Made in USA: Manufacturers ramp up domestic production
Made in USA 2022: Domestic update
By Megan Salzano-Birch—Across all flooring categories suppliers are ramping up their domestic production to meet the needs of their customer base and consumers across the country. From carpet to resilient, wood and tile, dealers and distributors looking for products with that Made in USA label in 2022 have a plethora of options at their disposal.
AHF Products, for example, has one of the most robust domestic production operations as any supplier in the industry. The company currently has seven facilities located in Beverly, W. Va.; Somerset, Ky.; Oneida and Only, Tenn.; Warren, Ark.; West Plains, Mo.; and Titusville, Pa.
“AHF Products has continued to invest in our domestic operations since our inception three years ago,” said Chris King, senior vice president, sales and marketing, AHF Products. “We manufacture in eight plants throughout America, and manufacture around 70% of our total volume in the U.S. One hundred percent of our solid wood flooring has been—and still is—made right here in the U.S. North America has some of the best hardwood forests in the world.”
Domestically produced or sourced products for AHF include solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring, rigid core (SPC) vinyl flooring, laminate flooring and flooring accessories. “We continue to invest aggressively in new products and categories,” King noted. “We’ve made investments in all our plants. A couple of specific examples include the Barnwood Living Collection and our newest innovation, Dogwood. We also continue to invest in the LVT category, a trend that has benefited from a global freight glut that has slowed supply, the impact of COVID-19 and the tariffs on Chinese imports. Waiting eight to 12 weeks for products or parts to come from China just doesn’t work; it’s all about speed of service. Particularly with the current fuel/petroleum situation, it makes no sense to manufacture products on the other side of the globe. We need to onshore more in order to be to be more efficient and cost effective for our customers.”
Mohawk also has domestic production across several product categories, including carpet, carpet tile (Aladdin Commercial), resilient, laminate and wood, including its VersaTech Plus, SolidTech Plus, RevWood Plus and UltraWood lines, in the U.S. “We have incremental capacity coming online in both 2022 and 2023 to meet increasing market demand,” said David Moore, senior product director, wood and laminate. “All of the new capacity will have the ability to produce our waterproof RevWood products. With the global disruptions in supply chain and raw materials, the ability to get product and deliver it in a consistent manner has become a primary decision factor for consumers. And a product that is manufactured locally to them has the greatest chance to be available.”
Mohawk’s Daltile brand also manufactures much of its product in the U.S. To date, the brand has facilities in: El Paso, Texas (wall tile); Fayette, Ala., (quarry tile); Sunnyvale, Texas (floor tile); Muskogee, Okla., (floor tile); Dickson, Tenn., (floor tile); Dickson, Tenn., (second facility; quartz); Florence, Ala., (floor tile); and Gettysburg, Pa., (mosaics).
The latest addition to Daltile’s domestic manufacturing capabilities is its new quartz plant in Dickson, Tenn., producing floors that are made in the USA with imported materials. As a state-of-the-art facility, its quartz plant is creating products that are the epitome of design and style in addition to being the largest quartz slabs in the U.S., the company said. The brand added that it continually invests in its domestic manufacturing capabilities to maintain its competitive position.
Shaw recently invested in expanding SPC capacity at its facility in Ringgold, Ga., which manufactures multiple vinyl constructions under one roof, including waterproof rigid core products. Shaw said that $20 million investment, made in August of 2020, came online in Q1 of 2021 with an additional phase of expansion expected to be fully realized this year. “Shaw has always invested in domestic manufacturing, and it provides many supply chain and operations benefits—with service being a great example that’s currently top-of-mind for our industry,” said Herb Upton, vice president of residential product and channel strategy, Shaw Industries. “Increasing consumer interest in domestically produced flooring is, in large part, due to product availability.”
Shaw also manufactures its carpet and engineered hardwood domestically. Last year, the company announced plans to expand its operations in Aiken County. The approximately $400 million investment increased the company’s manufacturing capacity and supports future growth for new products. This expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
Several years ago, Shaw also invested $250 million in its Andalusia, Ala., manufacturing facility, which creates fiber used to manufacture residential carpet. The project included construction of new and expanded building assets and installation of substantial amounts of new manufacturing equipment.
Engineered Floors touts its massive SAM extrusion plant in Dalton and production at its Seretean facility, also in Dalton. “Progress continues to be made in our Dalton facility to bring more hard surface production to the United States,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of marketing. “Domestic production is as important now as it has ever been. Products that are made locally ensure that resources, as well as a sense of pride, remain in North Georgia. This continued support ensures sustained growth and opportunity in an already thriving community.”
In addition, Engineered Floors carpet has always been 100% made in the U.S. The company said it has continued to raise the bar thanks to the investment in state-of-the-art equipment and the expansion of the “SAM” plant that has the capability to go from the extrusion process to distribution all under one roof in the world’s largest carpet manufacturing facility.
Founded on American values, Happy Feet’s core operations are in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Ringgold, Ga., with warehousing in six states and more than 2,000 dealers across the U.S. The company’s model of efficiency allows 98% of product to be shipped to American businesses in under 48 hours. “We’re only about 10 years old, but we’re a hardworking company with decades of flooring experience in the USA,” said Casey Johnson, CEO. “Our team’s efforts combined with a family of independent retailers and mom-and-pop flooring stores has led to our tremendous growth over the last few years and record-setting sales. We look forward to continuing our success in the U.S.”
Flooringlines’ HempWood brand has a hardwood production facility in Murray, Ky. “Made in America is important for us because it allows for American dollars to stay in Americans’ pockets,” said Greg Wilson, founder and CEO. “By being produced in the states, our products are not delayed by oceans and months but rather a couple of weeks, which allows us to better service our customers’ lead times.”
Since its first day and throughout its history, Southwind’s carpets have always been made in Dalton. Currently, Southwind produces 46 LuxMax Carpet styles for a total of 304 colors in Dalton. The company also launched a moisture-resistant, made-in-the-USA laminate program branded Duxxe in 2021, and Liberty Plank, a line of waterproof SPC flooring with six different colors, all produced in Georgia.
“With the global supply chain continuing to face challenges, domestic production is very important to our mix of offerings,” said Randy Lovelace, executive vice president, sales and merchandising. “Southwind has built its business on quality, service and availability. By shortening lead times, we can supply more flooring faster to our expansive dealer network—in turn creating more happy customers. We also value the ability to create more jobs in our communities.”
Sundry manufacturers also supply coveted American-made products. Pennwood Products, for example, which manufactures high-quality, prefinished hardwood moldings, retro treads, retro risers and vents, is situated on more than 16 acres of land in South Central Pennsylvania—strategic to a good lumber supply.
“Pennwood Products’ formula for success has always been to stick to its core business values and have the willingness to adapt, offer innovative solutions, quality workmanship and a safe efficient operation,” said Kraig Coxon, president. “Pennwood Products believes in giving back to its surrounding community in many different ways.”
Mannington—which imports SPC—continues to set production records and has plans to bring additional capacity online at its Blackwood facility in Calhoun, Ga., according to David Sheehan, vice president, residential hard surface. “This plant is currently the only major producer of WPC in North America,” he said. “Demand has been, and continues to be, very strong for Adura Max; however, we intend to add additional capabilities that will enable us to produce domestic SPC in the near future.”
Armstrong Flooring has two domestic production facilities to date—one in Lancaster, Pa., and another in Stillwater, Okla. “There is an increased focus on domestic production, and the why is really straightforward—the supply chain has been significantly disrupted for a variety of reasons,” said Yon Hinkle, vice president, product and innovation, Armstrong. “The one thing our customers are considering is the reliability of their supply. Our customers work off of schedules, and so the ability to meet those schedules is critical.”
Overseas production shifting to America
While the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on some plans to expand flooring production to the U.S., overseas suppliers have long found value in bringing production to America, and the last year marked the completion of robust plans to do just that.
For example, 2022 marked the finalization of CFL’s Calhoun, Ga., facility. “CFL is the largest rigid core manufacturer in the world,” said Jerome Nurenberg, marketing director. “We aim to continue striving to bring customers service, stability and flexibility—and that’s exactly what the USA factory helps achieve. Most notably, service through stock availability of medium-end, standard SPC lines from the Calhoun factory, to reduce price fluctuations and working capital requirement for its customers.”
CFL has moved quickly on its rigid core facility, Nurenberg said, investing more than $100 million in the facility and committing to onboarding 300 new employees over the course of the first five years (a target already met early this year). The first lines to come out of the factory are FirmFit Downtown and Intown collections. They feature extra-long and wide planks with innovative rustic and washed oak visuals for more realism and less repeat.
Wellmade completed construction of its new, 328,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Cartersville, Ga., at the end of 2021. The plant is currently manufacturing the company’s patented HDPC Waterproof Rigid Core Vinyl Plank. Wellmade said it is currently producing and shipping truckloads daily to service the U.S. market. “Offshore production has dominated much of the rigid core flooring market for quite some time,” said Dick Quinlan, vice president of sales and marketing. “That said, historically, U.S. consumers have always had a preference to purchase products made in the USA. With that, we have found consumers are welcoming the opportunity to buy our domestically produced products.”
Quinlan added that Wellmade’s decision to build a plant in the U.S. was initially based upon the company’s desire to produce HDPC core and other leading-edge flooring technologies in America. “In a nutshell, as a U.S. company, we wanted our continued growth to support the U.S. economy,” he explained. “Customer service was another driving factoring in moving production stateside. Domestic production allows Wellmade to offer our customers shorter lead times, more stable shipping, reduced inventory requirements, better capitalization and faster development of new product opportunities. Wellmade is leveraging its domestic and overseas capabilities to provide best-in-class rigid core products and service solutions for our U.S. customers.”
Corona, Calif.-based Concord Flooring (formerly Arte Mundi), also now manufactures in the U.S. The company is focused on hardwood and is currently in the process of building two new factories in the states. “I believe consumers are aware there is a need to make the change in manufacturing to domestic, knowing the issues we face around the world,” said Leslie Derrig, who handles East Coast sales for Concord Flooring. “However, Americans have enjoyed cheaper production for years and have been accustomed to paying much less for products. Items made in the USA are going to reflect the higher wages factories must pay their workers, which will be passed on. Fortunately, we recognized this as an issue we were going to face, so our automated lines have reduced the need for labor. With our automation customers can still get the flooring they want at a price close to what they are used to spending. Eliminating the need to ship from other countries also negates the time, duties and costs incurred in importing product into our country. Domestic manufacturing also allows the factory to watch quality control and not have concerns of the use of forbidden chemicals often used in production.”
Huali Floors, a China-based manufacturer of resilient flooring, established its first U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Murray County, Ga., in 2021. It currently produces 100% waterproof SPC at the facility with added capacity expected by the end of 2022.
Novalis Innovative Flooring also has domestic manufacturing with a facility in Dalton, which focuses on producing waterproof rigid core products using the most advanced manufacturing technologies and automation.
Portobello America, the American arm of the Portobello Group, Brazil’s largest tile producer, has broken ground on its first U.S. tile production facility in Baxter, Tenn., which will also house Portobello America’s new headquarters. The new factory is slated to be fully functional in Q1, 2023.