By Megan Salzano Lions Floor, based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., began simply and modestly in 2017 with the goal of servicing its immediate area with what it called “the most competitively priced” SPC flooring in the market. After just two years, the company had generated $10 million in sales and developed invaluable relationships within the industry.
Now Lions Floor is taking steps to expand its presence and offering to the Midwest and East Coast via new warehousing locations and added distribution. “The biggest advantage we have is inventory capability,” said Jerry Guo, president. “We’ll have about 12 million square feet of inventory this month.”
The company’s warehousing capacity initially started with a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in the City of Industry. Projecting increased industry demand and growth, it moved to a 33,000-square-foot warehouse in Santa Fe Springs. However, again in anticipation of upcoming growth, the company recently acquired a warehouse spanning 52,000 square feet in Paramount, Calif.
Lions Floor plans to open its next warehouse facility in Texas in the spring. The goal is to provide unparalleled service to customers and expand its presence in the Midwest. “Texas is close to California and the market behavior is similar,” Guo said. “It’s best to begin the expansion there and transition between warehouses.”
Within the year, Guo said the company will continue its warehousing expansion with a new location in Florida and finally in the Northeast, areas it is currently establishing new connections.
Along with inventory, another major point of differentiation for the company remains its pricing strategy. “We have one of the best inventory capabilities and we know demand will be there, so we’re pricing aggressively to the top dealers and we’re pricing reasonably to the general retail stores—making the profit margin balanced. The retailer can make a stronger margin with us.”
That strategy even accounts for the strain on supply these days. While some suppliers look to make money on ocean freight or factor it into the cost of the product, Lions Floor does not. Instead, it takes a unique approach. “We don’t make money on ocean freight,” he explained. “Everyone else continues to raise prices. We only raised prices 10% on certain products since March, and don’t plan to do it again.”
Trending product design
Lions Floor was founded with an eye on SPC flooring, which remains a keen focus for the company today. However, it has expanded its product line greatly to include new colors, formats and designs in the segment. “SPC is one of the most stable performers in the market,” Guo said. “It is going to be stable for a few years. If you make that your workhorse you won’t lose the momentum.”
This year, the company has expanded its lineup with new custom colors poised to provide natural wood looks in exclusive designs. “All the new colors we’ll be promoting will be our own exclusive, copyrighted colors,” Guo said. “Now we can protect ourselves and our customers from engaging in unnecessary competition. This will be the first time these colors enter the market. Regional preferences will be taken into consideration—Los Angeles will have its own colors; Texas its own.”
Guo added that Lions will be advancing its merchandising racks to better support its customers’ ability to take on the new options. “We’re evolving our racks to host much more colors than the current approach. We want to find space efficiencies so the retailers can feel more comfortable taking on our colors and showcasing them.”
But the evolution and expansion story doesn’t stop there. Lions Floor plans to tackle the engineered wood category as well. “Launching engineered wood will help to bring brand awareness,” Guo said. “It’s to show our customers that Lions Floor isn’t here to just tap a trend. We aren’t just trying to jump on the SPC bandwagon. With engineered wood, we want to show that we possess the sourcing, manufacturing and purchasing skill sets needed to be a legitimate supplier.”