Embracing Change with a Focus on Today’s Flooring Customer

David Williams, Horizon Forest Product’s Vice President, often shares the story of a hardwood flooring business owner that used to offer only solid hardwood flooring. However, over time, the business owner noticed that consumer trends and interests were changing. Not all customers wanted the 2-1/4” or 3-1/4” look of hardwood flooring.

In response to changing customer demands, the business owner sought to add new product lines to his business. Along with that, the business owner ensured that his staff had the skills to sell and support a broader range of products without causing a degradation in the customer experience. The business owner did all of this while preserving an assortment of existing high-quality current offerings.

Today, he has tripled his business and is drawing customers from other communities. His efforts didn’t take away from the products he was selling – he still sells those products. Instead, it provided a way to serve more customers’ needs while still focusing on one thing – selling great flooring products.

 

Embracing the Consumer’s Changing Mindset

The concept of change can mean different things to different people. “Change” means to make something different or to replace. One thing across these varying definitions holds true… nothing ever stays the same. In today’s modern world, evolution is fundamental to everything we do. And evolution is extremely important in business.

Just as in the story of the business owner, other businesses need to make changes to stay ahead of, or at least on top of, changing consumer demands. As consumers’ needs change, businesses must change their approach too. The challenge is finding a way to embrace that change to increase revenue without alienating an existing revenue stream.

To that end, there has been a tremendous amount of evolution in the flooring industry over the last fifteen years. Going into and coming out of the recession of 2008, the landscape of many industries completely changed. Enter the world of hardwood flooring products, where there has also been an enormous amount of change. Gone are the times where unfinished hardwood flooring dominated what was sold and installed. Most hardwood flooring installations are now prefinished. This change has happened for a variety of reasons, but the most pressing reason is that today’s consumers expect fast service. Prefinished hardwoods provide speed, convenience, and a number of other benefits that are attractive to the modern, on-the-go consumer.

 

Expanding the Product Assortment to Meet Changing Demand

Horizon Forest Products (headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina) has been in the flooring business for over 75 years. As one of the largest hardwood flooring distributors in the US, with locations on the East Coast and Texas, Horizon offers one of the most comprehensive inventories of prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring. They also stock one of the most impressive selections of floor equipment, abrasives, finishes, and accessories in the flooring industry.

With a firm position in the industry, it would be easy to stand by and simply maintain past successes. But the company that doesn’t change and grow will eventually find that it can’t meet customers’ needs. To that end Horizon has expanded their capabilities even further with the acquisition of CWF (Custom Wholesale Floors, Inc.) based in Jacksonville, Florida, and Wood Pro Inc., based out of Auburn, Massachusetts. This expansion is critical to being able to meet the growing demands of Retailers and Contractors.

Partnering for a Better Flooring Experience

Throughout its legacy, Horizon Forest Products has excelled at bringing new products and better pricing to their customers, even as the industry and economy have gone through a series of ups and downs. Quality and pricing are equally important in any industry. Maintaining and expanding a wide base of suppliers, Horizon takes pride in their ability to help their customers make more money. By bringing CWF, HFP, and Wood Pro together under one roof, that legacy of excellence will continue, whatever tomorrow may bring.

With over 600,000 square feet of warehouse and light manufacturing spaces, Contractors and Retailers will have faster access to flooring products across Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

We all know that no two customers are alike. The same is also true for regions. If your company operates across several regions, you know that it is important to be able to respond to the specific needs of that particular area. To meet this need, top distributors like Horizon make sure each distribution center is uniquely designed and strategically located to meet the local needs.

But they don’t stop there. Ethical sourcing and quality business practices are an on-going and growing concern in the current culture of America. To this end, Horizon Forest Products is proud to partner with suppliers they trust, ensuring the products their customers sell meet the high standards of today and tomorrow.

This is the level of commitment to excellence that is now expected. Horizon Forest Products credits its success to a focus in all of these areas – not just one.

The wood floor industry is always changing. With great products provided by quality suppliers, the combined capabilities of CWF, HFP, and Wood Pro, along with forward-thinking leadership, the Horizon team is always ready to lead that change. After all, that’s how you get your customers to the next level.

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