“With growth comes challenges,” said Jason Goldberg, president, America’s Floor Source, at the FloorCon 2021 event held in Sarasota, Florida. The past two years have certainly presented many challenges for business owners, but the current challenge is the shift in the way in which consumers, specifically younger generations, want to do business.
Broadlume, a technology company, is working to find solutions for the independent flooring dealer in this ever-changing retail environment. At FloorCon 2021, retailers from across the country came together to connect with experts and industry leaders to learn about new trends to grow their flooring businesses. This year the show led with a heavy-hitting cast of guest speakers, and Broadlume revealed an all-in-one software platform that takes care of the flooring retailer’s business and marketing needs from end to end.
Todd Saunders, CEO, Broadlume, and a former Google executive, built AdHawk, an advertising technology company to help independent business owners. The turning point that led Saunders to the flooring industry was an invitation to an NWFA show by John Weller, co-founder of FloorForce, a digital marketing platform for flooring retailers, manufacturers and distributors.
After several years in operation, AdHawk had over 100 employees and $10 million in revenue, according to Saunders. In 2018, FloorForce was acquired and AdHawk went through a branding change to reflect the growth the company was experiencing. Broadlume was born. Two years later, Creating Your Space joined the Broadlume family, offering a suite of digital solutions to flooring, kitchen and bath retailers. During this time, both Retail Lead Management (RLM), a flooring industry customer relationship management (CRM) platform, and Freetail, a visualization platform, were acquired.
“We are here to help you, the independent flooring dealer, thrive in a digital-first world,” said Saunders. Broadlume has raised $40 million to back its efforts, according to Weller. Additionally, the firm announced that it has acquired RollMaster, a provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, to complete its all-in-one platform of digital tools. With RollMaster in the mix, Broadlume can supply flooring dealers with cloud-based software to handle every aspect of their business from accounting to inventory management to estimating and more.
Stephen Dayton, owner of Carpet Village in Pasadena, Maryland, is a current FloorForce user. He opened the doors in 1978 and over the course of the last 40 plus years has witnessed the evolution in how the flooring consumer shops. “One of the takeaways from the show was that younger consumers, 40 and under, over 30% don’t ever plan on going to a flooring store,” said Dayton.
Dayton has also invested in Proximity Mills, one of the private-label brands available to flooring dealers through The Flooring Stores United retail selling system. The system is made up of four private-label brands with in-store merchandising that can be configured to fit any store layout.
Proximity Mills is the performance brand; Paradiso is the luxury line; Doma represents the style line; and Newton is the value brand. The new system serves to simplify the shopping experience for the consumer by matching what is online to what is in-store.
Proximity Mills has proven to be a successful investment for Dayton. “We are getting a lot of consumer interest—a lot sales and purchases,” said Dayton. “I thought by going to the show maybe we should get a wood line, a carpet line or another exclusive line.”
When asked how he feels about investing in the other private-label brands, Dayton said, “Based on the success of Proximity Mills, we are moving forward with those new lines.”
As for next year, Jeffrey Bieber, vice president, marketing, Broadlume, reports that FloorCon 2022 may take place in Sarasota, Florida but hinted at Mexico as a possibility.