By Ken Ryan
Republic Flooring may have just arrived on the SPC/rigid core scene, but its presence is already being felt across the flooring landscape—notably partnerships with the National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) and CCA Global.
What makes this five-year-old company’s early success impressive is that its company founder and CEO, Rotem Eylor, does not have a flooring background. Neither does most of his small staff. His background is logistics; his mission is to create the most expertly crafted products.
“We’re not looking to become the second Shaw or the second Mohawk, we want to be the best Republic, and we want to do things in a new way; we’re forward thinkers,” Eylor told FCNews in Phoenix, where he had a booth at Flooring America’s winter convention.
Republic has been a member of the CCA Global co-op for three years. He credits retail members with persuading management to add the company as a vendor, even though its specialty (SPC flooring) is well represented. However, Republic’s logistics model, which guarantees next-day delivery, is a difference maker. “At the end of the day, the members made it happen,” he said of joining CCA. “Pressure comes from the bottom, not the top.”
Eylor said until now, end users had the choice of spending more on products from big manufacturers or from importers that may have offered product at a low cost, but with the risk of quality and reliability issues.
Republic was created to offer the best of both worlds—great quality offered in a range of styles at lower prices. “We can do all that because we don’t import our products from unknown makers in the east, we manufacture it in the east ourselves or else we import it from the finest floor makers in Europe.”
Republic does most of its business on the West Coast but aspires to be national in reach. Its distributors include Hughes Western and Stevens Omni. In addition, Republic has distribution centers in Houston and Los Angeles, and is opening facilities in Dallas and Phoenix in 2020. It also boasts eight warehouses, a design studio and 30 tractor-trailers to deliver products in its Western markets.
“Because of our patented core, we buy our own raw materials and give it to the factory,” Eylor said. “When you are just an importer, they put whatever they want in the product. We started with controlling the quality.”
Republic is bringing to market SPC tiles in some unique sizes—including 24 x 48 inches—under the Pure SPC Max brand. Eylor is not shy about calling his SPC line the best in the industry in terms of quality and construction. “There are literally thousands of formulas to make SPC, and every company does it differently,” he said. “Most companies in China are in a race to the bottom and reduce costs. The result is a lot of claims. We don’t have claims. It took us a long time to get to the right core. Most companies are doing cheap plastic replacement and a few percent are doing limestone powder and a few percent are doing polymers to bond together. We use 80% in four different stone polymers, 8% plastic mix and 12% polymers. Durability, above everything else in the market, is what we stand for.”
SPC represents about 65% of Republic’s business, followed by laminate at 35%. The company has announced its entry into the hardwood segment—through a collaboration with Kronotex. At Surfaces, Republic will launch an engineered wood line—all white oak—featuring 14 colors from its manufacturing facility in Cambodia and another 16 from Germany. All the wood from Europe comes with Valinge’s 5G locking system. Among the benefits of the wood line, he said, will be ease and speed of installation. “It will be easy to replace compared to glue and nail down.”