An FCNews exclusive
By Reginald Tucker
If the prospect of a traveling road show wasn’t enough to get Mohawk’s retail partners excited about a series of in-person events set to kick off the 2021 selling season, the company is looking to sweeten the pot even further with several highly anticipated hard surface rollouts slated to make their debuts early next year.
That’s according to Seth Arnold, vice president of residential marketing, wood and laminate, who provided FCNews with an exclusive sneak peek of some of the exciting new products in store for Mohawk dealers when the 2021 Momentum Roadshow gets rolling in January.
First on the list is a new line called UltraWood, a collection that combines ultimate performance hardwood flooring with the product’s natural beauty. Designed for active households, UltraWood boasts Mohawk’s new waterproof technology, which marries water-tight joints with its advanced waterproof finish. In addition, the new line features improved scratch, wear and dent resistance as well as Mohawk’s EasyClean technology for easier maintenance and upkeep over the life of the product.
Add all these features together, offer them to the consumer at an accessible price point and you have a winning product offering. “UltraWood is positioned as a high-performance hardwood floor at a middle-of-the-market price point that addresses the consumer who’s really looking for a long-lasting, durable, waterproof floor that’s also easy to clean,” Arnold explained. “Today’s consumer is confused by all the waterproof claims out there, and what she really wants is the ‘right kind’ of waterproof. And so what we’re going to be focusing on is delivering not just a claim of waterproof, but also the assurance that not only will she have surface protection but also full subfloor protection.”
Water resistance, Arnold stressed, means little if liquids slip between the seams and settle underneath the floor. That’s where he said UltraWood raises the stakes. “We’re addressing the customer’s main need, which is if she has a spill, she wants to make sure it’s easy to clean or that it evaporates without causing damage to the surface of her floor or the subfloor underneath,” he explained.
Mohawk is looking to further whet the appetites of its dealer partners with the expansion of its Pergo-branded hard surface offerings beyond the Pergo Extreme rigid LVP line unveiled in early 2019. To that end, the company is taking the wraps off Pergo Elements, an array of waterproof wood products that not only tout strength, beauty and durability, but also capitalize on what is arguably the most researched and recognized flooring brand on the market.
“Pergo was already the strongest brand for laminate, natural wood and LVP,” Arnold said. “It has three times the average brand awareness and four times the average consumer preference for wood decor products. But there’s a tremendous amount of confusion on the part of consumers between all these categories of wood decors. I think laminated wood represents that balance of a better/best product that serves a market that’s really looking for high-performance wood products without compromise. It’s the undisputed leader in terms of wood decor products for reliability, worry-free flooring, durability and beauty.”
Beyond UltraWood and the new Pergo Elements line, Mohawk said it also plans to continue building on its wildly successful RevWood program as well as its high-end Karastan
hardwood offerings. It’s also in the process of completely refreshing its TecWood lines.
“One of the things we have found in 2020 is hard surfaces have done surprisingly well in weathering the pandemic,” Arnold said. “They’re seen by consumers as being durable and
easy to keep clean. They are easy to install so retailers can get in and get out. So we are going to expand on the momentum that we’ve created with RevWood, and build our wood strategies on the same strategies that have helped the success of RevWood. We think there’s a tremendous amount of additional opportunity in natural hardwoods to provide a very high-performing hardwood floor that serves the customer who really wants natural hardwood veneers. You’re going to see a lot of continued innovation on that natural wood side.”
More importantly, according to Arnold, Mohawk’s ongoing focus on hard surface product innovation and product-line expansion demonstrates its commitment to the wood flooring business and sends a message to naysayers who question the company’s commitment to manufacturing.
“What I can tell you is Mohawk is focused on the consumer,” he said emphatically. “We will continue to manufacture wood products, but at the end of the day what matters is keeping our eye on the consumer and ensuring we can move with her preferences. We are focusing on the consumer and we are adapting our business as we have for the last 140 years to ensure we’re giving the right products to our dealers so they can succeed.”
Timing is just right
In the context of the lead-up to the 2021 Mohawk Momentum Roadshow, the timing of the company’s hard surface introductions couldn’t be more auspicious. Despite the current and somewhat challenging economic environment, there still seems to be pent-up consumer demand for floor covering dealers to satisfy. And Mohawk, Arnold argued, is uniquely positioned to fulfill that demand.
“We are very excited to be in the home business right now,” he said. “There has never been a time in my career or in modern history where the home has been more important than it is right now. The Home Renovation Index is way up. Remodeling backlogs are up. People have realized throughout the pandemic and difficulties of 2020 that the home is a very important place. There are a lot of challenges that everyone in the world has faced this year, and Mohawk is no different. But we have never taken our eye off of what our core mission is, which is to provide high-quality, innovative floor coverings.”
A crucial part of that mission, according to Arnold, is adapting to changing consumer preferences as well as evolving retailer needs and demands. “We have been working very hard to provide our retailers the strongest brands so they can come out of this pandemic with greater momentum,” he said. “Some of our dealer partners have spent 40-50 years building these great businesses. So our mission is to make sure that we’re continuing to provide them with the right flooring to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. And that’s what the Mohawk Momentum Roadshow is all about—giving them all the tools they need to capture that momentum.”