Editor’s Note:Welcome to Industry Q&A, a new feature profiling members of the industry and their companies. Interested in participating? Contact Jeff Golden atGoldenJ@bnpmedia.comor (818) 224-8035 ext. 2218.
NFTrecently spoke with Howard Brodsky, co-founder, co-chairman and co-ceo of CCA Global Partners. One of CCA’s largest divisions, Carpet One Floor & Home, is turning 25 this year.
Carpet One Floor & Home is celebrating its 25th anniversary. How does it feel to reach that milestone?
We’re still very energized about it. Our greatest accomplishments continue to be our members’ accomplishments. Their success and growth and financial health keep us strong. The most exciting part of it for us is we feel less like we’re in a business, and more like we’re part of a family. We’ve become the number one [flooring retail] group in North America -- and the world, actually – because of our members and that is certainly exciting.
What has been the impact of the Internet?
The majority of consumers now go to the Internet for information. We want to be the number one place for flooring information. It’s crucial we have a major presence on the web, to drive people into our stores.
We have a very extensive catalog available online. So one of the main components of having a major online presence is certainly the quality and content of information and ease of using it. Another major aspect is search engine optimization. Our strategy is to not only have a site that is full of content and rich in information, but to take steps to ensure we come out at the top of the search listings.
Can you talk about the recently announced direct sales relationship with Armstrong?
I think on several levels having a direct relationship permits us to be more competitive. We can focus on products and service that maybe we could not focus on as effectively with pre-existing relationships.
How will this affect distributors?
It’s definitely an adjustment, but I think good distributors will survive. There are some very good distributors out there who will continue to be in business.
How is the business landscape changing in 2010?
In the past couple of years, people have been shaving their expenses. Now we’re urging our members to be extremely aggressive and go after business.
It seems like Carpet One is pushing a more discount-oriented message in its advertising. Is that accurate?
Not exactly. Price isn’t our number one item, but we want to make sure consumers know we’re competitive. It’s also about making sure they understand we are a place for expertise, quality installation, great product selection, and all the other parts that go along with it.
Every market is a little different, but we find it’s very important to be aggressive in marketing, with a mix of online advertising and some traditional.
Where do you see the industry going in 2010?
I think, if we look around, we see the economic engine is slowly churning in a positive way. That’s good for everybody. The consumer is dying to come back to the store. For a long time people have been operating on fear. Now it’s cautiousness, not fear. Consumers are craving good value, wanting to make sure things are authentic, but they’re out of the fear mode, which is really wonderful. So yes, 2010 will be a good year.