Newly revamped showroom and warehouse facility support customer, end-user needs.
October10/17, 2016: Volume 31, Number 9
By Lindsay Baillie
Export, Pa.—Karndean Designflooring recently invited scores of its retailer, distributor and A&D customers to celebrate the official grand opening of its expanded headquarters and warehouse space here. The special event entailed a tour of the facilities along with installation demonstrations and new product previews.
According to Larry Browder, CEO, the new showroom and expanded warehouse facilities are central to Karndean’s strategy to support the needs of its growing U.S. customer base. “It’s allowing us to really solidify our commitment to the U.S. market, to carrying the type of inventory that we do and be able to service the market within [24 to 48 hours.] It solidifies even further our commitment to our employees here in the Pennsylvania area and as a key partner within the community.”
One of the most dramatic improvements is the increase in storage space. With the renovation, Karndean has tripled its warehouse space to 60,000 square feet. While the company has traditionally inventoried sufficient quantities of product, the additional space allows the company to stock even more volume. “We are absolutely adamant about putting stock on the shelves to make sure our customers never have to worry about getting product,” said Emil Mellow, vice president of marketing.
The benefits of the improvements don’t end there. The expansion has created new job opportunities within the company. Nearly 90 people now work at the Export, Pa., office, while Karndean employs nearly 200 workers nationwide. “We have more than doubled the size of our sales team in the past five years,” Browder said. In addition, the expansion and subsequent investment has given Karndean the capability to move production of sample boards and custom cutting from the U.K. to its U.S. headquarters. More importantly, the change brings everyone under one roof, which Browder said has been great for morale.
Karndean’s customers appreciate the company’s efforts. Bill Greene, owner of Affordable Interiors in Indiana, Pa., already features Karndean’s full display system in his store. But he also utilizes Karndean’s showroom when necessary. “We’re within an hour of the showroom and it allows our designers to come in and actually bring clients down here,” he explained.
Beyond the obvious aesthetic and functional improvements to the new showroom and warehouse space, Greene applauds Karndean’s new custom design platform: Kaleidoscope. The program includes six different modular shapes—apex, cubix, hexa, pennon, pyramid and tripoint—that allow customers to create custom chevron designs that are engineered to work together. “I’m really excited about Kaleidoscope because it’s something we can use to create different looks for our clients in commercial and residential.”
The newly expanded showroom—which features a sample wall, design reference books and tables—gives consumers, retailers, architects and designers the tools and the space to help them bring their concepts to life. Here, customers can look up different designs and patterns and pair them with the many samples provided.
The showroom also features an area that displays the different ways the full array of Karndean products can be displayed within a retail environment. This section also highlights what Karndean calls a ‘Gold dealer’ or ‘Gold package,’ which includes three displays of products from the company’s entry-level 12 mil products all the way up to its 30 mil offerings. It also includes merchandisers that contain the company’s new LooseLay Longboard, which comes in 12 new designs measuring 59 inches long.
The displays include visuals ranging from basic to more advanced designs. Depending on what the customer wants, she can choose a basic straight lay, a diagonal lay or a combination of straight or diagonal with design strips and/or a decorative border. According to Karndean, the displays serve as a silent salesperson of sorts when the customer is browsing.
Positioned across from the Gold package offerings is Karndean’s Platinum dealer display, a traditional wing format that aims to create a destination, “a kind of a showroom within a showroom,” according to Browder. The main feature of this display is the design table, which includes every single SKU Karndean carries. The idea, Browder notes, is to direct the consumer or designer over to the table and start pulling out product and laying it out. Once the customer gets involved in creating her own floor, the sales representative is on her way to sealing the deal.
“This is what [the retailer] would have in her store; it’s a lot of real estate, but when you have a product that’s unique, that can add that type of value and profit proposition, this is what it takes,” Browder explained. “What we try to do here is show this in a way that speaks to Mrs. Jones. The whole idea is this ‘Simply beautiful floors for when life happens,’ which speaks directly to her, to what’s going on in her life every single day. Within that you see the waterproof, kid-friendly, pet-friendly, lifetime warranty and then [the words] ‘since 1973.’ That reinforces to her, even if it’s subliminally, this is a company that has been around for a while.”
The new expansion also includes a new customer service area manned by more than 10 representatives. This visible presence is in line with Karndean’s overall objective to fortify its customer service capabilities. As Mellow explained: “Five years ago, we started 8 a.m. to 8.p.m., in which we put customer service people out in Dallas and in Vegas. We have a rolling 8-to-8 schedule. Here in [Pittsburgh] it’s until 5 p.m., in [Dallas] until 6 p.m. and up to 8 p.m., in Vegas. When they process their orders they pick and pack, and out they go.”
The new showroom and expanded warehousing facilities are not just window dressing. Rather, Browder states, it’s about putting the focus on premium design, quality, service and availability. “Ultimately, its about being partners with our customers.”