Changing carpet perceptions, one square at a time
For years, Flor has worked to change people’s concept of floor coverings, by selling boxes of modular carpet tiles by mail order.
The concept made another mark on the distribution channel last month. The Chicago-based company opened a brick-and-mortar store in Dallas — its fifth, joining high-profile, high fashion locations in Chicago, New York and Santa Monica, Calif.
In a nutshell, Flor’s carpeting concept — launched in 2003 — is built around modular carpet tiles that allow DIY installation and ease of replacement. Spilled wine, for instance, can be remedied simply by replacing a square, instead of pulling up a carpet. And part of the marketing is designed to make installing the tiles fun, with colorful “dots” that provide adhesion to the floor covering.
Green is another facet important to the concept. The company’s sustainability efforts include a return and recycle program that keeps old tiles out of landfills. It also meets or exceeds the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus standards for low VOCs.
The company’s president, Greg Colando, has pointed to a retail growth spurt, predicting eight to 10 stores in place by the end of the year.
D.C. Hotline: EPA backs off lead rule tests
There will be no more talk of dust wipe sampling and clearance testing requirements for the EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule. The extra requirements were pulled by the EPA after vigorous opposition from the industry, including the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA).
“This development is a major victory for NLBMDA, LBM dealers doing installed sales and their remodeler customers,” said Scott Lynch, the group’s executive VP. “It will also save home-owners in pre-1978 homes from having to absorb even more unjustified costs associated with the lead rule.”
Still, the 2010 LRRP rule remains in the crosshairs of its opponents and requires training and certification for remodelers who do work on older houses. The EPA said it wants to add to its current “lead-safe work practices,” including vertical containment systems in some cases and regular replacement of vacuum filters.
The NLBMDA said it continues to oppose expansion of the rule, as it also seeks an opt-out provision where no children are present.
Where’s the improvement? In the other room
A survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers conducted by San Francisco-based research firm MarketTools suggests that their next home improvement project will most likely take place in some room other than the kitchen or bathroom.
Almost a third of future projects were described as “other room” in the study, conducted July 8 to 10 using MarketTools ZoomPanel of opted-in consumers.
According to MarketTools’ VP client development Mark Delaney, the bedroom and den projects benefit from their low-cost barriers. Declining home values probably also factor in the results, he said.
“While the timing of the study — June 2011 — favored ‘yard,’ it’s interesting to note that smaller improvments to rooms such as dens and bedrooms seem to be the most active,” Delaney said.
Improvements to the house exterior ranked fifth among the five home improvement areas in the survey.