades.
In all, Couristan introduced 48 broadloom products. Of note was Axminster, an 80% wool/20% nylon program offered in seven designs in blues, grays and greens. Axminster works in both residential and commercial—specifically hospitality—segments.
Not long ago Godfrey Hirst produced only wool products. In a nod to changing market needs, today its mix is about 50% wool, 50% synthetics. “Today we can answer the needs of the consumer with wool or polyester,” said Laurie Bray, marketing manager. “We have a nice range of products.”
New to the fold are seven offerings featuring Stainmaster PetProtect—the first time Godfrey Hirst has marketed the brand. To drive that message home at retail, Godfrey Hirst introduced an interactive video book for RSAs. The handheld reference allows associates to “tell the story” of Godfrey Hirst to its customers in the showroom. Chapters include the new Godfrey Hirst PetProtect carpet styles, the PetProtect story and PetProtect videos.
Kane has transformed the way it operates and markets products, resulting in the best booth traffic the company has seen in recent years. “Everything is new; the whole company has been reinvented,” said Bruce Kurtz, vice president of sales and marketing.
Kurtz said that he, along with senior-level personnel Joseph, Dovi and Meyer Frank along with Zevi Kozohar have formed “a think tank.” Each member of the group has a different area of responsibility and they convene weekly to share ideas and strategize. The group holds town hall-style meetings with reps to keep current on market trends and customer needs.
Several retailers raved about the company’s bold new colors and patterns. Penny Carnino, director of operations at Grigsby’s Carpet, Tile & Rug in Tulsa, Okla., said she loved the “Moroccan looks and colorations.”
Wendy Fried, owner and president of G. Fried Carpet in Westbury, N.Y., added, “Kane deserves kudos for turning things around.”
Mark Compston, owner of Mark’s Floors in Minneola, Fla., was eager to take on Kane’s new offerings. “I’m going to try to do some business with them. I really like their vibrant colors.”
Many exhibitors said the first day at Surfaces was busier than they have seen in years. In the case of Kraus, that traffic translated into sales. “By 3 p.m. of the first day we had already eclipsed 2014 in terms of booked orders,” said Ty West, president. “We put a lot of effort into making sure to book appointments and talk up the show, and it showed.”
Kraus’ new carpet tile received considerable praise. The Perspective line boasts a designer look at an affordable price. The company also debuted a residential broadloom product, Harlow, featuring a soft nylon cut pile style.
Milliken reintroduced its Constantine Collection to the residential market with two new broadloom patterns: Hardanger and Crystal Stitch. Both are handcrafted to achieve rich textures.
“Our multiple yarn infusion technology creates luxurious floor covering constructions with depth and rich textural complexities,” said Scott Reams, director of Milliken’s residential initiatives.
According to the company, Hardanger plays off the Nordic form of embroidery. The collection includes seven large-scale broadloom patterns, offering soft colors designed to add excitement to familiar patterns.
Hardanger and Crystal Stitch are PVC-free and carbon neutral, featuring high twist durability, premium dyes, antimicrobial treatment and stain protection.
Gerard O’Keefe, Nourison’s vice president of national sales, said the company introduced more products at Surfaces than ever before; several included new proprietary yarn systems, constructions and color updates.
Chief among the introductions was Twilight Marquee—18 SKUs in three patterns across broadloom and rugs. “It has the look and feel of a Tibetan rug at a fraction of the cost,” O’Keefe said.
He added that Nourison’s goal at Surfaces was to capture the imagination and inspiration of its dealer base. “They look to us to be a style and color leader. We have had plenty of wool and silk looks, but this is the first time we’ve used our branded nylon.”
Prestige Mills has added 20 new products to its Mantra collection, now consisting of 95 SKUs. This is in addition to its core introductions of Weave Tiff.
Prestige highlighted unique woven wool and wool nylon combinations at the show. Standouts in the Missoni collection include Candito (plaid patterns) and the color-rich Dolci.
“I found the retailers upbeat,” said Peter Feldman, president. “They are in a buying frame of mind and not afraid to make the investment. We’re always open to new retailers who can relate to our mid- to high-end product range.”
A division of Cherokee Carpet Industries, Southwind Carpet provides a range of residential and light commercial products to an extensive national dealer network. Recent expansion has facilitated its growth into a full line manufacturer of polypropylene, solution-dyed nylon and solution-dyed polyester. At Surfaces, Southwind introduced 10 solution-dyed polyester products along with a new display rack to help dealers with sell-through.
Its signature addition is the Home Solutions Design Statement, which combines solid solution-dyed and space-dyed polyester, delivering what the company called “a dramatic style.”
White Oak Carpet Mills
White Oak Carpet Mills’ new mascot is a toy sheep named Scooter who wears red sneakers; he is said to be representative of the company itself. “He is a sheep that doesn’t follow the herd,” said Aaron Pirner, CEO. “And he is very fast. We’re known for being like Scooter.”
White Oak, a 4-year-old company owned by CAP Carpet, is known for its precision-tufted, hand-finished carpet, including products like the Diamond Lattice collection. The company uses New Zealand wool.
White Oak introduced 30 designs at Surfaces with fresh colors, an enhanced label, simplified pricing for rugs and a new quick-ship program.
“We’re being discovered,” Pirner said. “The first year we had a small booth at Surfaces and a few people were inquisitive. It has snowballed. We are working with the best of the best in the industry right now.”