Monday, July 28, 2014
Don Carlisle Founds New Wide Plank Company
Don Carlisle, once the founder of Carlisle Restoration Lumber and Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring, has formed a new wide plank flooring company with three partners. The business is called William & Henry Wide Plank Floors.
Carlisle said it was not until last year when he started to reconnect with sawyers, craftsmen and mill owners to begin planning the company. Carlisle also employed a few colleagues, including Peter Switzer, Heidi Carlisle, Crystal Knowles, Laura Leier and Leslie Bentley.
Products at William & Henry include wide plank heart pine and reclaimed oak, as well as black cherry and northern hickory.
“I created William & Henry, which is named after my youngest son, so we can go back to the days of working with one customer at a time, getting to know each family’s needs and vision, and then custom craft every floor by hand,” Carlisle said in a statement. “The satisfaction of achieving this for our customers is enormous and it is what drives us every day at William & Henry.”
Although the company has a website, customers won't be able to purchase product online.
“We want the phone call," Carlisle said. "We want the conversation with the customer so that we can give them a floor that is like no other floor."
Teragren Adds Aaron Cline to Tech Team
Teragren (Bainbridge Island, Wash) added 20-year-flooring veteran Aaron Cline to its technical support team as technical manager.
Cline will be involved with all stages of Teragren products, from concept to retirement, under the leadership of Vice President of Operations Tom Goodham.
“[W]e know that ultimately customer satisfaction depends on the knowledge and execution of the flooring installer, and that’s why we’ve brought on Aaron… to provide easily accessible resources and expert knowledge to our industry partners," Goodham said in a statement.
Mullican Flooring Hires Marketing Manager From Within
Mullican Flooring (Johnson City, Tenn.) promoted Amber Oaks to marketing manager.
Oaks joined Mullican in 2012 as marketing and claims coordinator. In her new role, she will be responsible for oversight of market research and strategic planning, as well as the design elements for company merchandising, website development and marketing materials.
“Amber has been an asset to Mullican Flooring from the beginning,” said Brian Greenwell, Mullican’s vice president of sales and marketing, in a statement. “We are privileged to have her play such a key role in our organization.”
New Formaldehyde Lawsuit Filed Against Lumber Liquidators
Lumber Liquidators has been sued again over allegations that its product, this time its laminate flooring, from China emits formaldehyde levels well above the level requiring package labels in the state of California.
The lawsuit, filed by environmental advocacy group Global Community Monitor, says the plaintiff conducted more than 50 tests of Lumber Liquidators' Chinese-made laminate flooring. The results showed average initial formaldehyde exposures to be more than 100 times the amount allowed to be sold without a warning label under California's toxics law, Proposition 65.
"The levels of formaldehyde our tests found in Lumber Liquidators' laminate flooring are astounding and alarming," said Denny Larson, executive director of Global Community Monitor, in a statement. "It's unconscionable that Lumber Liquidators would sell this product to customers to install in their homes without informing families of the potential health risks involved, especially since they make a point of bragging about how environmentally safe it is."
Lumber Liquidators released a statement that said the allegations are "simply flat-out false."
"Our product meets relevant environmental standards and undergoes rigorous, independent, third-party testing. More specifically, our internal testing and that conducted by third parties concluded that product levels fell well below the Proposition 65 'safe harbor' limits.
"In addition to providing safe, high-quality products, we are transparent about our quality control and assurance processes – for our California customers, we provide Proposition 65 notices on customer invoices and in-store signage," the statement continues.
"In short, all of our flooring meets the highest quality and environmental standards – that's why we sell it, that's why we use it in our own homes, and that's why we are a market leader. We will not let factually inaccurate and legally flawed lawsuits filed by a party with a clear financial motive influence our approach to our business or our customers."
The lawsuit is one of five filed against Lumber Liquidators since fall. Of the three lawsuits related to formaldehyde emissions, one has been dismissed.
Armstrong To Close China Plant, Move Operations to America
Armstrong World Industries is closing its scraped engineered hardwood flooring facility in Kunshun, China, and moving the operation to Somerset, Ky.
While the plant in Kunshun has performed well, Armstrong believes it will save on costs and improve service by moving the operations to the United States, according to a statement.
"With the increasing cost of freight and labor in China, it just makes sense to move our production here where we actually sell the product," said Armstrong Flooring CEO Tom Mangas in a statement. "This helps us offset raw material cost inflation, and at the same time, we eliminate several months in lead time, and we improve our response to design trends and service requirements."
The company has been investing in people and processes at the Somerset facility for 18 months. Already, 20 jobs have been created at the facility, and Armstrong could add another 80 jobs when the transition is complete.
Production in Kunshan will end September 30. Armstrong will begin by transitioning its Frontier Hickory product line first, followed by Century Farm, Rural Living and Legacy Manor.
Armstrong Q2 Profits Far Below 2013 Results
Armstrong World Industries' second quarter results show that the company's profit for the second quarter was $21 million, a 31.4 percent drop from the same quarter in 2013.
Sales saw a slight increase of 0.5 percent. Operating income decreased 14.5 percent and diluted earnings per share dropped 25.5 percent versus the same period last year.
Armstrong said manufacturing and input costs increased, driven by rising lumber costs and the margin impact of lower volumes. The company's second quarter results, it said, were also impacted by approximately $8 million for severance and other charges associated with its decision to close two manufacturing plants abroad.
The company's wood flooring division had net sales of $139.4 in the second quarter in 2014, but operating income showed a loss of $5.1 million. In the second quarter of 2013, net sales were $138.2 million and operating income was at $2.5 million.
New-Home Sales Drop After Impressive May
New single-family home sales fell 8.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000 units in June, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
"The numbers are a little disappointing, but May was unusually high and some pull back isn't completely unexpected," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, in a statement. "Our surveys show that builders are confident about the future, and we are still seeing a gradual upward trajectory in housing demand."
Sales fell 20 percent in the Northeast, 9.5 percent in the South, 8.2 percent in the Midwest and 1.9 percent in the West.
Another Quarter Above 50, Remodeler Confidence Returning
The Remodeling Market Index rose three points to 56 in the second quarter of 2014, the fifth consecutive quarter with an RMI above 50, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
An RMI above 50 means more remodelers report higher activity compared to the prior quarter.
"With many homeowners on better financial footing, home remodeling has become more popular," said NAHB Remodelers Chair Paul Sullivan in a statement. "The completion of postponed work has helped remodelers in all regions regain confidence in the remodeling market."
Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show home improvement market grew 5.6 percent in 2013. The Remodeling Futures Program, a part of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, projects annual gains in home improvement spending of 9.9 percent in 2014.
However, growth is predicted to slow to 7.0 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
“With the economy improving slower than expected and home sales struggling to keep up with last year’s pace, the recent strong gains in remodeling spending will likely moderate later this year,” Chris Herbert, research director at the Joint Center, said in a statement.
Existing-Home Sales, Inventory Rise in June
Existing-home sales in June reached an annual pace of 5 million for the first time since October 2013, and rising inventory continues to push overall supply toward a more balanced market, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales went up 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in June from 4.91 million in May. Sales, at the highest pace since October, are still 2.3 percent below where they were a year ago.
Total housing inventory in June rose 2.2 percent to 2.30 million existing homes available for sale, or a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 6.5 percent higher than a year ago.
Ultimately, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement, housing "fundamentals" are moving in a good direction.
“Inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country. This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices,” he said.
The NAR's statement shared more housing market figures:
- Single-family home sales rose 2.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million in June, up from 4.32 million in May.
- The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $223,000.
- Distressed homes accounted for 11 percent of June sales, down from 15 last year.
- The percent share of first-time buyers continues to underperform historically.
HF Briefs: Register for Surfaces East; Sales Agents Wanted
Attendee registration for The International Surface Event East at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Fla., Oct. 19–22, is open. Online registration is available at TISEeast.com.
Registration for the 2014 NAFCD + NMBDA Annual Convention is now open. The convention takes place Nov. 18–20 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas. Attendees registering before Sept. 16 save $100. Register online at DistributorConvention.org.
An exotic hardwood manufacturer is looking for sales agents in a variety of states to sell direct to retail stores. States include Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. See the ad in the HF Classifieds for more information.
Aurora Hardwood West seeks an experienced salesman or sales agent with an established customer base in the Western United States. See the ad in the HF Classifieds for more information.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
'Green' Coatings Company Enters Flooring Market
Hybrid Coating Technologies Inc. (HTC) is entering the wood protection coatings market with a new polyurethane patent that increased its coating's elongation by 300 percent.
HTC is currently the exclusive licensee of Green Polyurethane coatings and paint, which eliminates a toxic chemical in conventional polyurethanes called isocyanates from the entire production process, the company said in a statement.
A number of state and national organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and California's Department of Toxic Substances Control, are considering banning isocyanates due to the harmful effects it has on workers exposed to the chemical through their occupations.
Mohawk Shares EPDs With GreenWizard Software
Mohawk Industries (Dallas) is partnering with product management software company GreenWizard Inc. to promote product transparency—a priority of sustainable building ratings systems.
Mohawk has the "largest and most varied" selection of flooring products with environmental product declarations, health product declarations and declare labels, it said in a statement. The company would give all that information to GreenWizard, which would upload the information to its softare platform.
“We love that architects, designers and building construction professionals can locate any Mohawk product in a few clicks using GreenWizard’s powerful search tool, whether it be a selection from our extensive list of more than 120 red list free Declared products, as well as products with HPDs or EPDs," said Rochelle Routman, director of sustainability at Mohawk.
The companies' partnership, given the green-themed named Emerald, will last three years.
NAFCD Seeks Lifetime, Leadership Award Nominees
The National Association for Floor Covering Distributors is accepting nomination submissions for the 2014 NAFCD Leadership in Action and Lifetime Achievement awards.
“NAFCD is pleased to offer two highly valued opportunities for leaders in the floor covering industry,” said George Roth, former NAFCD president, in a statement. “I encourage members to take advantage of these honors and consider recognizing a qualified candidate with one of the two NAFCD awards.”
The Leadership in Action award recognizes people for the positive and meaningful contributions they've made to their company.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is for exception leadership or outstanding contributions that have expanded the industry's vision. Recipients do not need to be a NAFCD member.
Submissions are accepted through Sept. 1. The award winners will be announced at the 2014 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention, taking place Nov. 18–20 in Dallas.
Learn more about how to submit at NAFCD.org.
UFloor Picks Lanham to Distribute in Three States
UFloor Systems Inc. (Aurora, Colo.) has a new distribution partner. The company said in a statement that Lanham Hardwood Flooring Co. will distribute its products in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
Lanham will distribute Pallmann's Hardwood Complete range of wood flooring products in its Indianapolis, Louisville and West Chester, Ohio, branch locations.
"Contractors in these regions have been telling us that Lanham is their distributor of choice when we asked them who they would like to purchase from," said Mark Weglowski, brand manager for Pallmann, in a statement.
Bostik Demos At Intermountain's SLC Grand Re-Opening
Intermountain Wood Flooring held a grand re-opening of its Salt Lake City distribution center last week with help from its long-time adhesive and sealant supplier, Waukesha, Wis.-based Bostik Inc.
"We wanted our customers and premier vendors, people we view as business partners, to be part of our excitement," said Ron Winterton, Intermountain's director of marketing, in a statement. "Our 'Grand Re-Opening' provided just another reason for Intermountain to get these good people together and in doing so… share valuable information with each other!"
Bostik Inc.'s Territory Sales Manager James Allred gave a demonstration of the company's latest wood flooring products, including the adhesives GreenForce and Ultra-Set SingleStep2.
Other industry players based in the northwestern United States, like Utah's largest flooring dealer R.C. Willey, were also in attendance.
HF Briefs: Installers and Finishers Wanted
A wood flooring business in southern California is looking for installers and finishers. Pay is dependent upon experience. For more information, see the HF Classifieds.
Zvara Custom Wood Floors in Washington is looking to hire someone with sanding and finishing experience. See the HF Classifieds ad for contact information.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Report: Middle-Market Distributors Report Sales Boost
Almost three-fourths of distributors reported an increase in sales during the last 12 months, according to a report from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.
The numbers should continue to grow, too, with 91 percent of distributors surveyed expecting to increase sales an average of 8.9 percent in the coming year.
The report, which focused on companies with revenues between $100 million and $3 billion per year, also showed that 39 percent of distributors said they are thriving in 2014, compared with 32 percent a year ago. Two-third of distributors expect to add jobs in the United States throughout next year.
The distributors cited competition and government regulations as chief among impediments to growth. With respect to government regulations, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act was the most commonly cited limiting factor (69 percent), the report showed. State taxes were also identified as potential threats (61 percent).
Download the report here.
NWFA Members Volunteer With Nurses for Newborns
Four National Wood Flooring Association members volunteered their time and expertise recently to install a wood floor for Nurses for Newborns, a nonprofit that provides at-risk families with education, healthcare and parenting skills.
The member volunteers were Nick Motto and Trever Carson of Motto’s Flooring (O’Fallon, Mo.); Mathew Young of Craftsman Flooring (Victoria, Australia); and Dustin Tunstall of Tunstall Flooring (Port Allen, La.). The flooring was donated by NWFA member Mannington Mills (Salem, N.J.).
“We are incredibly grateful for members of our community to contribute this magnificent floor,” said Demetria Jackson, administrative and community engagement specialist at Nurses for Newborns, in a statement. “To receive such a tangible gift we never could afford on our own, and one that allows us to improve our environment while still focusing our resources on programs for the community we serve is extremely valuable to us.”
The NWFA member volunteers were joined by other volunteers from the wood flooring industry, including Local Floor Layers 1310's Paul Fromme, Dave Vanderpool and Dustin Mueller.
NWFA Intermediate Training in Chicago With New Format
The National Wood Flooring Association's Intermediate Installation and Intermediate Sand & Finish will be held at E.J Welch Company's Chicago location in August.
Kjell Nymark of Nymark Custom Wood Floors (Coquitlam, Canada) will present Intermediate Installation on Aug. 5–8, and Daniel Boone of Daniel Boone WFT Inc. (Jacksonville, Fla.) will present Intermediate Sand & Finish on Aug. 12–15.
The four-day schools will be in the same format of the Intermediate courses at NWFA headquarters in June, which were attended by more than 40 students. The new four-day course format allows instructors to cover more topics and in-depth techniques.
For a list of topics and information on how to register, visit the Technical Education Schedule.
South's Housing Start Decline Pulls Down National Rate
Nationwide housing starts fell 9.3 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000 units. The drop, according to the National Association of Home Builders, was caused by a nearly 30 percent decline in the South.
Despite the crash, all other regions posted monthly gains. Combined single- and multifamily house production in the Northeast, the Midwest and the West rose 14.1 percent, 28.1 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. Production in the South fell 29.6 percent.
"Take away the South and nationwide housing starts would have been in positive territory this month," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a statement. "This sharp regional decline could be due in part to lots and labor shortages, which are particularly acute in that part of the country. However, the general direction of housing production is trending upward, and we expect 2014 to be a positive year."
Nationally, single-family housing starts decreased 9 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 575,000 units and multifamily production fell 9.9 percent to 318,000 units.
Building permit issuance saw a 4.2 percent decline to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 963,000. Multifamily permits dropped 14.9 percent to 332,000 units and single-family permits increased 2.6 percent to 631,000 units.
"A modest 2.6 percent increase in single-family permits falls in line with the general optimism that we are hearing from our builders," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the NAHB.