By Megan Salzano
The new year is moving right along, and with it has come new innovations and product lines from top brands across flooring categories. For the resilient category—the fastest growing in the industry—new innovations as well as tried-and-true staples are key for retailers looking to capitalize on the unexpected boost in sales that capped off 2020 and is poised to continue in 2021.
When looking for new rigid core flooring lines to onboard or turning to a proven collection to make the sale, flooring retailers seek out specific qualifications in both the product and supplier. “The resilient category is the party everyone seems to be rushing to,” noted Jason O’Krent, director of sales, O’Krent Floors, San Antonio, Texas. “We try to continue to focus on not only quality but unique offerings for our clients.”
Doug Bertrand, executive vice president and merchandiser, Carpetland USA, Davenport, Iowa, identified must-have suppliers and brands as those companies that stay focused on style, selection, service and a vision of the future. “The resilient products of today have great visuals that are easy to clean and install,” he explained. “A must for our team as well as our customers would be products that not only are stylish but high quality, giving us the confidence that the products will perform well depending on the consumer’s needs. When we look at a must-have supplier, we look at who will be developing the products of the future. The resilient category has come a long way since sheet vinyl products that were primarily used in kitchens and bathrooms. It will be exciting to see what our partners will develop for future products.”
With that in mind, savvy retailers have offered up the best rigid core vinyl plank brands they say will help support their businesses moving forward.
Republic Floor SPC—their styling is top notch and it is very competitively priced. They always have inventory, even on trims. They deliver three days a week. The last two points are why my RSAs use it as a go-to product. No hassle once you make the sale, which during COVID-19 is a hard thing to find.
—Adam Pace, Metro Floors, Lancaster, Calif.
Like most retailers we offer many different brands of rigid core products. The brand that has been outstanding for us in the past couple years and will be a big part of our 2021 offering is Cali Flooring. Great quality, value and visuals that sell very well with very few claims.
—Greg Loeffler, Pierce Flooring, Montana
I love the natural beauty of Egger’s product. It has rustic, very realistic wood looks and very good colorways. It’s a good quality brand and it’s a European product. It also has waterproof attributes, which are very popular. And it’s easy to install—that’s coming from our installers. It’s an easy sell because of all of that. It’s one that we can feel comfortable selling and talking about because of the attributes you get with this product.
—Marbella Fuentes, Barry Carpet, Los Angeles, Calif.
The go-to rigid core product would be Shaw’s Paragon Plus from the Floorté Pro Series collection. The product comes in a 12 x 24 tile format as well as either
5- or 7-inch-wide planks. It has great visuals with a bevel.
—Steve Weisberg, Crest Flooring, Allentown, Pa.
I’ve done business with MSI for many years. It’s a very good company and they’re very important to me. I compared their rigid core with others, and I found that MSI had the better product. I sold close to $1M of it in 2020 and I didn’t get one quality claim from my customers. Also, I see my installers very happy to install it. It goes down fast; it clicks well. It’s a superior product. Now they expanded their line. I also have the XL, and I’m having a very good experience with that as well.
It’s a very good product for the price.
—Jimmy Poulos, Flooring 101, Bakersfield, Calif.
The top styles we sell are TruCOR by The Dixie Group and COREtec. We like the styling for Florida that Dixie offers—many lighter colors and diversity for our region. COREtec is universally recognized, and there are many styles and colors to choose from. Plus, it helps with our customers who are shopping up north for a floor down here so we can get the job done while they are away.
—Missy Montgomery, Montgomery’s CarpetsPlus ColorTile, Venice, Fla.
The tariffs have brought increases that have made us expand our interests and open doors to manufacturers we haven’t looked at in the past. I don’t ever put all my eggs in one basket. Karastan, COREtec/Shaw, Engineered Floors and Mannington are all promising new phenomenal products. I believe COREtec’s scratch-proof warranty will be the next greatest thing for LVP.
—Kevin Rose, Carpetland USA & America’s Flooring Store
Brands like Karastan with their new LuxeCraft vinyl collection and legacy lines like COREtec, Mannington and Karndean are offering new design features with herringbone, multi-width and/or variable lengths. These different features have been exciting our team and thus our clients.
—Jason O’Krent, O’Krent Floors, San Antonio, Texas
Mannington and COREtec are our must-have brands. Mannington has great styling and COREtec has name recognition. Both do very well with our clients. Shout-out to Tommy and Luke—both are excellent reps, very responsive and supportive!
—Elisabeth Stubbs, Enhance Floors & More, Marietta, Ga.
COREtec has the best brand name for WPC and SPC and are the originators of the modern category. They still lead and continue to innovate in both aesthetics and performance. The new introductions with a 15-year scratch resistance warranty again breaks new ground. Karastan’s products are also important to us. It gives us a truly premium brand name to feature with a very high-quality product, great visuals, with a better fixture presentation, at a surprisingly competitive price.
—Sam Roberts, Roberts Carpet & Fine Floors, Houston
For the waterproof LVP/SPC/WPC, I would have to go with COREtec as the most recognized name in the category. They have a great mix of product offerings and cover many of the hot price points. As a retailer, I also always put Mannington into the top brand category for the support they give to the independent retailer. Having a national brand that is not in the big box stores is a major benefit, and their patterns and colors are always some of the best in the industry.
—Nick Freadreacea, The Flooring Gallery, Kentucky
At Carpetland USA we feel the must-have suppliers and brands are companies who stay focused on style, selection, service and a vision of the future. For us, staying with companies that have a vision to continue to grow this category for the future puts us at a competitive edge. Some of these brands would include Shaw, COREtec, Mannington, Congoleum and Engineered Floors.
—Doug Bertrand, executive vice president and merchandiser, Carpetland USA, Davenport, Iowa
There is great interest in the new LVT from Stanton and TruCore from The Dixie Group. These are new to our showroom, but I think will start making high marks in our lineup.
—Cathy Buchanan, Independent Carpet One Floor & Home, Westland, Mich.