Michael Halebian & Co. Receives Kahrs Award

Michael Halebian & Co. (MHCO) has received the Kahrs Distributor of the Year award for 2015. This is MHCO’s 5th consecutive year gaining this honor and is given to the distributor that produces the most volume percentage of growth, most gross margin and the top performer by far. MHCO is one of the largest Kahrs distributors in the U.S.

Sean Swanson, president of Kahrs, North and South American market, said, “In another strong team effort, the Michael Halebian Company achieved the distributor of the year award for 2015. MHCO continued their aggressive approach from 2014, in both the commercial and retail segments and has shown substantial growth over last year.”

“Together we continue to set goals in the retail and commercial arenas that we consistently surpass,” said Michael Halebian, Jr., president of MHCO. “Kahrs not only produces a superior product but follows it up with stellar service and technological support which our clientele has grown to rely upon. We continue to look forward and maximize market share within our footprint.”

For more, call (800) 631-4115 or visit michaelhalebian.com.

Mohawk Announces LVT Expansion Plans

CALHOUN, GA.—This year, investments in North America and Europe will double Mohawk’s worldwide luxury vinyl tile (LVT) production capacity and add new product capabilities, according to the company.

In 2015, Mohawk’s acquisition of IVC added manufacturing capabilities in both sheet vinyl and LVT in North America and Europe, including a production line in Dalton. Mohawk is investing again on both continents to expand capacity in both flexible LVT and rigid LVT (WPC) products.

To support the increased consumer demand for LVT, Mohawk is investing in two new LVT facilities, one to support North American market growth and one to extend the company’s leadership in the European market. These new facilities will include unique capabilities to manufacture both flexible and rigid LVT products for residential and commercial applications.

According to the company, Mohawk will invest about $200 million in these facilities this year and 2017 with production anticipated to begin during the second half of 2017.

For more, call (800) 266-4295 or visit mohawkflooring.com.

Gould Named Executive VP, COO of Interface

ATLANTA—Jay Gould has been named executive vice president and COO of Interface. In this role, Gould will oversee Interface’s global operations, marketing and organizational development for the carpet tile manufacturing company that is a recognized leader in sustainability worldwide.

“Jay’s proven track record of creating value for some of the most successful international corporations in the world drew us to him; however, it is his focus on the power of purpose that makes him the right fit for Interface,” said Daniel Hendrix, chairman and CEO of Interface. “Jay will help us design a future for our company that builds on our legacy and that maximizes our potential to be a high-performing organization while also fulfilling our mission of being environmentally and socially progressive.”

Before joining Interface, Gould was CEO of American Standard Brands, where he re-energized the 138-year-old brand and steered the struggling kitchen and bath products company back on track in terms of profitability, innovation and brand stewardship. Prior to American Standard, Gould held senior executive roles at Newell Rubbermaid, Campbell Soup Co. and The Coca-Cola Co.

For more, call (800) 634-6032 or visit interface.com.

In Memoriam: Retailer Joseph ‘Red’ Marron

DALTON—Flooring retailer Joseph E. Marron has passed away at the age of 82. Known to many as “Red,” Marron joined the industry in 1963.

At the age of 45, he became president of the Western Floor Covering Association. The following year, he became chairman of the association’s board.

In addition to his dedicated years in the flooring business, Marron served with distinction in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Following his career in flooring, Marron retired in Mimbres, N.M.

Marron is survived by his daughter, Amy Marron Rakoczy and her husband, Joe, of Colleyville, Texas. He is also survived by his brother, Mike Marron and his wife, Bonnie.

A tribute wall for Marron can be found at lucasfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/Joseph-E-Red-Marron/#!/TributeWall.

U.S. Flooring Distributors to Visit DOMOTEX asia/CHINAFLOOR

SHANGHAI, CHINA—DOMOTEX asia/CHINAFLOOR will host its first North American distributor delegation during the week of its 18th edition, taking place March 22-24, in Shanghai, China.

Delegates will meet with peers from China and Asia, preview new products and technologies, tour manufacturing sites and learn about conducting business with Asian partners.

Pre-arranged visits to production facilities of leading flooring manufacturers located near Shanghai will give delegates an important introduction to China’s manufacturing and business practices.

“Chinese manufacturers make fabulous products at excellent values, but business is conducted in a different manner in Asia. It is important to see the facilities, meet the people, clarify expectations and avoid misunderstandings,” explains Jim Gould, president of the Floor Covering Institute. “Costly mistakes can be made if the details are not talked through to achieve a true meeting of the minds.”

Some delegates include Hoy Lanning, senior vice president, JJ Haines; Steve Rosenthal, senior vice president, sales and marketing, All Tile; Theodore Gillgrist, vice president of purchasing, William M. Bird & Co., and Michael Martin, president and CEO, NWFA.

The delegation was assembled with the cooperation of the Floor Covering Institute LLC, Floor Covering Weekly and the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD). This will be the first trip to China for many of the delegates.

For more, call (86) 21-61956088 or visit domotexasiachinafloor.com.

WFCA, CFI Announce Training Facility Classes in Texas

DALLAS—Beginning in February 2016, the CFI Training Facility based in Forney, Texas, just outside of Dallas, commenced training a fresh cadre of students in its new proprietary residential carpet installation course. The class, which is only offered at the CFI school, turns out certified installation graduates ready to begin work immediately in a record five-week timeframe, the organization said.

The five-week CFI Residential Carpet class, renowned for its efficiency to take new students and turn them into accredited professionals at an accelerated pace, has never been available before on a continual basis.

Interested students do not need any previous installation experience to attend the class. The course offers a comprehensive line-up of all the technical aspects required of basic residential carpet installation. In addition to the accelerated carpet class, the school also offers long and short-term training programs in every flooring product category for students at all levels.

Though only open for a few months, the new CFI Training School is drawing students from across the globe.

For more, call (800) 624-6880 or visit cfiinstallers.org/school.html.

Interface Expands ReEntry Program

LAGRANGE, GA.—Building on the success of its ReEntry recycling operation, Interface is creating a new network of regional recycling allies. First among them is Oakland, Calif.–based Rethink Green, and this initial alliance is expected to increase the amount of carpet that is annually recycled for use by Interface by 40 to 50%.

Since its founding in 2011 by entrepreneur Carter Hallock, Rethink Green has recycled more than 10,000 tons of carpet, and it recently acquired machinery for separating backing from carpet tile.

Hallock projects that by the end of 2016, Rethink Green’s output will be 1,000 tons a month. The company covers a territory that encompasses not only all of California but much of western America including Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Washington.

According to Eric Nelson, vice president of strategic alliances, Interface Americas , the search for additional allies is underway, with a goal to establish a network of carpet tile recyclers so that overall recycling increases significantly each year and, ultimately, Interface is manufacturing in North America using 100% recycled or bio-based inputs by 2020.

For more, call (800) 634-6032 or visit interface.com

Engineered Floors Announces Merger with J&J Industries

DALTON—Engineered Floors and J&J Industries have announced a company merger.

“J&J Industries has, for more than 60 years, demonstrated strong support for northwest Georgia, while producing commercial carpets of outstanding quality,” said Robert Shaw, chairman of Engineered Floors. “They are a perfect fit to complement our residential-focused manufacturing business, and as such, we plan for J&J to operate as a separate, commercial division of our company.”

Engineered Floors and J&J are both family-owned businesses with similar values of commitment to their employees, their customers and their community.

For more, call (855) 343-5667 or visit engineeredfloorsllc.com.

Missouri Hardwood Earns NWFA/NOFMA Certification

ST. LOUIS—The National Wood Flooring Association has announced that Missouri Hardwood, in Birch Tree, Mo., has earned the NWFA/NOFMA Mill Certification.

The company, which has been in business since 1911, manufactures ¾-inch solid flooring in widths ranging from 2¼- to 5-inches. It specializes in native Missouri species, including red oak, white oak, hickory and walnut.

The NWFA/NOFMA certification shows that a manufacturer’s wood flooring meets or exceeds the industry standards for grade, configuration, moisture content and average board length. Certified mills are inspected a minimum of two times per year to ensure consistent grade standards are met.

For more, call (800) 422-4556 or visit nwfa.org.

WFCA Joins Forces with fcB2B

DALTON—The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has partnered with the Floor Covering Business to Business Association (fcB2B) to make fcB2B’s digital business model a reality for the flooring industry. FcB2B has existed since 2000, and WFCA has been an avid supporter of the organization from both a visionary standpoint and in a financial capacity since its inception.

Over the past 15 years its team members have assembled and worked tirelessly to create a seamless digital program for the flooring industry. Once that model gains wide acceptance across the industry, the execution of transactions and the overall pace of doing business will be streamlined and new efficiencies will become the norm, the WFCA noted.

As part of the arrangement, WFCA will be covering the costs of a ful- time executive director for fcB2B.

For more, call (800) 624-6880 or visit wfca.org.

Tarkett Expands Suzanne Tick Partnership

SOLON, OHIO—Tarkett has announced a strategic partnership with design consultants Suzanne Tick Inc. (STI), as an expansion of the current collaboration between the design firm and Tandus Centiva, a Tarkett company.

Founded by designer Suzanne Tick, STI will play an integral role in the future of design and vision at Tarkett, contributing to both the commercial and residential business in product development, thought leadership and marketing, according to the company.

STI specializes in material brand strategy and product development for commercial interiors. Tick is known for her intelligent and enthusiastic approach to design, drawing inspiration from her hand-weaving practice.

Visit tarkettna.com for more.

Shaw to Supply Anderson Hardwood in Midwest

DALTON—Shaw Floors has announced plans to directly supply Anderson Hardwood products to retail customers in the Midwest U.S.

Effective immediately, retailers in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin will now purchase Anderson Hardwood through their Shaw hard surface sales representative.

“Anderson has been a trusted brand in hardwood flooring since 1946 and that won’t change,” said Jeff Sills, executive vice president, hard surface sales. “We are more than prepared to service our Midwest customers with ample inventory levels and the quality of support you’ve come to expect from Shaw. We thank Herregan Distributors for their many years of distributing the Anderson product line and look forward to now servicing our Midwest retail customers through the Shaw hard surfaces sales organization.”

For more, call (800) 742-9872 or visit shawfloors.com.

Swiss Krono Group to Expand Barnwell County Operations

COLUMBIA, S.C.—Swiss Krono Group and its American subsidiary, KronotexUSA Holdings, have announced plans to expand existing operations in Barnwell County, S.C.

The company is investing $230 million to build a high-density fiberboard (HDF) mill and expand its laminate flooring production, creating 105 new jobs over the next few years.

Headquartered in Switzerland, Swiss Krono Group’s origins can be traced back to 1966. Today, with facilities in France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the U.S., the company employs more than 4,500 workers worldwide.

Preliminary engineering has been completed and construction is expected to start by mid-2016, with HDF operations to begin by the summer of 2018. Once completed, this expansion will increase KronotexUSA’s Barnwell County’s workforce to 275 employees, according to the company.

For more, call (866) 334-9923 or visit krono.com or kronotexusa.com.

Crossville Acquires Denver-based Distributorship

CROSSVILLE, TENN.—Officials with Crossville, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Curran Group, have announced the company’s acquisition of all assets belonging to Design Materials Inc. (DMI), a distribution business headquartered in Denver.

Design Materials joins recently acquired CAPCO to strengthen Crossville’s position in the market. Operations will be folded into the existing company-owned distribution arm, Crossville Tile & Stone (CT&S). This will provide CT&S locations in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.

Greg Mather, president of Crossville, stated, “The acquisition of Design Materials and previously announced CAPCO acquisition provides us the scale to grow the Crossville brand in Colorado and New Mexico. As a partner of DMI’s for many years, we well know the strengths of the team at Design Materials and look forward to continued success with the operation.”

For more, call (931) 484-2110 or visit crossvilleinc.com.

HomerWood Launches HomerWood University

TITUSVILLE, PA—HomerWood Premium Hardwood has launched HomerWood University with a curriculum that focuses on “teaching retailers to sell premium products in the new economy.”

“The idea that consumers are only interested in the lowest price is a misconception and is all too prevalent in our industry today,” said Paul Walker, general manager, HomerWood. “Making this assumption and leading the sales process in this direction does a disservice to the consumer and arbitrarily limits their choice. The decision to choose a hardwood floor for their home is an emotional one for a consumer, and from the outset they have a vision and want a retail experience that keeps this vision in the forefront of the process. It is about value and not price, and it is important to recognize and embrace this.”

HomerWood University is facilitated by John Neugent, a longtime industry professional and student of successful selling at retail. Neugent is also a HomerWood regional manager and company educator.

For more, call (678) 343-0179 or visit homerwood.com.

Editor’s note: For complete coverage of these and other industry news stories, visit our website at floortrendsmag.com, where you can also sign up for a free subscription to our daily enewsletter, TalkFloor.