Jeff Lorberbaum, CEO of Mohawk Industries, presents the 2009 Mohawk Floorscapes Dealer of the Year Award to Maryanne Adams (right) and Mary Millar (left) of Avalon Carpet Tile & Flooring.

Two retailers were recently honored as Mohawk's 2009 Floorscapes and ColorCenter National Dealers of the Year. Avalon Carpet Tile & Flooring, based in Cherry Hill, N.J., was named the Mohawk Floorscapes Dealer of the Year. Richie Ballance Flooring, of Wilson, N.C., was named Mohawk ColorCenter Dealer of the Year. The awards were presented at Mohawk’s recent aligned dealer convention in San Antonio.

Adams: 'It's quite an honor to win'

Maryanne Adams, president of Avalon, accepted the award for her company, which has 13 stores in the New Jersey, Delaware, and the Philadelphia area. It was the second time Avalon has won the award, and the only time a dealer has won twice.  

“We were in very good company with the other regional nominees,” she said. “It’s quite an honor to win.”

Avalon first won the Floorscapes Dealer of the Year Award in 2005.  Ranked 7th among the nation’s top 75 flooring retailers, the company experienced tragedy a year and a half ago, when its president John Millar died. Adams, a 22-year company veteran,  was tapped to succeed Millar. “We are recognized in the flooring industry, and we knew we were being watched,” she said. “We wanted to keep moving the company forward with John’s vision.”

“Avalon Carpet Tile & Flooring continues to grow because of the empowerment of its people,” noted Manny Llerena, vp retail marketing for Mohawk. “The fact that Avalon has experienced success even in this difficult economic climate is no surprise. The company pays attention to all key business practices, especially customer service. Each and every customer receives ‘red carpet treatment,’ creating a positive, unique experience that distinguishes them from the competition.

“Avalon is constantly providing training to its employees, utilizing the Mohawk University initiatives and have maximized the Mohawk Floorscapes differentiation in the CustomWeave assortment with HGTV’s Taniya Nayak,” Llerena added. “Avalon has set very high standards for itself, and it excels because its employees come to work anxious to exceed them.  We’re proud to award the company a second Floorscapes National Dealer of the Year Award.”

Richie Ballance, Owner of Richie Ballance Flooring, (left) receives the 2009 Mohawk ColorCenter Dealer of the Year Award from Jeff Lorberbaum, CEO of Mohawk Industries.

Ballance 'surprised' by award

Richie Ballance, owner of Richie Ballance Flooring, said he was surprised to receive the honor. “Over the years, you sit there and think, It would be neat to be up on stage, but you don’t expect it to happen to you,” he said.

Llerena noted that Richie Ballance Flooring had many reasons to be recognized. “Richie, his wife and business partner, Phyllis, and their son Justin have taken advantage of the Mohawk ColorCenter Elite program precisely in the way we intended for retailers to use it,” Llerena said. “It has been a tool for them to make their store stand out and to boost their sales and profitability, and we are proud to partner with them to help build their business.  

“It is by no means a one-way relationship. Richie, Phyllis and Justin have built their reputation on unprecedented customer service, and they represent Mohawk and its products in the best possible light,” he added. “We are delighted to recognize them as our ColorCenter National Dealer of the Year.”

A 32-year veteran of the flooring industry, Ballance became a Mohawk ColorCenter dealer in 1992. In 2007, the Ballances decided to step up to the Mohawk ColorCenter Elite program. “We wanted a way to differentiate ourselves from our competition,” Ballance said. “We looked carefully at the ColorCenter Elite program. The display system impressed us, and we believe customers come in and think ‘these people are really in the flooring business-they don’t just have a bunch of samples scattered about.’”

Ballance added the ColorCenter Elite system helped his company's bottom line. “The rebates were substantial, along with a system that brought us more sales. Our Mohawk hard surface sales are up 74% with the ColorCenter Elite system.”

And the nominees are ...

Floorscapes dealers nominated for the award included: Paul Clayton, Builders Floor Covering, Suwanee, GA; Bob Tiffany, Manasota Flooring Inc., Sarasota, FL; Steve Chirico, Great Western Flooring Company, Oswego, IL; Mike Hughes and Tommy Hughes, Kelly's Carpet Omaha, Omaha; Carlos Ledesma, America's Finest Carpet, San Diego, CA; Joseph Montemagni, Baystate Rug, Chicopee, MA; Jack Fitzpatrick and Jack Fitzpatrick, Jr., Jack's Carpet Inc., Houston; Hans Stark and Alicia Stark, Michigan Tile & Carpet, Battle Creek, MI; Bob Bell, Carpet Mill, Moscow, ID; Peter Indelicato and David Nicodemo, Colautti Brothers Floors, Windsor, Ontario; Fred Gaines, Bell's Carpets and Floors, Inc., Raleigh, NC; Sam Allman, Sr. and Curt Allman, Allman's Carpet, Bountiful, UT; and Larry Flick, The Floor Store, Richmond, CA.

Nominated ColorCenter dealers included: Elisabeth and John Stubbs, Enhance Floors & More, Marietta, GA; Randy Stinson, Stinson Carpet Inc., Lakeland, FL; Neil and Penelope Fuhr, Carpets Plus Outlet, Kenosha, WI; Jim and Gloria Hanson/Chad Hanson and Natasha Jensen, Hanson Furniture & Carpet Inc., Milbank, SD; Vic Balian, Carpet Emporium, Moreno Valley, CA; Todd and Renne Wenner, Lima Carpet, Avon, NY; Doc Wright, Wright Floor Covering, Houma, LA; Jack and Mary Curry, Creative Carpets and Supply, Greenville, OH; James Mallary and Paul Allen, Mallary Carpet and Flooring, Glen Burnie, MD; Chad and Chet Whitney, The Floor Show, Ponderay, ID; Ray Whaling and Deryl Dueck, World Class Carpets, London, Ontario; Jack Woodward, Royal Floors, Farmington, NM; and Jaime Martinez, Jaime's Flooring Center, Fresno, CA.

The National Dealer of the Year Awards recognize exceptional work within the Mohawk aligned dealer network. The awards are based on a number of criteria,including a percentage increase over previous year’s business, excellence in promoting the store concept, ongoing commitment to training, store standards, brand building, merchandising and installation ideas and community involvement.