Wood is not just a category of flooring for Wisconsin-based Floor360—the retailer has taken a unique merchandising approach to bring more engineered wood to the Milwaukee market. In a new collaboration with wood supplier DuChateau, the retail and commercial dealer recently opened a segmented part of its Milwaukee showroom to highlight exclusive wood products and help designers walk their clients through wood flooring selections.
“Milwaukee has been selling a lot of unfinished wood products, so we wanted to go this route to help customers understand that you can get a better, higher-quality product,” said Ryan Koechel, Floor360’s director of growth.
The new 25,000-sq.-ft Floor360 showroom, which opened in April, was created with the designer in mind. The remodeled space includes retail sales, a designer showroom, builder selection center, commercial sales, estimating department, installation department, warehouse and delivery. A segmented area of the showroom designed by DuChateau opened over the summer, featuring extra-large sample boards, wall installations, and high-end fixtures showcasing the manufacturer’s selections.
“There is a space here for factory-finished wood,” said Kelly Kuehn, design studio manager. “Today’s wood is so incredibly durable and nothing like what people knew before. What we find is when people are doing wood, or even DuChateau’s luxury vinyl, they come back for an area rug because they want softness on the floor, too.”
The new wood showroom builds upon the dealer’s high-end approach to selling flooring with a carpet showroom. Through an agreement with Kashou Carpets, Floor360 also operates a separate creative space, Kashou Design Studio, which features high-end soft surfaces. Kashou Carpets had been in business for more than 100 years serving the Milwaukee design community with luxury Persian and oriental rugs before closing its doors in 2018.
“Bob Kashou’s clientele was high-end designers in Milwaukee and he was really the only one that was servicing designers. For them, it was either go to Kashou carpets or drive two hours to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago,” Koechel said.
In response, Floor360 team crafted a store environment that would function much like Apple or AT&T stores—customers enter, give their name, get comfortable and get one-on-one assistance by a product concierge.
“We brought in the best of the high-end—Adora, Stark, IDG—brands that are exclusive to us in this market,” Koechel said. “We’ve been trying to find really cool carpet, for example, that may sell for $180 per yard, but we’ve been able to buy at volume or buy closeouts, so we can provide significant discounts. Some of the products are also in stock.”
Two full-time installers offer hand-surging on site for the carpet business, which answers the need for higher end rugs and stair runners.
The commercial team of sales and installation is building on the past success of Floor360 projects in Milwaukee including the Kimpton Journeyman, The Westin Hotel, The Corners of Brookfield and Café Hollander restaurant. “We are projecting growth trend in the high-end segment of the flooring market in Milwaukee and other midwest cities, and having our product presented so well is a big part of that,” said Patrick Bewley, vice president of marketing for Duchateau.
To get the word out about the new space, Floor360 is hosting designer open houses, barbecues and continuing education credit courses.
“When we have new samples, we will send a limo to different design firms and bring them here to have lunch and check out what’s new,” Koechel said.
Local tile distributors, including Daltile, Virginia Tile and American Olean, are invited to use Floor360 as a meeting space with clients to work through product selections.
“We set up the room, customize the music for the client’s needs, offer them a glass of wine, beer or coffee,” Koechel said. “Then it really just becomes a designer in the space with their client and they can do whatever they want, and we’re here assist when they need it.”