Rigid core newbies stake their claim

By Megan Salzano Solid core floors has grown by leaps and bounds and has taken the whole resilient category. Both SPC and WPC flooring products participate from most of the other categories and as such suppliers are entering the sphere to participate in the promotion.

Here, FCNews highlights the new entrants to the rigid core market and what they believe is their competitive advantage. Whether it’s product design, go-to-market strategy or a combination of both, these “new kids on the block” prove themselves in a category dominated by experienced suppliers.

AHF products – Gain experience first

AHF Products launched its first residential resilient products in 2020 under the Bruce, Hartco and Robbins brands. “No matter which segment our retailers target, AHF Products has the partnerships, products and sales tools to help customers expand sales,” said Wendy Booker, vice president of marketing and new product development. “We build our business by really listening to our customers and we are agile enough to respond very quickly and specifically to the needs of the market.”

To that end, AHF said it considers it an advantage not to be a manufacturer of one product. Its strong legacy in solid and machined wood products provides a fresh, customer-centric perspective, based on a combination of design and functions that consumers want.

AxisCor Performance Flooring – Putting the supply chain first

AxisCor entered the rigid core category two years ago and from day one it prioritized inventory for its customers. “We had a million square feet of warehouse space before we ever signed our first distributor,” said Art Layton, specialty products director. “We thought it was very important to have the product there so that our partners could take a leap of faith with us. It was not something they had to wait six months for. “

The ability to have a product when you need it is critical. Over the past year, AxisCor – and the rest of the industry – discovered just how big a supply shortage can be. “It really hurt the shopkeeper,” he said. “We have a huge advantage having a supply chain that works really well, and back then the backup inventory was a one-two combination that really helped – and still helps our customers.”

The Dixie Group – Forming the right mix

The Dixie Group’s TruCor brand has been in business for two years now and has consistently expanded its market share. Jamann Stepp, vice president of hard surface, said the goal of the rigid-core company was to market a product with trendy, designer-focused fashion products that didn’t depend on price like many rigid core brands today. to do. To this end, the company has launched two unique programs: 3DP and IGT.

TruCor Tile IGT (Integrated Grout Technology) is a tile visual with the grout line built into the locking system. TruCor 3DP uses digital printing technology to deliver sharp, realistic images with virtually no pattern repeat. The company will launch 3DP in wood plank and brick visuals in the second quarter of 2021.

Inhaus – Taking visuals to the next level

When Inhaus saw the rigid core trend emerging – and viewed it as a threat to its laminate business – Inhaus began to develop its own resilient floors. A new approach has been created from scratch, including core, decor layers and surface finish. “Much of this was really the industry’s first innovation, and perhaps one of the most exciting things is that there is a tremendous amount of innovation left with this technology,” said Derek Welbourn, CEO. “We’re really just scratching the surface (apologies for the pun).”

Today, the company’s Sono Eclipse is a new approach to hard core flooring. Sono’s unique benefits are threefold: image, technical performance and health. The main competitive advantage of the product is its visuals. Digital Printed Decors represent the ultimate definition of color and design with one in 18 plank repeats, while Digital Printed Textures is a form of 3D printing with in-register relief designs. The surface finish is a UV-cured lacquer, similar to what is used on premium hardwoods.

Lions Floor – Paving the way with service, quality

Lions Floor focuses on three essential elements as a favorable supplier to its audience: customer service, product quality and inventory.

Customer service is paramount to Lions Floor, and the company’s team takes pride in being always on hand to meet the immediate needs of its customers. The following is product design and performance. The company’s resilient products have proven themselves in the marketplace and keep things fresh, new and exciting for retailers and distributors. Finally, Lions Floor prioritizes inventory in serving its customers – a valuable asset in today’s market. It paves a safe path for the company’s revenue growth, allowing customers to rest assured that most colors are in stock and available.

MSI – Making dream surfaces achievable

The advantage of MSI is the total MSI approach. It all starts with the philosophy of “Making Dream Surfaces Achievable”, which means that consumers provide high quality products through their dealer network. “The philosophy of high value is continued in providing high quality, trendy designs in high quality products at extremely competitive prices with a wide range of services,” said Alan Smith, director of business development.

With regard to the total MSI approach, it starts with determining the right product specifications, adding trendy ranges developed by the in-house design team, adding merchandising systems and samples, nationwide distribution and a deep commitment to inventory – all backed by a world-class supply chain team.

Quickstyle – Waterproofing at a higher level

Quickstyle Industries specializes in innovation, product quality and customer service. It is this formula that positions the company as the market leader in the current market.

First and foremost, the company’s TrueGrout technology helps set it apart from the competition. The unique, patented system produces realistic looking grout lines for all WPC and SPC products in planks and tiles, along with waterproofing. “TrueGrout is a breakthrough in the hard floors industry because it brings the beauty of ceramic tile and wood plank floors with the 100% waterproof element and a simple snap-lock system,” said Nadia Villa, Marketing Specialist. TrueGrout’s waterproof nature means it can be installed in almost any environment.

Stanton – Building on a great reputation

Stanton is a brand born of unique decorative carpets, rugs and runners. Waterproof floors are a natural development of the brand. Now the company has applied its 40 years of styling experience to the rigid core segment. “Stanton was able to bring its excellent service, reputation for inventory and reliability, and dedicated sales force to the hard surfaces segment,” said John Rocconi, hard surfaces director.

The brand’s initial launch consisted of 24 colors, all designed with premium style in mind. This year, the company is more than doubling its offering with 30 new colors. “What really sets us apart are the images,” said Rocconi. “From our edgy black and white collection to our modern hickory colors, we have something for everyone.”

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