Industry Insights
 
September 2nd, 2007

September-October 2007

POLYCOR INC. JOINS ROCAMAT S.A.

Polycor Inc., the Quebec based group that serves the broad dimensional stone market through the synergy of its combined stone supply subsidiaries, has now joined Rocamat S.A., FRANCE. The new group will count more than 1,000 employees, and its sales will exceed 180 M$ Can. Management remains the same; no reduction in the number of employees is envisaged at Polycor, nor at Rocamat and the companies continue operating under their respective names. The existing business relationships as well as customer service will not be affected by this transaction. “This grouping fits perfectly in our development plan,” said André F. Scott, Vice-President Corporate Affairs at Polycor. Indeed, it will enable both companies to broaden their respective product lines and provide access to new markets.

LATICRETE® APPOINTMENTS

LATICRETE® has appointed Ken Duquette to the position of technical sales representative for North and Central Florida, where he will focus primarily on building and maintaining LATICRETE sales and customer relations in the Orlando and Jacksonville metro regions. Duquette brings 23 years of professional experience in sales and customer service to LATICRETE. LATICRETE has appointed Lee Malmquist to the position of technical sales representative for the Inland-Northwest territory, consisting of Eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Malmquist arrives at LATICRETE with 21 years of outside sales experience in the floor covering industry. The company has also appointed Brian Carlson to the position of technical sales representative for the California Southern region, including Northern Los Angeles County, Ventura County and the Southern portion of Kern County, which consists primarily of Bakersfield. Carlson comes to LATICRETE with extensive knowledge of its innovative product line, experience he gained first-hand as an outside sales representative with Tile Industry Sales, Inc., an independent sales firm that featured the LATICRETE System. Carlson will continue to service existing clients in the territory, while working to drive demand for LATICRETE system materials by searching out new relationships with architects, contractors, distributors, builders, design centers and specification writers.

MILES DISTRIBUTORS

Miles Distributors, Inc., a five-location ceramic tile and stone distributor in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, contined its commitment to its employees and the industry through its association with the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, including company president Doug Miles’ assumption of the CTDA presidency for 2007. In addition, sales and marketing manager John Zolman is active on three CTDA subcommittees. All of Miles’ employees at each location have passed the CTDA online training course; and three staff members—Cindy Walter, Showroom Manager, Scott Wykoff, vice president, and John Zolman—are among the first 38 industry professionals who have successfully completed the Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson (CCTS) program.

TRUSTY STEP LAB ADDRESSES REVISED ASTM 1028-06

Trusty Step International announced the opening of a new tile-testing laboratory to test all types of hard mineral surfaces, including tile, marble, granite, etc. All tests will be in compliance with the recently revised ASTM 1028-06, “Standard Test Method for Determining the Coefficient of Friction of Ceramic Tile and Other Like Surfaces by the Horizontal Dynamometer Pull-Meter Method.” Test results will be provided to clients, enabling them to know the SCOF of a tile before purchasing or specifying it. This will let them know if that tile complies with the American’s With Disabilities Act requirements of 0.06 for horizontal surfaces and 0.08 for ramps, in all public buildings.

HATCHER JOINS FLORIM TEAM

Dawn Hatcher has joined Florim of Clarksville, Tenn., as a Marketing Specialist for the Midwest/East region. She is based in Lansing, Michigan. In her new role with Florim, Hatcher will offer tailored marketing support to distribution customers throughout her territory. From showroom and product display expertise to product presentations and sales training, Hatcher will partner with customers to ensure Florim’s Esquire and AFI brands are well represented in the marketplace. Hatcher joins Florim following three years as an independent sales agent representing Italian and Spanish factories. “Dawn is a strong addition to our team,” says Ron Spezzaferri, Regional Vice President of Sales for Florim. “Her energy, market knowledge and commitment to providing great service is already having a positive impact on our customers.”

LONE STAR CERAMICS ACQUIRED

Lone Star Ceramics, manufacturer of unglazed porcelain dot-mounted mosaics based in Dallas, Texas, since 1949, has entered into an agreement to be acquired by the Elgin Butler Company of Elgin, Texas. The Lone Star plant will be immediately relocated to the Elgin Butler corporate headquarters property (25 miles east of Austin) to benefit from the large scale ceramic production, engineering and resource infrastructure present there. The company expects the newly-renovated Lone Star plant to be fully operational and producing fine unglazed porcelain mosaics and trims by December 2007. Elgin Butler is the leading manufacturer of glazed brick and structural glazed tile since 1873, with a loyal network of distributors and architects across the United States. “The addition of Lone Star commercial mosaic products will not only help our existing Elgin Butler Distributors capture projects,” said Matt Galvez, new Lone Star owner (and former President of Florida Tile), “But it will also enable us to bring Elgin Butler engineering and marketing resources to Lone Star to benefit the network of Lone Star independent distributors. The marketplace desperately needs a second domestic source of high quality, unglazed dot-mounted porcelain mosaics; and we plan to service this category to the best of our ability.” Elgin Butler also recently acquired the McIntyre Tile Company of Sonoma County, California (www.mcintyre-tile.com), a leading producer of beautiful, hand-made upscale artisan tile and decorative tile since 1972. The artistry and porcelain experience of McIntyre Tile will also contribute to the revamped Lone Star product offering when production restarts in December 2007.

ASCER AWARDS

The sixth Architectural Ceramic and Interior Design Awards organised by ASCER (the Spanish Ceramic Floor and Wall Tile Manufacturers Association) will be judged by a jury of top professionals chaired by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. The total prize fund available for the Awards is 50,000 euros: 20,000€ for the architecture prize, 20,000€ for the interior design category and 10,000€ for the Degree Projects category. The Awards are given to architectural and interior design work considered to have made the best use of ceramic tiles made in Spain and are being sponsored once again by Vodaphone Spain, the Port Authority of Valencia and Gas Natural. The Architectural Ceramic and Interior Design Awards have evolved significantly thanks to the increasing quality of the work entered for the competition and the substantial standing and professional approach of the candidates. The winning entries in the architecture category for the last few years prove the point. These include: the Castilla La Mancha Archives in Toledo by Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra, the Spanish Pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan by Alejandro Zaera and Farshid Moussavi, the renovation of Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue and the Peñíscola Conference Centre by Ángela García Paredes and Ignacio García Pedrosa. The closing date for receipt of entries and all required documentation is October 31st.

comunicacion@ascer.es

Q.E.P. ANNOUNCES OPERATIONS IN CHINA

Q.E.P. CO., INC. has received final approval from the People’s Republic of China has to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary in Shanghai. Operating under the name Harmony Depot, Q.E.P. is now licensed to purchase and market a broad range of goods for distribution into the Chinese domestic and export markets. Over the past two years, Q.E.P. has been expanding its presence in Shanghai with the objective of supporting its operations in sourcing more cost effective products for customers throughout the world. Lewis Gould, Q.E.P.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said “The approval of Harmony Depot is an important milestone in expanding our worldwide market and is a natural extension of our Shanghai operations. We will now be capable of further enhancing the value of services and products to our existing customers and of being a direct player in the rapidly growing Chinese market.” Q.E.P. Co., Inc., founded in 1979, is a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of a broad line of flooring tools and accessories for the home improvement market.

Manufacturer Unveils New Branding & Marketing Initiatives

Florim, previously known as Florim USA, is launching sweeping new marketing strategies, starting with the company’s name modification and the full re-branding of its Esquire and AFI (formerly “American Florim”) brands. Florim’s changes reflect the ongoing corporate investment in and commitment to the U.S./North American marketplace. The dropping of “USA” from the corporate name denotes the company’s heightened, synergistic association with parent corporation The Florim Group of Italy. Florim is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Florim Group. “We are part of a respected company and a member of a renowned family of brands,” states Florim Executive V.P. of Sales and Marketing Jim Dougherty. “It’s time we make the most of this association, in our name and in how we do business.” Both of Florim’s U.S. brands have undergone thorough image transformations to support their defined personalities. From the launch of new product lines and the discontinuation of select past products to the creation of new logos and the redesign of all marketing materials and merchandising, Esquire and AFI have experienced revolutionary alterations. “We are differentiating our brands,” Dougherty states. “Esquire and AFI have distinct images, and, most importantly, we are introducing carefully selected, Italian-designed products to fit each brand’s unique style.” Esquire is now defined as “tradition with class.” AFI (pronounced “af-ee”) is the new name of what was known as the “American Florim” brand. AFI is home to products deemed “urban casual,” and consequently, its new product introductions are contemporary, natural-look lines with wide appeal. Notably, the re-branding initiatives come in tandem with the introduction of numerous new, strategically designed product lines, all originating from Italian design through The Florim Group’s team of experienced professionals. Florim, headquartered in Clarksville, Tenn., is a domestic manufacturer of porcelain tile products for residential and commercial installation. A subsidiary of The Florim Group of Italy, Florim USA is the maker of the nationally distributed Esquire and AFI brands and is aligned with sister companies Floor Gres, Rex, Cerim and Casa Dolce Casa.

www.florimusa.com

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