Dealer Interview Part 2: America's Floor Source

AFSLogo_stackedToday’s post is a follow up to yesterday’s interview with Bethany Warner, Director of Marketing for America’s Floor Source. Yesterday, we learned a little about her business and today she talks about some of her personal favorites and trends.

Bethany, thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

Shannon: What is your personal favorite type of flooring? Why?

Bethany: My favorite type is frieze carpet.  I love its comfort and style and the fact that it hides footprints and sweeper marks.   Another favorite is hand scraped hardwood.  The antiquity of the look is really appealing.  Armstrong’s Century Farm Collection is really quite nice.

What is your personal favorite product, currently? Why?

Bethany: It’s really hard to choose just one.

Shannon: What color trends do you see in your market?

Bethany: Neutral colors have always been popular in carpet.  They allow customer to change their room’s décor easily without having to completely replace the carpet.

Shannon: What product and color trends do you see in the future?

Bethany: I think the “green” products, which are gradually becoming more popular will continue to increase popularity.  Products like Costa Real and Skyline from Shaw have great green stories.

Shannon: What is the question most frequently asked by your customers?

Bethany: Our customers commonly ask care and maintenance questions.  Because customers are making an investment in their home with new flooring, they are interested in proper maintenance to keep their floors looking newer longer.  That is why we offer Warranty and Maintenance information at various places on our website.

Dealer Interview Part 2: America's Floor Source

AFSLogo_stackedToday’s post is a follow up to yesterday’s interview with Bethany Warner, Director of Marketing for America’s Floor Source. Yesterday, we learned a little about her business and today she talks about some of her personal favorites and trends.

Bethany, thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

Shannon: What is your personal favorite type of flooring? Why?

Bethany: My favorite type is frieze carpet.  I love its comfort and style and the fact that it hides footprints and sweeper marks.   Another favorite is hand scraped hardwood.  The antiquity of the look is really appealing.  Armstrong’s Century Farm Collection is really quite nice.

What is your personal favorite product, currently? Why?

Bethany: It’s really hard to choose just one.

Shannon: What color trends do you see in your market?

Bethany: Neutral colors have always been popular in carpet.  They allow customer to change their room’s décor easily without having to completely replace the carpet.

Shannon: What product and color trends do you see in the future?

Bethany: I think the “green” products, which are gradually becoming more popular will continue to increase popularity.  Products like Costa Real and Skyline from Shaw have great green stories.

Shannon: What is the question most frequently asked by your customers?

Bethany: Our customers commonly ask care and maintenance questions.  Because customers are making an investment in their home with new flooring, they are interested in proper maintenance to keep their floors looking newer longer.  That is why we offer Warranty and Maintenance information at various places on our website.

Dealer Interview Part 1: Americas Floor Source

AFSLogo_stackedToday’s post is part one of  dealer interview with Bethany Warner, Director of Marketing of America’s Floor Source where she talks a little bit about her company. Tomorrow’s post reveals some of Bethany’s personal favorites and her views on upcoming trends.

Bethany, thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers learn and understand more about your business!

Shannon: First, tell me a little about your business.

Bethany: America’s Floor Source began in the summer of 2000 in a small warehouse on the east side of Columbus, Ohio.  Since then, the company has grown to a 50,000 sq ft facility with a 14,000 sq ft showroom located near the Port Columbus International Airport.  Recently in the summer of 2009, America’s Floor Source opened operations in two other cities: Dayton/ Cincinnati, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana.

We have built our reputation and business on supplying homebuilders, homeowners, building superintendents, property managers, landlords and designers with a variety of flooring products, window treatments and area rugs.

America’s Floor Source sells, delivers and installs more than just flooring products.  We sell confidence.  We deliver professionalism.  And we install satisfaction.

Shannon: What sets your business apart from others in the industry?

Bethany: People: Professionalism, reliability and responsiveness are all characteristics of the people we employ.  Additionally, all of our sales people are career flooring professionals.  A few of us even grew up in the business. Price: We are confident that if you judge our prices and services against those of our competitors, you will always choose us.  That is why we never private label any of our products, allowing you to compare us apples-to-apples with anyone else in the industry. Service: Our commitment to service cannot be touched by our competitors.  For example, we have created a series of self-inspection tools that we use before, during, and after installation to ensure every job gets done correctly on time, the first time.  Another unique part of our service package is that we perform a moisture test before installation any hardwood floors.  If the moisture levels are too high, we notify superintendents immediately so the situation can be resolved prior to installation.  And once the floors are installed, we leave a bottle of the manufactures recommended floor cleaner at the home. Communication: We know that to best satisfy our customers, we need to constantly communicate.  That is why a real person answers our phones, and also why we give customers the cell phone number of their account manager.

Shannon: What product category is most popular for your customers?

Bethany: America’s Floor Source is comprised of five divisions at this time:  Homebuilder, Property Management, Commercial Construction, Wholesale, and Retail.  Because each of these customers has different needs, different products excel.

Shannon: If you could get one point across to flooring customers in your market or offer one piece of advice about purchasing flooring, what would it be?

Bethany: Take your time to choose the right selections for you and your home.  Most homeowners are in a hurry to make a change and make it quickly.  Keep in mind that what ever selection you choose, you have to live with for a while.

Shannon:What tool do you find most useful on your website?


Bethany:
Customers love the virtual room designer.  It provides them with the opportunity to either use the pre-uploaded images or upload an image from their own home and view what carpet styles will look like in “real life.”  This helps customer’s too choose certain styles, textures, or patterns and eliminate flooring products they were considering before using the Virtual Room Designer.

Did Ricko the Rhino Destroy the Smart Strand Carpet?

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The SmartStrand challenge ended Friday. The carpet was cleaned with Mohawk Floor Care Products and it was a SUCCESS! The carpet was able to be 100% cleaned. Look for upcoming newspaper ads and TV commercials to show you how you can take advantage of SmartStrand carpet for your home!

Today on Floor Daily with Kemp Harr, David Duncan, VP of Residential Marketing, and Bart Rich, Brand Manager of Soft Surfaces, discuss how Mohawk’s SmartStrand carpet performed after 14 days in the Rhino habitat of the Birmingham Zoo. Listen to the interview to hear more about the results and how Mohawk plans to tie this in with dealers and consumers. To listen, click here: Smart Strand Challenge

Are you a fan of Ricko’s on Facebook? Did you follow along on his webcam? Did you follow along with the SmartStrand Challenge? Did you ever think the carpet would survive? Tell us how you were involved in the SmartStrand Challenge!

Interview with Kelly Morisseau from Kitchen Sync

porcelain-tile-with-two-colorsThe author of the popular Kitchen Sync blog, Kelly Morisseau is a second-generation CMKBD (Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer), and a CID (Certified Interior Designer) for a residential design/build firm in Northern California.  After 25 years in the business, she just wants to give something back – she does this through her blog. Kelly took some time out of her busy schedule to share some thoughts on what it means to be a certified kitchen and bath designer, color trends and how flooring fits into her design process.

Question: What does it mean to be a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer?

Answer: Designing for seven years before I could even apply and tests and tears and all-night coffee-soaked study sessions – oh, wait. That’s not what you meant, is it?

Here’s the simplest version: a person who has substantial experience and training in both kitchen and bath design as it relates to construction, ergonomics, and safety.

A master designer is one who has held both the individual designations for a minimum of 10 years.

Question: Why is it important to use a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer?

Answer: I don’t know if important is the term! I’d say we’re design- and problem-solvers who eliminate mistakes before the construction starts. It can be as detailed as researching that the heavy-duty hood fan can be installed in a two-story home (some can’t) or – since we’re talking flooring here— watching for different heights of flooring thicknesses in order to avoid a tripping hazard between transitions or rooms.

Question: What is your favorite aspect about Kitchen and Bath designing?

Answer: Even after 25 years, it’s always interesting. There’s always some new material or design application or electronic advancement or home construction technique to be learned.

And every client is different: even two homes with the same layout will never be the same because each client’s lifestyle will dictate different choices.

Question: What is the most common mistake you find that consumers make when planning a kitchen or bath?

Answer: That all materials and fixtures are compatible with each other. They’re not. Some faucets do not work with the sinks, some appliances do not work with the design, some lighting shades that do nothing for actual lighting. That and assuming that the room is always bigger than it is.

Question: At what point do you make flooring considerations in the design process?

Answer: Throughout! We spend a great deal of time discussing the pros and cons of each flooring material. For example, someone who has bad knees or a sore back may choose a softer flooring, such as cork or wood, over a harder one, such as tile or concrete.

After that, we may tentatively select the color at the beginning and fine-tune it as the rest of the other choices are layered in.

Question: What is your favorite floor type for kitchens? Why?

Answer: I don’t have a favorite – no, let me rephrase that–my favorite is a flooring that offers the most pros and the fewest cons to each client’s lifestyle.

Lifestyle often dictates the best fit. Do they have dogs with long nails who like to chase each other around the island? Do the kids leave spills on the floor? I think any major choice should include maintenance education prior to final selection.

Question: What is your favorite floor type for baths? Why?

Answer: Anything non-slip. I love porcelain tile, because there area so many options for both safety and style. Plus, with a straight-edged tile, we can have a narrower grout joint. (The old-world tiles with the serrated edges which require a wider grout joint.)

Question: What color trends do you see currently for kitchens and baths?

Answer:

Two trends – both warm and cool.

Contemporary design: whites, grays, deep browns

Traditional design: creams, sundrenched tones or more traditional trio of wheat/green/red combination.

Or a combination of both – so perhaps classic white cabinets with sage green walls and chocolate brown furniture pieces.

Question: What trends do you see (in your market) in flooring for kitchens and baths?

Answer: A bit of everything except sheet vinyl. We’re seeing:

Tiles in stone and porcelain in various sizes, such as a 3- or 4-tile pattern. Bigger tiles, such as 12×18 or a 12×24 rectangles which, I should point out, take a very experienced floor setter to lay them perfectly flat and a floor with little flex; otherwise, the tiles will crack.

Woods from oaks to exotic woods, like rosewood or strand bamboo. Definitely wider plank sizes and/or flooring laid in a diagonal or a pattern.

I’m also noticing a slight trend towards glossy floors, perhaps a high sheen on the wood or a gloss white tile. Not my favorite as glossy anything can tend to be quite slippery. There. That’s what the benefit of a CMKBD is: we’re very cautious about safety!

Question: What trends do you see in countertops for kitchens and baths?

Answer: I’m seeing a lot of engineered stone (quartz) and good quality granite for the kitchen. I can’t quite talk folks out of marble for the bathroom (many marbles etch with strong chemicals, such as hairspray or shaving cream.) There is also some interest in recycled counters, whether they are paper-based or recycled glass. Again, it comes down to maintenance and lifestyle.