By Reginald Tucker
Boden Flooring—already a household name in Germany, China, Austria and Qatar—is looking to establish a footprint in the U.S. market. The game plan, according to the company, is to offer floor covering distributors a full complement of trendy hardwood flooring products, merchandising support and marketing tools they can’t refuse.
For Boden Flooring, it all begins with a focus on high-quality wood flooring production out of its manufacturing facilities in Europe. The company sources its logs from regulated forests in Austria, ensuring compliance with sustainability standards set by the Austrian Forest Act. “Our product is made entirely in Austria with better quality lumber compared to other sources,” said Tony Markarian, sales director, Boden Flooring North America. “There are also health-related advantages of our product, as European manufacturers generally have much more stringent requirements regarding formaldehyde usage and VOC content, especially in the finish of the product.”
The platform behind the Boden Flooring line is the popular 7 1⁄4-inch-wide x 86 1⁄2-inch-long board. Featuring engineered construction, the line boasts a 3mm European oak face atop a eucalyptus core and backing. The finish comprises five layers of polyurethane with two additional layers of aluminum oxide for durability.
“We don’t have short pieces or random lengths,” Markarian explained. “Wide-plank flooring is only beautiful when it’s on a long board. It’s just the preferred look today due to its appearance and, of course, the stability of it. Also, it has a minimalistic appearance—meaning the knots and graining are not too busy.”
Markarian also pointed to other desirable features of the Boden Flooring line—particularly how it goes down. “The second-most important advantage is our product can be installed without the use of any kind of adhesive; it’s a click product that can be floated and installed using an underlayment,” he explained. “Plus, not using the adhesive is also going to bring down the installation cost. It’s a healthy option for homeowners who might have an allergy toward the smell or adhesive.”
While Boden Flooring is designed to compete against hardwood products coming out of Asia, it does so without focusing solely on price, according to Markarian. “All of the product lines in the Boden Flooring offering are priced in the same range—$5-$6 retail. That’s a step above entry level.”
Markarian cited yet another plus inherent in the Boden Flooring line. “As our product is made entirely in Austria, there are no antidumping/countervailing issues,” he stated. “We are exempt from them.”
Paths to market
While the main objective is to secure distribution of the Boden Flooring-branded line, the company is leaving other options open—namely private-label programs. “That’s something that we might look into,” Markarian said. “Part of the selling point of Boden Flooring is the power of the marketing as far as the brand. For example, we see more and more international architects and designers who have multiple offices all over the world being exposed to the Boden brand name. So, in that respect, it would benefit the distributor to go with the Boden brand. But, if push comes to shove, we would not have an issue with doing a private label.”
Either way, Boden Flooring will provide its distributor partners with all the tools necessary to promote the line in the market. “In terms of support, we are ready to provide POP materials and catalogues, and we can drive customers to the distributors by listing them on our website. We also have sales reps we can send to the distributors to work to train their staff and get the line up and going.”
One such distributor is Europa Flooring Distribution, based in Van Nuys, Calif. The wholesaler, which stocks a full line of hard surface flooring materials, sundries and tools, took on the Boden Flooring line earlier this year. “Boden Flooring has been a successful line for us for a few reasons—it has a much higher quality than many products available on the market and it has the trust factor with our customers,” said Morris Matloubian, who heads Europa Flooring. “Plus, the fact that the product can be installed without using any adhesives has created opportunities for us to approach the builder sector, which is looking for natural alternatives to rigid core flooring.”