Name that store: Dealers discuss importance of business names, challenges of rebranding

Home Inside FCNews Name that store: Dealers discuss importance of business names, challenges of rebranding

Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15

By Nadia Ramlakhan

With thousands of floor covering retailers throughout the U.S., store names play a major role when it comes to earning a consumer’s business. A store’s name can help differentiate it from others in the local marketplace, build a brand, generate leads online, display its affiliation with buying groups, connect to consumers on a personal level and so much more.

Many retailers today still have “carpet” in their names while others have added terms like “tile,” “flooring” or “and more” to let consumers know they carry additional product options. Some have undergone complete makeovers and others have even incorporated segments outside of flooring into their names such as lighting, window coverings and countertops.

So what’s in a name? The following retailers discussed the benefits and challenges associated with their store names.

Lonnie Presson

Lonnie’s Carpet Max

Rockford, Ill.

Reminiscent of its beginning when all the store sold was carpet, Lonnie’s Carpet Max in Rockford, Ill., continues to give prominence to the category in its name although it has branched out into ceramic, vinyl, laminate and hardwood over the years. Previously known as Lonnie’s Carpet Connection, Lonnie Presson, owner, made the adjustment after joining the Carpet Max franchise, making sure the focal point remained the same. “Everybody knows Lonnie,” he said. “That’s the key for me.”

Although the establishment has certainly made a name for itself, Presson has given some thought to another name change in light of its 30th anniversary approaching this June. “We’ve been discussing changing our name to Lonnie’s Flooring Center,” he said. “They know it’s me but we need to put ‘flooring’ in it.” According to Presson, there are still a handful of people who are not aware the store offers more than carpet despite its success and popularity, which can prove to be disadvantageous at times. “I’ve been in the business for a long time—on TV, on the radio nonstop—after 30 years you would think people know I sell wood, tile, etc. But every once in a while, someone comes in and says ‘Oh I didn’t know you sell that.’”

But changing a 30-year-old business’ name isn’t so easy. In fact, there are certain costs that may be off-putting to most retailers. “It’s difficult to change your name,” Presson explained. “I see banks that do it all the time but for us it’s a bigger deal. With all the marketing it will cost a couple hundred thousand. Every piece of paper in this place, every TV commercial, the signage, the storefront—you have to redo it all. You have to create a campaign and you have to beef it up.”

Peter Escobar

Colonial Flooring America

Wallingford, Conn.

The store’s most recent name change was due to its new membership status with Flooring America, but Colonial Flooring America in Wallingford, Conn., has been updating its name for years to evolve in a continually changing marketplace. “Progression of business dictates from time to time you have to make certain changes,” said Peter Escobar, president, Colonial Flooring America.

The 43-year-old company started as The Colonial Carpet Shop in 1973, changed to Colonial Carpet Plus in 2002 and became Colonial Flooring Plus in 2003, one year after Escobar took over the business. With a background in marketing, Escobar knows the right name is an essential component of growth.

“’Colonial’ itself has gained a great reputation and is very well known in this area,” Escobar said. “We wanted to keep that intact. When I bought the business in 2002 I knew it was more than carpet so I changed it to ‘flooring;’ I took it upon myself to change with the times.” Escobar said the name change was a “great move” that helped set his store apart from competitors. “Lots of stores were still working in the dark ages. You have a little bit of an upper hand; consumers and business people realize when you make changes that your company is doing something different as opposed to someone who is always operating the old fashion way.”

The store officially acknowledged its affiliation with Flooring America by adding it to its name in June, which was promoted heavily through local newspapers, especially during the first month. In addition to revamping the showroom to highlight the Flooring America image with new displays and product lines, Escobar also held an in-store event to educate consumers on the buying group and its benefits. “Flooring America is well respected in the industry,” he said. “We wanted people to become familiar with it and our new image.”

David Britt

CW Floors & Lighting

San Antonio

With six locations and five different names, David Britt, owner and president of CW Floors & Lighting, with multiple locations in Texas and Louisiana, recently decided it was time to consolidate his stores into one brand. “We purchased every store with the exception of one and kept their names,” Britt said. “I realized as we were growing we needed to be under one brand. The biggest reason is that it is going to be better in the long run; managing one website and when it comes to advertising new products, costs and branding, it just made sense. We’ve been in business for a long time and as we grow the stores, if we put it all under one brand they will add value to each other.”

Britt said each of the six locations has made adjustments; the two that were previously CW Floors added “lighting” to their names because it is important to let customers know what is offered. Once inside, customers can browse both lighting and floors simultaneously due to the showroom set up. Lights are displayed from the ceiling down and floors from the floor up, so rather than having two separate showrooms, customers walk through both at the same time.

“Lighting and flooring is a really good combo for us,” Britt said. “You want to let your customers know you’re a lighting store, too. This makes it easier for builders and designers who can buy multiple products from one location. And when flooring customers come in we force them to walk through our lighting showroom and vice versa.”

To promote the updated brand, Britt advertised sales heavily with the new name and drove as much traffic as possible to the business’ website.

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