Paul Eanes was recently named vice president of new business development for Metroflor. In his new role, the company said that Eanes will discover new customers and channels of sale for Metroflor that could involve OEM customers, as well as private label opportunities with new and existing customers. Floor Trends connected with him recently to learn more about what’s in store for 2018.

FT: What's your outlook for 2018?

Eanes: 2018 should be a very strong year. Consumer confidence is at the highest level since 2000, and both the residential and commercial markets are poised for continued growth. The corporate tax cut is also seen as a stimulus for continued business investment in infrastructure and capital spending in general. The global economy is also in good position to grow substantially as well.

FT: LVT is unstoppable. Where do you see this category heading next?

Eanes: In terms of technology, we anticipate continued enhancements in floating rigid core construction, and the further introduction of tile formats as opposed to plank only. Newly introduced locking systems, as opposed to the original, are making this not only possible, but easy to install. There should be continued commercial acceptance of floating rigid core floors, as they penetrate segments heretofore reserved for glue down. Practicality and reduced overall costs of the full installation will drive this trend commercially. Expect to see more non-PVC products enter this product category, as that core customer group is a sizeable segment.

FT: What are some new category opportunities (perhaps even outside of flooring) that we haven't seen yet? What's the next frontier?

Eanes: There certainly is a market for vertical use of custom built PVC products on walls. This is true of both residential and commercial markets. Wallpaper is simply not what it used to be, and with lighter-weight product constructions, this is a brand-new market segment for vinyl. Metroflor just introduced its Vercade wall tile and plank program, and it is already making waves in the marketplace—with both residential and major commercial customers. It even compares very favorably with ceramic wall tile but is much easier to clean and has less breakage—not to mention very cost effective.

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