The Floor Project - July 2013

The Floor Project From July 2013

By Kemp Harr

 

There’s a new retail concept in floorcovering that integrates innovations in technology with market research to give the consumer a customized shopping experience. Two pilot stores were recently opened in Kansas by Aaron Pirner, a successful, second generation retailer who operates 16 stores under five different brands in the Midwest and who was ranked number 29 in Floor Focus’ Top 100 retailer list with 2012 revenues of $50 million.

The concept, called The Floor Project, bases the way it interacts with the consumer on extensive research that Pirner’s corporate team (known as Cap Carpet) conducted using a “mall intercept” research process. According to the research, consumers have five core questions that need to be answered when they’re shopping for floorcovering. What’s it going to look like? Is this right for my life stage? How much does it cost? How much do I need? How soon can I get it? 

Armed with this knowledge, Pirner and his team have spent millions formatting a retail experience with many new features that include: web-based visualization tools integrated into large screen monitors; customized and simplified display racks that incorporate large samples; QR code integration and ample take-home samples; and large graphic information panels that educate the consumer about flooring options, warranties, and pricing policies.

The mix of products (based on SKU count) is 60% carpet and 40% hard surface, which includes hardwood, LVT, glass-backed sheet vinyl and laminate, but no ceramic tile. Consumers can start their shopping process online using thefloorproject.com website, and if they come into the store there are design workstations with large tables complete with customizable lighting.

Pirner and his team have been very analytical about The Floor Project’s target demographics and the level of service it offers. Pirner describes his target consumers as the same people who shop at Pottery Barn, Ikea, and Target. “We’re in the middle between the outlet stores on the low end and the full service stores on the upper end,” Pirner says. “The sweet spot for our price points range between $1.89 and $3.49 per foot.” In addition, pricing doesn’t include installation. While The Floor Project can coordinate installation services, it positions installation as a value-added service with independent contractors that’s sold at cost. And to keep consumers from comparison shopping, all products are private label, with no link to who the manufacturer is. The only national brand on display in the store is Stainmaster. 

Aaron has also learned over the years that you have to invest in advertising to be successful at retail. To build store traffic and raise the awareness of this new retail format, he runs ads on TV, radio and outdoor billboards.



PIRNER'S BRANDS

Cap Carpet was started by Aaron's father, LaVone Pirner, in Wichita, Kansas in 1967. Today the company operates retail stores in Wichita, St. Louis, Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City and Topeka using five different retail brands: Carpet One, ProSource, Big Bob's, The Floor Trader and now The Floor Project. In addition to its retail operation, Cap also owns White Oak Carpet mill, a specialty mill in Spindale, North Carolina. It's also one of the leading suppliers of private aircraft flooring under the AIP (Aviation Interior Products) brand. Today, the company has over 200 employees.


Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

National Retail Federation Expects Holiday Sales Boost   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Retail spending during the holiday season is expected to be the highest in three years, according to a forecast by the National Retail Federation.

Job Openings Highest Since 2001   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Job openings increased to 4.84 million in August, up from 4.67 million in July, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Builders Offering Incentives as Sales Soften   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Home builders nationally have begun sweetening offers in light of slowing sales, according to a Bloomberg News story.

Domotex To Feature Installation Technology for First Time   Full Article
Hannover, Germany, Oct. 7, 2014 -- Domotex 2015 set for Jan. 17-20 will feature 1,300 exhibitors from more than 60 countries.

Fincibec Group Seeking Tile Award Entries   Full Article
Sassuolo, Italy, Oct. 6, 2014 -- The Quinquennial Tile Award, now in its fourth edition, seeking entries using the Fincibec Group's three brands, Century, Monocibec and Naxos, between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2015.

Armstrong Raising Some Vinyl Prices   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Oct. 6, 2014 -- Armstrong said it will raise prices in the U.S. and Canada on commercial vinyl composition tile and BioBased Tile by 4%, commercial wallbase by 4%, and select residential tile products.

Stifel Sees Stronger Hard Surface Sales, Weaker Carpet Sales   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 6, 2014 -- Analyst Stifel Nicolaus believes that third quarter flooring sales will show stronger sales of hard surface flooring and weaker sales of carpet.

NeoCon East Offers Education for Designers   Full Article
Baltimore, MD, Oct. 6, 2014 -- NeoCon East has announced its educational program for design professionals seeking continuing education.

Duncan Appointed President of Mannington's Residential Business   Full Article
Salem, NJ, Oct. 3, 2014 -- Mannington Mills announced today that Ed Duncan will replace Kim Holm, who is retiring, as president of Mannington’s Residential Business.

Services Sector Growth Slows in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The services sector of the economy grew at a slower pace in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

CRI Annual Meeting Set Nov. 12   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The Carpet and Rug Institute's 2014 Annual Membership Meeting will be held Nov. 12.

Unemployment at Six-Year Low in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The unemployment rate fell to 5.9% in September as the economy created 248,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department.

Foreclosure Rate Lowest Since 2007   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The foreclosure rate edged up 1.1% in August compared to July, according to CoreLogic's National Foreclosure Report.

CRI President Yarbrough Goes to Washington   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Oct. 3, 2014 -- Carpet and Rug Institute President Joe W. Yarbrough traveled to Washington, D.C. Sept. 17-18 for two days of back-to-back meetings with congressional representatives.

Dover Rug & Home a Finalist in Association Awards   Full Article
Cambridge, MA, Oct. 3, 2014 -- Dover Rug & Home said it has been named a Family Business Association (FBA) Awards finalist in the category of Fourth Generation Businesses.

Factory Orders Fall on Fewer Aircraft   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 2, 2014 -- Factory orders fell in August on weakness in the aircraft sector, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Jobless Applications Fall Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 2, 2014 -- Initial applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, according to the Labor Department.

National Floorcovering Alliance Elects Officers   Full Article
Maui, Hawaii, Oct. 2, 2014 -- The National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) met this week in Maui, Hawaii for its annual fall meeting and elected a new slate of officers who will take office beginning in 2015.

Planned Job Cuts Hit 14-Year Low   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Oct. 2, 2014 -- The number of planned layoffs declined to a 14-year low in September, according to tracking firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Metroflor's Aspecta Begins Reclamation Program   Full Article
Norwalk, CT, Oct. 2, 2014 -- Aspecta, Metroflor's new LVT brand, said it has launched a free one-call reclamation service called Revise.