Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15
By Ken Ryan
Michael Raskin, president and CEO of Raskin Industries, said he always dreamed about making luxury vinyl tile in the U.S. That dream will soon become reality as Raskin Gorilla Floors introduces its first domestically made LVT brand—FloorNation—at Surfaces.
Nox U.S., a South Korean OEM manufacturer and one of the largest and most experienced LVT suppliers in the world, will produce FloorNation at its new Fostoria, Ohio, facility.
Raskin said the company invested in the cylinders used for the FloorNation line. “They are my patterns and I work exclusively with our own colorist who has done colors for Martha Stewart as an independent. We’re using their equipment to make product to our specifications. I have been doing that my whole career overseas.”
Raskin’s distributors have not seen FloorNation yet, and that is by design. He wants to surprise them at Surfaces. In a letter to his distribution customers, Raskin wrote, “Having product made in the USA offers some significant selling points … we will now have the ability to deliver hundreds of thousands of square feet in less than three weeks without the need to stock in a distributor’s warehouse. While others are building factories and attempting to manufacture product stateside, the fact is they are new to LVT production and are bound to experience some hiccups.”
The move to domestic production has multiple benefits. It will improve production and delivery timing as well as service for North American customers. “Ours will be one of the first LVT brands that is 100% made in the U.S.,” Raskin said.
FloorNation will be offered in three lines, all bearing patriotic themes.
Freedom (five SKUs) products are 2mm thick with a 12 mil wear layer in a 7 x 48 format. “Freedom will feature unique embossing not normally seen in a standard 2mm look,” Raskin said.
Pride (eight SKUs) includes two collections that feature 3mm, 20 mil wear layer constructions in a 7 x 48 format, distinguished by varying textures.
Glory (five SKUs) is also a 3mm, 20 mil wear layer product, but in 9 x 60 planks.
Raskin said FloorNation provides traditional looks that are reliable sellers and follow the latest color trends with variations of grays and multicolors with gray mixed tones. “It is about having product that works with the interior finishes so that the designer can pick up the color of the floor to work with the room.”
The 18 SKUs will have only wood designs. Phase two of the program will include stone visuals. Official production of FloorNation will begin after Surfaces; Raskin is hopeful for an official launch in the spring. “We want this product to be dead on but not a me-too product. My goal was to come out with the least amount of SKUs and the most variation as far as style, design and colors.”
FloorNation will be sold to both residential and commercial customers. Raskin said he is looking forward to delivering to large commercial customers in two to three weeks as opposed to a few months. “We will be cutting down lead time by two-thirds in most cases. The other advantage for distributors is about turns.”
Raskin said with a domestically-made product, his customers will have faster turns and thus won’t have to keep as much inventory. “We do a good job with our imported lines but no one can say they are 100% certain [it will arrive in time], so this increases the chances of getting more commercial jobs.”
As an importer, Raskin Gorilla Floors viewed itself as an innovative, agile, boutique manufacturer. Now it has the added advantage of being domestic. “We give our customers the ability to offer their customers a more attractive price point because we don’t have that overhead,” Raskin said. “Our customer gets the best of both worlds. The only thing we don’t have are the salespeople on the street that the bigs do, but then again LVT is no longer a niche market.”
Raskin said as he readies the debut of his domestic production line, he thinks back to his late father who was one of the first executives to bring LVT to the market. “I wish he had the opportunity to be involved in this market the way it is today—he would be blown away.”