Orlando, FL — 3/20/22 CarpetsPlus celebrated its 25th Anniversary convention in Orlando, March 12-16, where members came together to have fun, learn, network, share ideas and see new merchandising and product introductions.
Ryan Dunn, co-COO and vice president sales, welcomed members to convention, “This is a time for us to come together like a band of brothers, take a look at what’s going on in the industry and in our company. You are the future of what we are doing today inside this industry, inside this company. I know I can trust everyone in this room today,” he said.
Ron Dunn, co-founder of Alliance Flooring, came on stage and shared many of the lessons he’s learned over his long career in the flooring industry. For example, Ron has gone on several trips which he called, ‘Drive Across America’, travelling the country each year in an RV visiting and spending time with CarpetsPlus COLORTILE and Carpetland USA members. “There were a lot of great moments along the way. Our stories are rich. Telling those stories is so important. That’s why our Summits exist. One of the things we saw early on was that each of you have a unique story,” he said.
He asked, “What’s holding your team back?” He then explained the dynamic of the paper wall. “In business, and you’ve all experienced this before, someone builds a wall and says, ‘you can’t do that.’ But if you keep working, keep pushing, take chances and eventually you find out it was only a paper wall and that’s when you break through.”
He then asked the audience to break into groups, different people than they had been sitting with, to discuss questions such as ‘what keeps you up at night’ and ‘which of these ideas resonated most with you?’ Afterwards, they shared some of what they talked about. A few of the answers to that question were bad reviews, hiring good people, installation crews, and a few others that lead to more discussion.
State of the Industry
During his annual presentation on the state of the industry, group co-founder Jon Logue advised members to gear up for a strong year despite challenges facing the industry including price increases, inflation and supply chain struggles. He said that Alliance Flooring members were up 26% in hard surface (in terms of dollars) in 2021 over 2020 as well as a 23% increase in carpet shipments to us. Remodeling will be up 19% this year to $432 billion according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA). He said, “This is a staggering number, the likes of which I’ve never seen before.”
“I’m very optimistic for 2022,” Logue shared. “I think we’re going to see a little bit of pull back, but we will be just fine. Consumer demand is up, there is strong demand for our products and services, unemployment is low and consumer sentiment is high,” he said, adding, “I think it will be a good year.”
New Private Labeled Merchandising
Kevin Logue, co-COO and vice president marketing, presented the group’s new merchandising. He started by saying, “Great things are happening in this group. Consumers are still motivated to beautify their homes. They’re investing in landscaping, paint and most importantly for us, floors. Demand for new homes is also still high.” He then began introducing the group’s new merchandising for the year.
He unveiled an extensive private labeled line of COREtec WPC. “We’ve seen success with our COREtec Pro SPC and we’ve done well with COREtec WPC under the open line name, but to prevent getting shopped, we wanted a private labeled program and this was an opportunity that presented itself. Since Shaw retooled their program, we saw an opportunity and created a new program under our COLORTILE brand.”
Logue said it made sense to revitalize its WPC offering. “The last two years we had extensive SPC launches but we still sell a ton of WPC. We also see laminate having come back year in 2022.”
“It’s available and at the right price point with high definition looks and digital printing,” he said. “The realism and technology that’s being brought to the category wasn’t there in the laminates of the past. There’s a lot of value in the category plus it’s made in the U.S.A and we’re all about supporting made in U.S.A.”
He also introduced the group’s new carpet programs from mills such as Mohawk, Shaw and Tarkett.
Reaching New, Second and Third Generation Members
There were 16 prospective members in addition to 24 new members in attendance at this convention. Rather than add members just for the sake of numbers, Ryan Dunn and Kevin Logue said they will proceed slowly, conceding that not every prospect will be a fit. “It is a process,” Dunn said. “Building trust—it doesn’t happen overnight. Just because people are calling us doesn’t mean we will move quickly. We have to slow things down.”
At the same time, Alliance Flooring wants to grow its ranks and is not afraid to be aggressive. The group has added 32 members since COVID-19 began, and Dunn said it can bring on 24 to 36 new members this year alone; and, one day, it can match their best recruiting year—74 new members, which occurred early on.
“There’s a lot of interest from new businesses with second and third generations; people coming up the ranks or who are getting into a position to pass the business over,” Logue said. “Our growth strategy is to engage the up-and-coming generation of owners.”
Member Dave Lee, owner, COLORTILE & Carpet in Salem, OR, won a free trip for two to next year’s convention. This is the second year in a row he has won this trip!