Haines welcomes record attendance at 2016 Summit

Home Inside FCNews Haines welcomes record attendance at 2016 Summit

April 25/May 2, 2016; Volume 30, Number 22

By Ken Ryan

For the second year in a row the Haines Loyalty Club Summit, held in National Harbor, Md., had a “newness” to the event.

A year ago marked the first meeting following the integration of CMH Space, a $200 million distributor, into the Haines fold. This year followed the departure of long-time, high-level executives Scott Roy and Rosana Chaidez, and the elevations of 16 individuals under a new management structure that was announced in April.

“It definitely had a different feel to it,” Bruce Zwicker, president and CEO of Haines, told FCNews.

He explained the new leaders, including Hoy Lanning, former CMH CEO and now executive vice president, CMH Division, have taken on meaningful roles. Some initial responsibilities within the next structure included running the summit as well as the distributor’s recent customer appreciation river cruise. “It takes a lot of people to pull this off,” Zwicker said. “I thought this summit was the best ever. Not only was it successful, [the new leaders] made it better.”

This year’s summit featured a record attendance (final numbers were not available at press time) and the largest product showcase ever. “We had more products, suppliers, more space allotted—it was expanded and improved,” Zwicker said. “Suppliers reported excellent traffic.”


Fresh programs, initiatives

Haines Loyalty Club dealers are independent retailers who are not affiliated with any buying group, although some may be a Mohawk or Shaw aligned dealer. These specialty dealers get access to a slew of marketing, merchandising, online and financial tools as well as discounts. New this year is a partnership program with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) that enables Loyalty Club members to receive discounted pricing on certain hardwood flooring products. “The NWFA is really going to help our dealers in the wood category,” Zwicker noted.

Each year, Haines offers its customers several hundreds of dollars in merchandising funds to spend as they wish on business related items. However, too many members leave money on the table at the end of the year, group leadership explained. Lanning said Haines added more incentives this year to encourage the dealers to use what is essentially “free” money.

Also new for 2016 is Haines’ Voice of the Consumer, a digital initiative that allows for both “qualitative and quantitative” feedback between its customers and Haines personnel. “We can provide 24-hour response on any issue,” Zwicker said. The program is modeled after similar systems offered by Nordstrom and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He said the objective is to create a stronger customer-focused culture.

2016 outlook

Every year Zwicker uses the spring meeting (the summer summit is held in late June in Orlando) to give his perspective on the state of the flooring industry. He said in 2015 floor covering demand in the U.S. grew about 3% to 4%. He deemed it a “disappointing but OK” year overall.

As for 2016, “It’s Groundhog Day all over again,” he said. “We predict ’16 will show about the same overall growth. Within that, new residential is the strongest segment. Remodeling is showing slow growth and commercial is sluggish depending on the sector you are in.”


Distributor award

During the event, Haines was honored with Armstrong Flooring’s top distributor award for 2015. Zwicker said the honor is a sign that Haines’ dedication to Armstrong Flooring products is paying off. “At the end of 2014 we created a division exclusively for Armstrong and we demonstrated the effect of that dedication [with the award]. Armstrong has been trying to improve its relationship with distributors—they have been very public about that. So this is a sign that they are trying to recognize the value of distribution and want to acknowledge that.”

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