We have all heard the famous dream speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington D.C., about equality. We should be inspired by that quote to look within the industry and ourselves to fulfill the dream we all share in this business – one of industry prosperity.

Prosperity will not come easy; it will come after much effort by all of us after many, many long days and nights. Growth in sales will not come to the flooring or home furnishings segment with a program similar to Cash for Clunkers. The Cash for Clunkers program had a negative impact on the flooring industry and it will take many months to recover.

The fight to attract consumers, and get a share of their disposable income, continues after many of those limited dollars were spent on new cars. We need to put glamour in floor coverings and get those dollars spent on home improvement projects, like kitchen and bath remodels, expansions or furnishing updates.

Recovery will come to our industry. We are already seeing positive signs of expansion, as shown by the collaboration between Armstrong and Beaulieu of America to create a complete portfolio of flooring products for homebuilders. Announced at press time, the program will combine a complete array of over 60 carpet products (including the Magic Fresh, Healthy Home and Silver Release lines) with Armstrong’s broad flooring mix including vinyl sheet and tile, laminate and hardwood collections.

“This relationship...leverages our combined strengths for the benefit of our builder partners,” said Paul Murfin, Armstrong vp sales. “This offering of products and the streamlined value proposition will help the builder convert shoppers into buyers,” he added.

All of the flooring products, including the carpet collections, will be marketed under the Armstrong brand by the Armstrong and Beaulieu of America (carpet products only) sales teams to the builder and property management segments.

“Quality brands sell more homes, and Armstrong is the most recognized name in flooring. We couldn’t have found a better partner to bring the builder an exciting program that is a win-win-win,” noted Jeff Meadows, Beaulieu of America executive vp.

“We are committed to the builder’s success by delivering product leadership, renowned brand power and world-class service with hard surface flooring, and now will deliver these high-impact advantages with carpet,” Murfin added. The tiered, six-level program will roll out to builders immediately and cover all price points.

We should take this as a sign to get energized and prepared in our own businesses. Look for new ways to package your products and get the consumer interested in your store, and reconnected to our industry.