Members of the Shaw Flooring Network (SFN) opened the company’s 2019 convention with a recommitment to each other, the company, and the consumer with the common goal of growing the flooring business.

“Even though we’re independent businesses, we all experienced similar things, share some of the same challenges and have a lot of the same goals—and we’ve seen that we can learn, laugh and solve problems together,” said Todd Wheeler of Wheeler’s Flooring, Salinas, Calif., who has been part of the SFN Dealer Council for almost six years. “I’m excited about the new Shaw Flooring Network because I have experienced how SFN is listening to me and to my friends in the network.”

The dealer council, which is made up of 18 retailers across the United States and Canada, represents different sizes and types of flooring businesses. The group meets formally twice a year and communicates regularly about issues that impact businesses and works as ambassadors to communicate needs between the 1,600 SFN members and Shaw Floors.

“The dealer council has been essential to defining our vision and creating a more effective partnership,” said Danny Crutchfield, president, SFN, who said the company wants to do a better job delivering assistance to its SFN members and communicating the benefits of doing business with Shaw Floors.

“We like to say that the new SFN is dealer driven,” said Dave Shepherd, owner of Choice Floor Center in Owings, Md., who has been part of SFN for 12 years and a member of the dealer council for five-and-a-half years. “I’m more excited today than I ever been. The reason that I am is that I’ve seen firsthand how Shaw is talking to the members, listening to us, and working with us to build solutions that work for our business.”

Tim Baucom, executive vice president, residential division, Shaw Floors, said the company’s dealer-driven strategy is fueled by consumer insights, and over the past two years, the company has aggressively invested in four transforming capabilities: insights from consumers, dealers, internal departments, and competition; transforming those insights into brands; an expanded vision of pricing; and portfolio management. 

“We’re adding tools to manage pricing in a dynamic and—I will say—an inflationary environment,” Baucom said. “We’re seeking a deeper understanding of local retail installed prices in order to maximize our mutual success.”

The expo floor showcased a number of merchandising experiences that were intended to help dealers see displays in context with one another and see how product categories could live together.  

“It’s all very simplified and intentional,” said Carrie Edwards Isaac, vice president, residential marketing. “At the end of the day, our goal is not to sell a bunch of random fixtures. We really want our products to shine, and we also know how expensive it is to for one of our customers to invest in a footprint. Their showroom floors aren’t getting any bigger—and you’ve got to come up with a way to introduce new product and not have to completely reinvent something. This flexible merchandising system really allows us to do that.”

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