2009 was a challenging business climate for our industry. Where do you see business going in 2010?
For our company, the last quarter of 2009 showed some improvement over earlier in the year. We hope this is the light at the end of the recession tunnel. Our guess is that although new housing starts remained low in 2009, there were consumers that chose to redecorate or remodel their existing homes with new flooring. Although sales through flooring distribution and specialty flooring outlets were off from previous years, sales of our products through some of the chains were a little better than expected.
What design and technology trends do you see on the horizon for your product segment?
For acoustic underlayments, it’s not so much new design or technology that we’re concerned with. Our wish is for the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) to help set standards for independent third party testing for sound attenuation of underlayment products. Currently there are some underlayment brands touting high IIC and STC test scores that have more to do with a beefed up floor/ceiling assembly than it does their product. Advertising high test scores is misleading to consumers.
In what way will green products be an important aspect of business in 2010?
Our company has been producing green products since we were founded 12 years ago. Our best selling underlayments were green before green was popular. We hope to capitalize on the growing popularity of “green” with underlayments that are 95% to 100% recycled material.
What message would you like to give the industry for 2010?
As our nation tries to climb out of recession, I encourage distributors and retailers to purchase products that are “Made in America.” We need to keep our domestic work force working in order to keep unemployment numbers from rising.