Building on a relationship formed more than a decade ago but confined mostly to the Eastern United States, the maker of Mirage hardwood flooring and its distributor, Hoboken Floors, say they are ready to take Texas together.

Hoboken Floors is set to open a 40,000 square foot warehouse in Dallas during the first week of April with additional facilities planned for Houston and San Antonio. Although Hoboken will also offer product from Mirage, BR111 and Tarkett, the Texas initiative has been driven by an expansion plan from Boa-Franc, the Quebec, Canada company that makes Mirage Flooring. Seventy-five year old Hoboken Floors saw it as an opportunity to similarly plant its flag in a new territory that has strong potential.

"We saw it as a duel opportunity," said Rick Thompson, executive vice president of marketing for Hoboken Floors, based in Wayne, N.J. "Mirage has been an extremely strong partner for us but we have been distributing them mostly from Maine to Florida. This is a significant expansion for us."

Chris Thompson, vice president of sales and marketing for the Mirage line notes that his company has been gearing up production in anticipation of increased demand. "We opened a second plant in October 2002 and have been expanding product so we want to expand distribution as well," he said.

Mirage's Thompson added that Texas is a highly attractive market. He said that apart from a brisk housing market there is growing demand quality hardwood floor product. "This should be a very good market for us," he said. "We will be targeting retailers as well as those involved in the new residential construction. We will also be offering commercial product as well."

The Texas expansion follows the launch of several new additions to Mirage's prefinished wood flooring line including three new colors in its engineered and commercial collections (Sambuca, Merlot and Java.)

Although the venture into Texas may seem a departure for Hoboken Floors, Rick Thompson noted it was in keeping with the company's approach to any market. Rather that attempt to service an area from a distance location, the company establishes a presence in the area.

"We look at ourselves as the `home town distributor'," he said. "When we go into a market we hire local people who are tuned into the marketing in the area," he added, noting that the company had hired a 15 year flooring business veteran, Tom Reavis, as Dallas branch. There is no time table set for the openings of Hoboken Floors in Houston and San Antonio.