By Reginald Tucker When Invista announced the sale of the Stainmaster brand to Lowe’s earlier this month, retailer reaction from former Stainmaster Flooring Centers was strong and swift. Now, carpet mills are chiming in, largely assuring retailers that they have plans in place to support their retail partners via alternatives to the vaunted Stainmaster brand.
Anderson Tuftex, the premium hardwood, carpet and custom rugs brand of Shaw Industries, released a statement to its dealer partners conveying confidence and stability in response to the news of the sale of the Stainmaster brand. The objective, the company said, is to assure its customers that the style, design, quality and service of all its premium carpets has not changed, and that Anderson Tuftex plans to continue using both internal and external fiber suppliers to manufacture carpeting and custom rug products.
“Anderson Tuftex has long been synonymous with style and design, and promises a simple floor buying experience with intentionally designed hard and soft surface styles that are crafted with care,” said Tim Baucom, president and CEO, Shaw Industries. “It’s something our customers know and love about our Anderson Tuftex brand, and nothing about that has changed or will change. Anderson Tuftex’s portfolio of pet-friendly products will continue to offer our customers and consumers the industry’s most innovative and inspired designs.”
Working closely with customers, the company said it will replace existing Stainmaster PetProtect branding on samples and displays. In fact, Anderson Tuftex has already begun developing both online and in-store marketing assets for its own, all-new pet-friendly label. It’s urging customers to keep existing samples on the floor, as a streamlined and straightforward process for converting samples will be communicated directly by their Anderson Tuftex sales representatives in the coming days. In addition, customers will get the opportunity to help build a new, preferred pet-friendly label specifically for independent retailers across the country, according to Baucom.
Shaw has a comprehensive fiber offering of Endurance High Performance PET, Anso nylon and nylon 6,6. The company reported the continuity of its fiber supply is not at risk, and customers can have confidence that Anderson Tuftex products will not be negatively impacted. In addition, Anderson Tuftex will honor product performance and warranties on all impacted styles. The company encourages any customers who might have questions or concerns to contact their Anderson Tuftex sales representative for more information.
Like Anderson Tuftex, Mannington—parent company of the Phenix brand—published a statement to proactively address any retailer concerns. “With Lowe’s purchase of the Stainmaster brand, we know our customers will have questions as to how this affects their Phenix product offering,” said Mark Clayton, president, Phenix Flooring. “In short, we are committed to continuing the exceptional service that our customers have come to expect from Phenix.”
In the coming weeks, Phenix sales representatives will retrofit existing PetProtect displays with a new, proprietary brand refresh, focusing on consumers who have pets. “Phenix plans to continue to support, service and warrant these products and will be providing a comprehensive list of features and benefits that rival those currently offered,” Clayton said. “In the meantime, we want our customers to know that Phenix is here for them as always by providing industry-leading service along with unsurpassed warranty support. We encourage dealers to continue to sell these products with confidence and look forward to a bright and successful future together.”
Perhaps presciently, some mills that previously partnered with Stainmaster began developing alternative fiber technologies several years ago. Such was the case with The Dixie Group, which launched Envision 6,6 about two years ago as a means to further diversify its business. During an interview with FCNews earlier this year, T.M. Nuckols, president of the company’s residential division, explained the reasoning behind the strategy. “We needed to diversify our offering so we are not locked in to only one strategy, so we launched Envision 6,6. Whether it’s Stainmaster or Envision 6,6, it’s the same backbone. Nylon 6,6 is nylon 6,6.”
Previously, Stainmaster sold The Dixie Group fiber technology and chemistries used to create Stainmaster carpet. As an alternative, Envision 6,6, according to Nuckols, provides “very good stain and soil treatments that we are able to offer the retailer at a lower price point compared to Stainmaster, and it has allowed us to expand our offering so we can reach a broader distribution of consumers.”