July 4/11, 2016; Volume 30, Number 27
By Reginald Tucker
Bamboo Hardwoods, formally one operating unit of the Aboeda family of five different companies, announced new ownership through a buyout from its existing management and manufacturing partner. The original grouping of principals and manufacturing partner have now become full-interest owners who will be solely focused on the Bamboo Hardwoods brand.
As a result of the changeover, David Keegan, president, increases his ownership stake and adds CEO to his title. Keegan, who brings more than 17 years of experience in the bamboo flooring category — mostly with Bamboo Hardwoods — has spearheaded the company over the past decade, raising its profile from a local retailer of bamboo products to a nationally recognized manufacturer of bamboo flooring sold through distributors and authorized retailers nationwide.
Hugh Gallagher, currently CFO, increases his ownership stake as well, expanding his role to include the title of COO. Gallagher has more than 10 years experience with Bamboo Hardwoods and was an integral member of the company’s manufacturing transition team. Additional ownership interest resides with Bamboo Hardwoods’ existing manufacturing partner group in China.
“Even though there is a change in ownership, very little will change from what our valued distributors and partners have come to expect from Bamboo Hardwoods,” Keegan explained. “The majority of changes will be on the back side of the business—mostly logistical and fulfillment aspects resulting in greater efficiencies, better terms and shorter lead times for our customers.”
What that means for Bamboo Hardwoods’ retailer and distributor partners is they will have greater access to inventories in the company’s Seattle and Atlanta warehousing operations. Likewise, with the increased focus on increasing capacity at the manufacturing plant, Bamboo Hardwoods’ distributors will also be able to build on their respective inventories. This, in turn, means faster shipments to the retailer and ultimately the consumer.
“Basically our partners throughout the chain will have a lot more confidence when they’re selling our products to the homeowner,” Keegan explained. “Previously, a lot of distributors were relying on our stock; now they are going to be able to tap into their own supply.” What is not expected to change, the company stresses, is Bamboo Hardwoods’ steadfast focus on quality, consistency and service. Renowned throughout the industry as a pioneer and well-respected innovator in bamboo flooring production since 1995, the company plans to build on that solid reputation moving forward.
“While this buyout is a significant milestone for us personally, our focus on providing a high-quality brand of bamboo flooring from a trusted manufacturer that proudly stands behind their products will remain unchanged,” Keegan said. “We’ll still make our floors at our state-of-the-art factory using all the best machines and best practices. Our focus will be stronger; we have a few more key new hires within management and operations and we have more inventory in stock than we’ve ever had.”
Medium- to long-range goals
Over the past few weeks and months Bamboo Hardwoods has been busy at work shoring up its distribution coverage around the country. Following on the heels of the recent signing of top 20 floor covering distributors NRF and All Tile (FCNews, June 6/13), the company announced plans to further support those new wholesale partners as well as others—including Medallion in California—with the primary goal of helping them build their inventories while increasing the number of displays out in the field.
“Right now we have roughly 1,000 displays standing at the retail level, but we plan to place 1,000 more by year’s end,” Keegan said. “We have a lot of room to grow and more areas to cover. Distributors are investing in displays at their level, and they are seeing an increased return on investment.”
Another key initiative revolves around driving brand awareness through marketing, education and, yes, good old fashioned face-to-face interaction with its retailer and distributor partners out in the field. “By focusing the main education points with our distributor partners, their salespeople and our salespeople and second with media ad campaigns to promote awareness as to what’s accurate (and not accurate) about bamboo flooring,” Gallagher explained. “We also want to start focusing on social media. We have some plans in place to develop a social media platform, which is going to make a big difference. We’re not only looking to start a conversation with people about bamboo but continue that conversation on an ongoing basis.”
Lastly, Bamboo Hardwoods plans to keep a finger on the pulse of the consumer market to ensure it continues to develop products and programs in line with consumer tastes. “It’s important we stay in sync with what the market is demanding,” Keegan said. “That’s something we want to continue relative to the marketing of the brand.”
Ultimately, according to Keegan, it’s about making it worthwhile for the dealer. “We’re seeing a renaissance with bamboo. To that end, we want to be an easy program that represents a profit for the retailer while driving efficiencies that will help our distribution partners service their customers.”