Suppliers eye Main Street as businesses rebound
There’s no question that the Main Street commercial was one of the hardest hit segments in the flooring industry during the height of COVID-19, with thousands of small businesses closing their doors, some never coming back. But just as Americans are determined to fight through adversity, so did business entrepreneurs on Main Street.
“The pandemic has taken an invaluable toll on small businesses in America, but it looks like we’ve turned things around,” said Kimberly Hill, director of marketing and creative design at Novalis. Hill noted that Americans have signed up to start more than 5 million new businesses by 2021, 20% more than any other year on record. “This strong recovery is likely due, at least in part, to government recovery programs. More than $450 billion in emergency aid has been given to small businesses to reopen doors and fuel growth.”
Robb Myer, Vice President of Business, Aladdin Commercial, a Mohawk brand, said Main Street was going through the same “turns” as residential retail, with momentum pre-COVID-19, followed by a 60-day “hiccup” and now booming back to the back of the pandemic. “All product segments are growing, even wall-to-wall carpeting, which has experienced strong single-digit growth,” said Myer. “As factories moved out of olefins, there was a shift to mass-dyed PET that boosted the Main Street market. It was an eye opener for the industry to discover that perfect tiles don’t have to be SD nylon. ”
Just like at home, when choosing flooring for their business, Main Street customers want a variety of designs, performance, ease of maintenance and budget options. According to Blakley Satterfield, product manager, residential resilience at Mannington, flooring options that provide performance for businesses such as restaurants, commercial kitchens or medical offices are no longer limited by their design choices. “These customers have the option of choosing premium and premium LVT for their dining or waiting rooms, lower-cost installation and maintenance products such as vinyl film, where tiles were previously one of the limited options for wet areas, and slip-resistant, impact-resistant rubber tiles for commercial applications. kitchens and fitness centers.”
Observers say that rigid core floors continue to dominate the floor space in Main Street applications due to its style strength, ease of installation and durability, all of which make it ideal for small businesses.
Carpet tiles are the second fastest growing segment, with sales increasing by about 15% year-over-year. “The flexibility and modularity of carpet tiles and LVT/rigid core make them winning choices in Main Street environments,” said Quentin Quathamer, director of Main Street Commercial Shaw. “Both offer easy installation, easy care and maintenance, and easy replacement – features that are especially beneficial given today’s labor/installer shortages.”
Floor managers say there are opportunities to expand the use of different LVT structures in Main Street applications, especially within SPC/rigid.
With Main Street back to health, suppliers are seriously filling the product pipeline with a range of offers.
Some examples follow:
Halong Bay (in 6- and 12-mil sizes) and Old Quarter (12- and 20-mil) have bolstered the Aladdin franchise with high-end LVT looks for Main Street. Halong Bay, an LVT with a rigid composite core, has two styles with 16 graphics. The organic, natural wood grain and stone look create a warm and comfortable environment for any desired space. Halong Bay is designed to coordinate with other Aladdin products to allow continuity in any space.
“The launch of this product is exciting for all of us,” said Myer. “Halong Bay gives every room a new lease of life and is designed to bring life and light to any space it is used in, without compromising on quality.”
In addition, Aladdin will launch a commercial wood product with veneered hardwoods in a commercial setting in the next 100 days. “We are excited to take the brand to that next level,” Myer added.
Foss Floors has witnessed strong growth in its premium self-adhesive carpet tiles and planks. “We are seeing tremendous growth in soft floors for outdoor applications in some commercial channels such as restaurants,” said Sam Ruble, vice president of sales. “Our carpet tiles eliminate slip and fall risks, and the business owner can literally continue the interior floor design outdoors.”
In addition, Foss Floors has expanded its range with both planks and squares. Grizzly Tiles is a heavy-duty product suitable for vestibules and walkways. All Foss products contain a self-adhesive glue and are made from PET from post-consumer drinking bottles.
In 2022, Mannington will launch several new products in its City Line LVT and Towne Center vinyl line with Microban. City Line will grow with two new concrete and two new limestone tile visuals in a 12 x 24 format. Towne Center will feature two new patterns and four new colors with its new Hexx and Twill products now offered in heavy duty commercial vinyl record construction. Hexx is a hexagon tile visual with hand painted grout lines and Twill is a 3 x 18 weathered oak herringbone visual. “These products leverage design opportunities in the Main Street market that we previously lacked in our portfolio,” said Satterfield.
The NovaFloor brand offers Main Street products with impeccable style and extreme durability across its portfolio. A good example of this is the Designer Series, which was created with entrepreneurs, interior designers and architects in mind. The collection aims to bring beauty, durability and functionality to commercial spaces through planks and tiles available in bonded, loose lay and hard core formats. “It is imperative for the RSA to communicate that all of our collections can be used in light commercial applications,” Hill said.
Over the past two years, Engineered Floors’ Main Street brand, Pentz, has focused more on the Main Street segment with more than 20 new introductions to meet the evolving needs of its dealers and end-users. Pentz is adding multiple colorways and pattern options to boost style and design at different price points to round out its modular tile and wall-to-wall product offerings. Most 2022 launches feature Apex solution-dyed polyester on Pentz’s modular Nexus back system.
Philadelphia Commercial’s Phase 2 products offer a more sophisticated, elegant style. “We are most excited about our new carpet tiles with ColorPoint technology,” said Quentin Quathamer, director of Main Street Commercial. “The collection, Redefined Luxury, features three premium yet attainable styles – Interfuse, Interlace and Intermingle – that offer options for personalization in addition to precision tufting and hi-def clarity. The Eco/Eco construction (Eco Solution Q Nylon on top of EcoWorx backing) of these 18 x 36 carpet tiles offers industry-leading performance and unique visual capabilities, making them the perfect choice for all market segments.”
Philadelphia Commercial’s resilient Indwell collection features 8, 12 and 20 mil constructions, combining the style of hardwood with the innovative durability of LVT.