The hyper-competitive segment like waterproof flooring—particularly SPC and waterproof laminate—has ushered in a bevy of new players looking to get in on the action. At the same time, it has also opened up opportunities for floor covering distributors to expand their product offerings while increasing market share. American Flooring Distributor (AFD) is one of those companies. Founded in 2018, the up-and-coming hard surface wholesaler—with branches in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona—is rapidly gaining traction in the market. The company functions similarly to other distributors and importers that source SPC from Asia, but it differs in its approach to product quality, environmental compliance and delivery services.
“We work with an exclusive group of factories that produce for us, and these companies only offer the best quality,” said Tom McNally, general manager, AFD. “In the SPC market, it’s all about the quality of product, the thicknesses you offer, etc. We don’t participate in any of the tactics that some penny-pinching suppliers do. Some companies are willing to risk a little bit of quality in order to have a cheaper price. We’re not one of those companies.”
The proof of that philosophy is in the pudding, so to speak. According to Derek Tung, president and CEO of AFD, product quality is job No. 1. “When we say we only supply the best, that means that we don’t work with just the entry-level product,” he explained. “In fact, our opening priced products would be considered ‘step-up’ products at some other companies. We only work with a select few factories in Asia, and we offer customers products across a good, better, best platform on everything we bring in.”
Moreover, AFD aims to ensure that it provides customers with products that conform to high-quality specifications. “We don’t cheat our customers by [skimping] on the material, wear layer thickness or any of the specs,” Tung stated. “So, if we tell you it’s a 20-mil wear layer, it’s going to be a 20-mil wear layer. Also, our SPC cores are truly virgin materials.”
Offering its retail and end clients quality products that provide profit opportunities is only part of the allure. AFD also provides warehousing and logistics services to ensure customers get the product they need when they need them. “We have locations in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona, and we’re targeting Texas and New Mexico,” Tung stated. “In our existing locations we have material in stock, ready for prompt delivery. We also operate our own fleet.”
AFD boasts several large facilities in California—a 34,000-square-foot warehouse in Ontario, and a 27,000-square-foot branch in Commerce. “We can very easily put 50 containers’ worth of inventory in each of these facilities,” Tung said. “That’s more than enough to support our monthly sales.”
The North Hollywood location, which services the northern part of Los Angeles, measures 12,000 square feet and stocks “every item that we carry,” Tung noted.
AFD’s supply capabilities don’t end there. The company’s Phoenix, Ariz., location—a 60,000-square-foot building—stocks MDF-based products, such as waterproof laminate, as well as a line of base board products. “We keep at least 50,000 feet of all the SKUs in stock,” McNally said. “Each branch is not just a satellite location that just has a little bit; every location is a full service warehouse.”
AFD is looking to build on the momentum it has generated in just a few short years. First and foremost, the company plans to expand geographically beyond its existing territories and into Houston and Atlanta. The company is also looking to continue expanding its offering of SPC products—many of which will feature new, proprietary innovations—while make more inroads in the resurgent laminate sector. That strategy will be apparent when the AFD throws its “coming out” party at Surfaces 2023 (booth# 1009). “We know a lot of companies are going to be pushing their new laminate at the show, and we want to be part of that new push,” McNally stated.