By Reginald Tucker—After nearly 80 years of operating under the Consolidated Carpet moniker, the commercial flooring company with operations in New York and Chicago has rebranded as Consolidated Flooring. The change, which has been in the works for the past year and a half, is a reflection of the firm’s move into a host of diversified commercial flooring products and services.
“We’re looking at this as an evolution of the brand, not like a revolution where we change everything for the sake of change,” said David Meberg, president and CEO of Consolidated Flooring. “We felt like we have a lot of brand equity built up in the Consolidated name so we didn’t want to forfeit that. We just felt like the term ‘carpet’ buttonholed us, and ‘Consolidated Flooring’ better illustrates what we do as a business.”
Indeed, Consolidated Flooring—which is now in its third generation of ownership—in recent years has expanded its expertise beyond carpet tile and rolled goods and into more hard surface product sectors such as polished concrete, terrazzo and hardwood flooring, to name a few. “We’re skewing off the soft stuff,” Meberg stated, noting that carpet represents roughly 50% of the company’s sales today (by volume), with resilient products accounting for approximately 20%. The remaining 30%, he said, is made up of a mixture of polished concrete, poured floors (20%) and hardwood, which represents about 10% of installations.
Room for growth
Seeing the writing on the wall, Consolidated Flooring engineered an acquisition back in 2017 that put the company squarely in the polished concrete business. “More and more clients are using toppings; they’re not just going with an existing slab,” Meberg explained. As an example, he cited a massive polished concrete job his company performed for the newly completed UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y. The facility is home to the New York Islanders Hockey team and hosts concerts and special events throughout the year. “Toppings are very unique,” he said. “They can be custom dyed, and you can put different graphics into them.”
As Consolidated Flooring entered into new hard surface categories, the company said it realized the need for its installers to expand their knowledge base beyond traditional soft goods. For some jobs, the company—which employs union labor—had to expand its full-time workforce while relying on sourced labor in other instances. “We have been utilizing sub-contractors a little bit more than we typically would, but we like to ‘self-perform’ whenever possible,” Meberg said. “We are very closely affiliated with the group INSTALL, so we rely on them for a lot of training. [Our expansion] has required a lot of our installers to broaden their skill set and talent base. Thankfully, we have the union as a partner in training, so that has helped.”
New logo, familiar vibe
Beyond the operational changes Consolidated Flooring has made in recognition of the new corporate name, the company has also tweaked its longstanding “cube-shaped” logo. While the updated logo still depicts the geometrical shape of four walls and a floor, the new image features—fittingly—more depth and dimension. “The new logo is a slight twist on the old one,” Meberg explained. “We wanted to make it a little more iconic and more adaptable to a national brand.”
David Fietsam, founder and CEO of Metaforce, the marketing/advertising firm that worked closely with Consolidated Flooring on the new logo, explained the redesign process. “We went through a pretty rigorous, strategic process to try to represent the brand positioning in a crisp, modern, contemporary way. The logo pays homage to the generational traditions, but it also reflects the innovative spirit that drives the company forward. In the end, we wanted to capture what makes the company unique. It’s more abstract and yet it is still a nod toward flooring.”
While Consolidated Flooring is only now officially unveiling the new corporate name and logo, seeds of the rebranding were planted back in 2019, when the company purchased the assets of Vortex Commercial Flooring of Chicago. The acquisition, which combined two of the largest, unionized floor covering contractors in the industry, resulted in the creation of a new business entity, Consolidated Flooring of Chicago, LLC. (CFC). “We initiated some new marketing initiatives, starting in Chicago, and now we’re ready to begin the rebrand,” Meberg said.
Broadening its base
Known for decades for its award-winning commercial flooring installations across the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Consolidated Flooring’s foray into the coveted Chicago market provided a glimpse into its long-range strategy—expanding its geographical home base beyond New York.
“That was the grand plan, but we got a little slowed down by the pandemic,” Meberg told FCNews. Now, it’s back on the acquisition track. “We’re not doing private equity deals; we’re doing everything in house and we’re trying to be strategic about where we go with this—not just buying up onesie-two-sies but buying established businesses that are not necessarily looking for an exit strategy. Rather, we’re looking for those companies that are looking for a real partner for growth.”
It’s common knowledge in the flooring industry that commercial growth normally lags behind residential. But with all the industry has had to contend with the past two-plus years during the pandemic, business conditions have been anything but “normal.” That being said, Consolidated Flooring said it is seeing some promising signs, albeit incrementally, of a rebound in commercial. “In the corporate market, we’re seeing a lot of activity—but it’s on and off,” Meberg observed. “We’re seeing the starts but then [projects] get held back. That market is recovering, but slowly.”
In corporate, specifically, Meberg cited big winners in the tech sector, including: Google, Amazon and Facebook. “They’re all spending money like crazy,” he said. “Still, many companies are uncertain about what the work space is going to look like with many people still working remotely. That’s what’s causing a lot of the fits and starts in corporate. Is the office space going to be bigger or smaller? More community or less community? Less private office and more collaboration? All that is still playing out.”
Meanwhile, Meberg said education (K-12) looks like it’s going to have a strong year. Ditto for healthcare, which he said has remained pretty much a constant. Hospitality? Not so much. “We have three major hospitality projects that are on hold right now because tourism in the city isn’t back yet, and business travel isn’t there yet,” he added.
All in all, though, things are moving in the right direction for Consolidated Flooring. “We’re seeing a lot of work in the pipeline,” Meberg noted, citing infrastructure projects in airports, convention centers and the like. “We’re also involved in a big hotel project in the Times Square area. Overall, our estimating volume is up 20%.”