With the appointment of Mohawk as a national distributor of Congoleum vinyl still very much a high-profile topic of discussion around the industry, NFT approached the heads of both companies, Congoleum Chairman and CEO Roger Marcus and Mohawk Chief Operating Officer Jeffery Lorberbaum, to obtain their personal insights on their new alliance.

"I am bullish about our new products coming on stream. They will strengthen the position of Congoleum and our distribution network." -- Roger Marcus, Congoleum CEO
With the appointment of Mohawk as a national distributor of Congoleum vinyl still very much a high-profile topic of discussion around the industry (see Industry Perspectives,November 2000), NFT approached the heads of both companies, Congoleum Chairman and CEO Roger Marcus and Mohawk Chief Operating Officer Jeffery Lorberbaum, to obtain their personal insights on their new alliance.

Mohawk, Lorberbaum said, intends to generate strong firepower for its hard surface division, which is separate from its carpet division and made up of vinyl, wood, ceramics and laminate floor products. Heading up the hard surface business is David Polley, president of Mohawk residential sales and marketing. Reporting to him is Bob Weseman, vice president of Hard Surfaces. Also being distributed are the required sundries for these products.

"We have long co-existed with others in carpet distribution and we can do the same with existing hard surface distributors so that we can all grow." -- Jeff Lorberbaum, Mohawk COO
A new hard surface sales management, marketing and technical team, which will number close to 200 people, was assembled in November. This new team reports to Mohawk’s regional vice presidents. In addition, Lorberbaum and Marcus noted that technical support is in place within all sales regions. The technical group consists of experts in a variety of areas, including hard-surface installation.

In 1999, LDBrinkman accounted for 21% of Congoleum’s sales. Marcus and Lorberbaum waxed confident in predicting that Mohawk will surpass that figure. Mohawk has a network of more than 50 distribution points and a large base of retailers already in place for its existing carpet, hardwood, ceramic, and laminate floor products. As an aside, Mohawk is said to be the nation’s largest distributor of carpet cushion.

“I feel this move is very positive for both companies,” Marcus said. “It adds to existing opportunities in the marketplace for both. It’s an excellent fit for two good strategists.”

Marcus is particularly bullish about new Congoleum products coming on stream. “They will strengthen the position of Congoleum and our distribution network,” he explained.

Early on, Lorberbaum noted, Mohawk focused on enhancing its carpet business through the distribution of padding, ceramics, laminate floors, and now hardwood and vinyl. The company recognized, as did leading retailers and contractors, that consumers and end users buy a wide variety of floor coverings.

“We have long co-existed with others in carpet distribution,” said Lorberbaum, “and we can do the same with existing hard-surface distributors so that we can all grow.”