By Ken Ryan
The LVT category is populated with manufacturers trying to carve out a niche in the multi-billion-dollar business. That means suppliers looking to claim their piece of the pie in today’s market require expert execution and a range of skills—from product quality to outstanding service.
Not all companies can meet that requirement, but SAR Floors is delivering high-performance flooring to a broad customer base—from small brokers to mega-million-dollar retailers.
A case in point is Columbus, Ohio-based America’s Floor Source, a $100 million flooring retailer aligned with the industry’s largest players like Shaw and Mohawk, as well as nimble players like SAR Floors. “SAR Floors focuses on a small number of products that fit our needs,” said Todd Sandberg, president of AFS. “Most companies walk in with a bunch of product lines they sup- port and none of them get any real attention. Bob [Stein, strategic accounts manager for SAR,] comes in and we discuss a handful of products. It really lets us focus on what we need and how we can turn volume.”
Likeability meets flexibility
It’s an age-old axiom that people do business with people they like. According to key customers who spoke with FCNews, SAR Floors fits that bill. “Like most relationships, it starts with people,” said Jim Tasillo, executive vice president of Fierst Distributing, Pittsburgh. “We know Bob Stein and when presented with the line, we knew we could rely on him. Then, we got to know Skip Mason, [director of national sales,] and found him to be knowledgeable and easy to work with.”
An important factor for Fierst Distributing, Tasillo said, is the availability of product and the flexibility to purchase containers when warranted or that can be purchased from SAR Floors’ inventory in central Pennsylvania.
SAR Floors’ mission is to deliver high-performance flooring offered in a wide variety of contemporary, stylistic designs; its unique manufacturing processes allow it to deliver an array of flooring types while maintaining cost efficiencies and without limiting the design options of its customers.
That design flexibility appealed to Radio Distributing Co., which forged a relationship with SAR Floors at Surfaces. “Once we saw their dedication to growing through distribution and the specialty retail storefronts, we knew this was a company we wanted to partner with,” said AnneMarie Ampezzan, marketing manager. “They support their product lines with extensive stateside stock, participate in promoting their brand and reject the all-or-nothing mentality of their competitors by allowing us to tailor a program that fits our market demand.”
Radio Distributing has enjoyed early success with SAR Floors’ SPC lines Versailles and Titan, with great response from RDC’s retail partners. “We filled truckloads during our pre-launch blitz,” Ampezzan said. “This was just when COVID-19 forced retail closures in our market. What was most impressive was as stores opened back up, we had very little change to the orders that had been placed months prior. Our retailers are savvy; they recognized the quality and value in stocking SAR products and reorders have been quick to follow.”
Likewise, Fierst Distributing has also fared very well with the Versailles and Titan product lines, which features the company’s TriCore construction. “Fierst Distributing built our reputation on only offering high-quality products and SAR fits perfectly,” Tasillo said. “The TriCore construction sets their product apart.”
SAR Floors’ ability to stock large amounts of material enables customers like Capital Flooring, a Monroe, Conn., broker, to service customers on time, whether they are starting a project in one month or three months. “They have excellent stocking material, and we know we are getting a good quality product,” said Bob Cutler, co-owner. “We do a lot with their vinyl plank as well as a multitude of click products and rigid core.”
Beyond good products, Cutler said SAR Floors is adept at problem solving. “They are very responsive, and their customer service is very reliable. I’ll be honest with you; we have become a bigger fish in the pond with them as opposed to being one of many fish with the big boys. They have become a true business partner of ours.”