Canadian suppliers in a league of their own

Speaking of stable customer testimonials, Mirage, which has been in business for over four decades, continues to score points with its customer base. This is evidenced by the long line of awards. “Retailers and other industry professionals have rated Mirage as No. 1 for quality 42 times in surveys conducted by industry trade journals,” Williams noted. (This includes the recent receipt of an FCNews Award of Excellence in 2022.) “Mirage floors have also received the prestigious Gold Trophy Award at the 2013 and 2018 Canada Awards for Excellence, and top honors at the Grands Prix Québécois de la Qualite Awards in 2012 and 2017.”

Industry awards and performance go beyond performance, product quality and management initiatives. For example, Mercier, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019, has in recent years achieved the highest award for environmental compliance: the Greenguard Gold certification. “By achieving that high level of compliance, we know we’re doing something right,” Bondrowski said, highlighting the fact that the company sources responsibly. “It also confirms that our finishes are free of harmful chemicals and contain no VOCs or pollutants.”

However, for some, success is determined by other measures. As Wickham’s Rezuke explained. “What speaks more volumes to me than any price, is the fact that we’ve had loyal customers for 15, 20, 25 years. We don’t necessarily market our products for that kind of recognition. We emphasize our presence at trade fairs and are proud of the reputation we have built up over many years. To me that is more symbolic of our success.”

Indeed, longevity is an important measure by which success is often measured. This certainly applies to companies such as Lauzon, which has been around for almost 40 years. According to David Lauzon Jr., director of sales, the combination of product quality, innovation and environmental commitment has supported its growth and reputation for more than three decades. “Controlling the product across the entire supply chain, from forest to soil, ensures constant supply, quality and price stability,” he said. He also mentioned innovations such as the popular Pure Genius finish and the company’s patented Expert Engineered technology – a 3.4-inch thick, 2-ply product with a 5.2 mm wear layer that allows movement and installation on slightly uneven subfloors. and reduces cupping. “It combines the rich look of a solid hardwood floor with all the stability of a high-quality parquet floor,” he added.

Constantly innovating

Preverco is taking steps to be fully vertically integrated. Pictured is the Flex line, which comes in both a 2- and 3-ply format.

Regardless of their respective strengths and competitive advantages, many Canadian hardwood flooring suppliers have this in common: the constant drive to innovate and improve efficiency. In the case of Preverco, that means investing to become more vertically integrated and by extension less dependent on imported materials from other sources.

“One of our main advantages is our technical production,” said Dufresne, referring to the company’s move towards greater automation. “We have been fully integrated with our engineering manufacturing and we have slowly moved away from using plywood for our core to pine from Quebec and Eastern Ontario. In fact, we are the only Canadian manufacturer to make products using 100% local resources. .”

Others are steadfastly focused on further amplifying the strength of their brands. “The value we provide to our distributors and retailers is brand recognition, coupled with the lowest claim ratio in the hardwood flooring industry,” said Mirage’s Williams. “We invest in local sales representatives that support our distributor and retail partners and we back that up with the highest inventory level of any hardwood manufacturer or distributor in Canada. We also invest heavily in POP displays, samples and marketing tools to support our customers in promoting our products, all of which add real value to our distributor and retail partners.”

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