April 27/May 4, 2015; Volume 29/Number 2
By Jenna Lippin
Raskin Industries has been known as a design leader in the world of LVT with fashion-forward products uniquely designed by president and CEO Michael Raskin in Brooklyn, N.Y. While Raskin floors may bring some trendy appeal back to flooring, the benefits of the company’s top-selling products go beyond their enhanced visuals.
Ease of installation is one characteristic several dealers cited when asked about the features that make Raskin products best sellers in the marketplace. Cary Loffredo, who is a member of the family that owns Riverside Flooring in Riverside, Conn., said Raskin’s Gravity Grip backing—found on both Interwoven and Elevations products—is what differentiates its offerings from others in the flooded LVT market. “You don’t need adhesives. It’s easy to install and easy to replace. My guys love installing it because the process is simple and fast.”
Jaclyn Davis, head of project management at Flooring Systems in St. Louis, also said Gravity Grip sets Raskin apart from the rest of the pack. “A lot of LVT suppliers have floating floors but the Gravity Grip backing on Elevations makes it a free floating floor. It is an outstanding selling point.”
Marti Cantu with Superior Floors in Coppell, Texas, said her favorite Raskin product is the Big Sky collection from the Formations luxury resilient plank line. Her preference comes partially from the products’ installation potential. “I presented the planks installed at a 45-degree angle to an apartment complex and they loved it. They saw it from that angle and it didn’t feel like an apartment. The visual is stunning.”
According to Cantu, Big Sky is one collection that exemplifies Raskin’s design prowess. With realistic wood visuals and trending gray and brown tones, Big Sky has mass appeal. “I always look for good selling points in product,” she said. “When Big Sky was presented to me, different colors and durability stood out, but it was actually the realistic look of the plank itself. I do like to lead with the colors. It has everything from neutral browns to new, trendy grays; there is something for every property, those that are traditional and those that want a more contemporary, modern look. Big Sky is my go-to.”
Loffredo also emphasizes color, particularly in Elevations’ wood visuals, as a Raskin selling point. “All the wood grains are the top sellers,” she said. “Nowadays everyone wants the natural wood look. This is just an easier product than real wood [because of installation]. It looks like wood and feels like wood thanks to the graining. People love the grays but tend to go back to the rustic browns and into the darker tones.”
For John Cooper, owner of Hoppy Interiors in Sullivan, Mo., the Prima collection in the Elevations line is No. 1, particularly because of its versatility. “If you’re in a situation where you have to glue it down—no problem. Loose lay—no problem. Loose lay makes sense. In the short term it’s easy to [remove], and in the long term its more ecologically sound; you can take the stuff straight to recycling.”
In terms of design possibilities, Cooper said he has mixed both wood and stone visuals from Elevations. “It can all be one level floor while mixing the looks. Its customizable for the end user.”
Along with design and installation, the opportunities with various applications also make Raskin products best sellers. Davis said Flooring Systems has had Raskin products installed “anywhere from retail to hospitality and corporate. We’ve been all over the place with it. We’ve had [good experiences] with lead times; other specialty looks can get into long lead times. Raskin has been able to fit the schedule of the job every time we’ve used the company’s products. That’s definitely a benefit.”
Cooper said he has had Raskin products installed “everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to people’s whole houses.” Loffredo, who has Elevations installed in two rooms in her home, said while Raskin products are commercially rated, installations by Riverside Flooring are about 90% residential; Raskin floors were included in the store’s very first commercial job.
And the price is right with Raskin, too. Cantu noted that Big Sky is at “a good price point” for when she starts her sales process. “When I was upgrading some properties from sheet vinyl this wasn’t a big sticker shock. It’s an upgrade, so it is an investment. But particularly in multi-family with multiple people in one unit within a five-year timespan, you need something that will last. Even with the additional cost, it’s definitely worth the money.”