The hardwood flooring industry came to celebrate during the National Wood Flooring Association’s 25th anniversary Expo and Education Conference held recently in National Harbor, Md., 11 miles outside of Washington, D.C. The event drew 2,514 people, up 3 percent from last year’s attendance, and included new hardwood product introductions and the return of some companies to the industry under new ownership.
Q.E.P. and Harris Wood were exhibiting a complete wood floor and installation product line, signifying the new relationship between the companies following Q.E.P.’s recent purchase of the more than 100-year-old Harris Wood brand.
Randy Stertmeyer, president/ceo of Green River American Hardwood, said his company was building up inventory after opening a new hardwood mill in Lee Center, N.Y. “We are starting to see more optimism from our customers and our distributors,” he added.
According to Pierre Thabet, president of Boa-Franc/Mirage, while the economy seems to be slowly turning around, the industry will need to brace for new price increases. “People are starting to see more activity, but there is still a shortage of materials coming. We predict a supply shortage as early as this summer.”
Understanding the Lacey Act
Anne Middleton, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) outreach coordinator, spoke with NFT about the Lacey Act and how it can affect retailers who sell exotic hardwood flooring. The 25-year-old EIA is a watchdog agency that has been tracking the timber industry for more than 10 years. For more information, visit www.eia-international.org/campaigns/forests.
Staying protected: “Make sure you’re asking the tough questions,” Middleton said. “Ask your suppliers what the product is, where it came from and verify that. When in doubt, look to industry standards. The NWFA’s Responsible Procurement Program is a perfect example of an industry setting the bar for legality. A lot of it is common sense. There are always ways to source responsibly and legally from any country.”
Penalties: “The penalties under the Lacey Act are different for unknowingly having illegal wood (which usually means confiscation) and knowingly have it. Remember, it’s so important to track your supply chain.”