One of the most difficult challenges companies face is how to be more flexible and adaptive in a dynamic business environment. Adaptability has become a major differentiator in flooring as design and technologies progress at amazing speed. The retailers and contract specifiers who can capitalize on new opportunities, responding quickly to changes in consumer preferences, supply hiccups and fluctuations in the economy, are the ones who will succeed.
In response to this, Matthew Syler, former vice president of Hollytex and hard surfaces at Beaulieu America, recently launched the Bella Flooring Group. Based in Dalton, Ga., this organization is sourcing cutting-edge products from Asian manufacturers for the North American residential, Main Street and commercial markets.
“One of the things we noticed is that there are innovative products that need to be available to our contract and residential consumers,” said Syler, who leads the group as chief revenue officer. “We needed to group manufacturers together as a team to bring innovative products to market. This organization represents a group of products that want to come to the U.S.”
Syler is joined by a seasoned team of professionals. Paul Dominie, vice president of sales, worked as a flooring consultant and senior vice president of strategic accounts at Beaulieu America. Courtney Sturtevan, former western regional sales manager for IVC Group and Beauflor, will manage Western regional sales.
Syler launched the idea for Bella Flooring Group late last year when he traveled to Shanghai to meet with several factories.
“We have a wide variety of products,” Syler said. “We will offer resilient, laminate, hardwood, carpet tiles, and our carpet tile offering is broad—we can offer tip sheer, tufted products, colorpoint and printed. We haven’t done anything with broadloom yet, but we will also expand into wallcoverings.”
For Bella’s commercial business, which will market under the name Dalton Contract, the company will offer a variety of products that can be specified, ordered as quick ship, or customized. Main Street business is also a promising category, which Syler says has been a mystery to many independent flooring retailers. Bella will provide them with value products in fiber types that aren’t being widely specified, like polyester (PET) and olefin, and nylons in lower ounce weights. An example is Verve and Verve Plus, a collection of 20-ounce, 1/12-gauge carpet tiles that the buyer can order with or without an accent in 50x50, 25x100 or 50x100 sizes.
“We are also talking to several companies that need to supplement their product categories, and we will provide for them in an OEM scenario,” Syler added.
The team is traveling the country to inform buyers about using Bella Flooring Group as a product resource. One such customer is Mike Hayes, vice president of David’s Abbey Carpet in Knoxville, Tenn.
“We looked at a lot of different products for LVP [luxury vinyl plank] and needed some specialty items,” Hayes said. “Matt was able to customize some colors for us in sizes that we couldn’t get elsewhere, such as a little wider and longer format and a little thicker product.”
Hayes’ first order included LVP in gray and wood tones that will work well for his commercial and multifamily businesses.
“There has been so much consolidation in the market, this is helping us be competitive,” he said.