The late Marvin Berlin, a visionary retailer who is credited with growing New York Carpet World from a two-store chain in 1967 to more than 250 stores in 17 states by 1996, will be inducted posthumously into the World Floor Covering Association's Flooring Industry Hall of Fame. His legacy will be honored during an industry dinner and induction ceremony coinciding with the WFCA's 50th anniversary, set for Oct. 2, 2009, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"Marv Berlin was a trailbrazer in retail floor covering," said D. Christopher Davis, president & CEO of the WFCA. "Most if not all of his innovations are commonplace practice to multi-store operations or buying groups today."
Berlin is championed for his innovative management and information systems, which became models for multi-store merchandising, private labeling and advertising for retailers and buying groups across the industry. As early as 1980, Berlin envisioned the concept of a portable, computerized measuring, calculating and selling system. Today, companies like the Home Depot are using the MeasureComp System created by Berlin.
Berlin was also committed to developing the largest and most automated distribution center in the industry. The company's state-of-the-art distribution center and warehouse in Ringgold, Ga., made over 2,800 cuts a day off of a 60,000 roll stock platform designed to service all 250 stores daily.
He also developed a mainframe computer system that could track all aspects of the New York Carpet World empire. The system also featured "one of the most complex pricing and commission system that allowed his company to operate at very high margins," the WFCA noted.
Along with his keen understanding of technology, Berlin is also remembered for his personal touch. He was well-known for visiting virtually every store in the New York Carpet World chain at least once a year. Additionally, he took a hands-on approach to training personnel and backing educational initiatives. He is also remembered as a philanthropist who made giving "a key part of his daily life," the WFCA said.
Berlin will be the 37th inductee into the WFCA Flooring Industry Hall of Fame, a virtual who's who of the industry.