Champions Gate, Fla.—More than 200 attendees gathered for the Haines Loyalty Club (HLC) Summit, held June 25-26 at the Omni ChampionsGate resort here. The annual event serves HLC Southern dealers with product specials, and offers business and product knowledge training as well as peer benchmarking opportunities.
During the general session, Rosana Chaidez, senior vice president of CMH division sales at Haines, discussed the substantial growth of the HLC program since its inception. “In 2006, we started with no members. We are now approaching 120 members in Florida alone, and they are using many of the benefits the club offers.”
Bruce Zwicker, CEO, spent time reviewing market conditions in Florida and the U.S. as a whole. “The commercial sector is improving, especially office projects,” he said. “New residential will improve modestly this year and get stronger next year. The first-time buyer is coming into the market but higher interest rates will moderate that. The remodel sector remains at slow growth. Retailers are either winning or just holding their own; big boxes are benefiting the most from Lumber Liquidators’ problems.”
Zwicker pointed to statistics indicating that the flooring market in Florida is recovering at a faster pace than the rest of the country, but from a recession point that was lower than the other 49 states. “There was no artificial demand bubble yet in Florida and the number of dealers has declined here at the same rate as the rest of the U.S.,” he noted.
“In 2012 I forecasted three good years,” Zwicker continued. “Now, in 2015, I believe we will have at least two more good years of, at minimum, slow to modest growth. So, it’s time to focus on growth but not go crazy unless you have a big edge.”
Zwicker announced that Haines was doubling its warehouse space in Orlando by the end of the year along with a new Supplies Center that will be located in the facility, which is less than a mile from the current warehouse.
The highlight of the Summit was the product showcase, in which over 30 suppliers offered aggressive pricing on displays and products exclusive to the HLC members. Haines offered a section just for Supplies for the first time.
“The Haines Loyalty Club is a great program for the independent retailer,” said Don Herndon, owner of Herndon’s Classic Wood Flooring in Melbourne, Fla. “It helps us stay competitive with exclusive financing and rebates on many of our purchases. The annual Summit event is always a lot of fun.”
The Summit also served as the venue for the introduction of Mike Barrett, Haines’ new vice president of operations.