Witex USA has signed a letter of intent to purchase from Orders Distributing two Florida warehouses and assets, and assume related lease obligations currently held by the Greenville, S.C-based distributorship. Terms of the sale, which is expected to be executed by Sept. 30, were not released.

According to Orders president C. Michael Smith, the transaction will allow Witex to expand its presence in Florida and southern Georgia. For its part, Orders will cease to offer distribution in those territories and instead focus on increasing its market share in its core markets of South and North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Witex plans to employ the existing Orders staff affected by the sale and operate out of Orders' Orlando, Fla. branch warehouse. The company will relocate Orders' existing Jacksonville, Fla. branch to another location in that city that accommodates a showroom for use by builders, retailers and consumers.

Many of the products Orders handles in the Florida and south Georgia markets, including the Hartco and Milliken lines, are also represented by other distributorships in those territories. Smith said that he assumes those distributors will take full responsibility for the lines Orders will relinquish when the sale closes. One exception is the Tarkett line, which Orders will handle indefinitely until an alternate distributor is appointed, Smith added.

"This has really worked out well," Smith said. "Our employees will be taken care of and the sale will allow us to better focus on our core market."

Smith also said that his company is actively seeking new flooring lines to represent, although he declined at this time to identify which ones.