By Nadia Ramlakhan
Known for going above and beyond for its customers, FloorFolio Industries will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year as a favorite among its distributors and contractors. With the opening of its first U.S. LVT factory, two patents for its EnviroQuiet product and the recent launch of its new website in the rear view mirror, president and CEO Michael Freedman said his biggest fear is being a “traditional” company. “We do everything for the customer. We don’t sell what we want to sell or what we think will sell; we give them what they want. We’re very customer focused and customer oriented.”
As such, FloorFolio recently invited 90 of its top customers and their spouses to the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea for its weeklong 2015 Customer Appreciation Getaway in Maui, Hawaii, with plans to host the 2016 trip in Bora Bora. According to its customers, these trips are just one indication that FloorFolio is anything but traditional.
“I like them because they are so versatile and it’s very simple to know all the products,” said Martin Murphy, co-owner, J. Wright & Associates, Dallas, who has been doing business with FloorFolio for about four years. With the company’s customization options, Murphy said he is able to offer any product in any style, size or finish, which helps him close sales. “All the colors have sizes options and come in any finish. Many other companies have this collection and that collection with limitations on size.”
As a dealer, Murphy explained how many different types of product he is bombarded with each day between marketing and advertising. He said FloorFolio makes it easy not only for him, but his customers as well. “It’s my go-to. I’ll sit with the designer and I’ll say, ‘You can do whatever you want—4-inch, 6-inch, 36-inch—whatever you want and we can dial it up or down from there. If you don’t like polyurethane, for another nickel we can get you aluminum. We can change the finish, you can have handscrape, etc.’”
Murphy is currently working on a project in which the client could not afford a 22 mil and said FloorFolio eagerly took the opportunity to customize such a product. “I didn’t think to ask, but we’ve done so much in the last year together that I just said, ‘Hey, have you ever done 12 mil?’ And they said, ‘Sure Martin. We can do that.’”
For Kent Pratt, owner and CEO of Texas Southwest Floors with two locations in Dallas and Houston, a combination of high quality products and strong relationships is what makes FloorFolio stand out amongst the crowd. After doing business with the company for about four years, Pratt said his customers love the product visuals. “They are exceptional compared to what we compete with. We install a lot of LVT because it’s so popular right now and FloorFolio makes a very high quality product, which is what is most important to us. It’s also been a really great partnership. So it’s quality product and quality friendships.”
Pete Larmore, CEO, Bonitz Flooring Group, has been working with FloorFolio since its inception—for about nine years. He explained the first couple of years were rough when the company first got started, but Bonitz stuck with it. Each year after that has “just gotten better ever since.”
Larmore believes FloorFolio’s team is what makes all the difference. “I really think it’s the people. I think that Michael is a one-of-a-kind guy and everybody he has surrounded himself with is incredible from what we’ve seen. We’ve been in several situations in which we’ve had time crunches and we’ve needed product and they’ve turned the world upside down to be able to get that to happen for us. The Regal cinema in Knoxville wanted to kick off a new program and we weren’t sure we were going to be able to get product in time. FloorFolio ramped up and ran a program for us that allowed us to take care of that customer who was wowed because we ended up being early.”
Freedman said a lot goes into keeping his customers happy and part of FloorFolio’s success can be attributed to the fact that it “never says no,” whether a customer wants 4-inch vs. 6-inch or one texture vs. another. He has also always viewed the company’s products as quality-driven rather than a commodity, which has helped in the creation of unique styles, designs and innovations.
“We’ve always chosen to take the products to the better level vs. the cheaper level,” he said. “And then we’ve chosen to create design and value together, so we offer customers choices without sacrificing anything. We have products that range from commodity to premium, but we give architects and designers options all at the same price. Where a traditional manufacturer might offer six or seven choices of LVT in the multi-family segment, we offer everything we have. If a customer really likes our commercial product and asks to use it in multi-family we of course offer that option.’’
FloorFolio takes pride in giving the end user what she wants as opposed to what it thinks she wants. “FloorFolio has no desire to be an Armstrong, Mannington or Tarkett; we’re perfectly happy where we are and we want to be able to service and provide for our customers on a timely basis with whatever they need. And because of that we’re able to give the flexibility that no else can.”
Looking ahead, FloorFolio plans to officially launch Lake House and Cabin before the end of this year. Cabin is a true rustic visual offered in 7.25 x 48 planks, the newest size offered by FloorFolio, while Lake House was designed to break the mold from traditional luxury vinyl tile. Offered in nine colors, the tile features individual planks within one square.
“From the way Lake House is made to how it was designed—it’s all very specialized,” Freedman explained. “And if you’re a company that does a billion dollars worth of business you can’t do that. It’s too much money to invest for a smaller return but we’re not worried about that. We want to make sure we have niche products that can fit into niche markets. It’s all about giving our customers choices.”
Over the next six months FloorFolio will roll out over 100 SKUs to be showcased at The International Surface Event in Las Vegas and officially launched at NeoCon in Chicago. Additional initiatives for 2016 include an entree in accessory and complementary products.
“I think an important point is this is our business,” Freedman continued. “We’re a luxury vinyl tile manufacturer not a carpet manufacturer that got into LVT. We’ve been in it for a long time and we understand the business.”