Originally posted on FloorCoveringWeekly.com on 4/20/2010
[Baltimore, Md.] J.J. Haines rewarded its Loyalty Club members with a two-day event held here April 12-13. The summit attracted more than 320 members from 155 locations to learn about new products, rebates, social networking, marketing, and ways to stay on top of their business as the economy creeps back up. “Our Loyalty Club members are surviving and they are doing well,” said Scott Roy, vice president of sales, J.J. Haines. “They are looking for business; they’re not just sitting back-they are doing something about it. They have a whole breadth of products and services, they are diversifying their businesses, and they are using technology as a competitive weapon.” The Loyalty Club welcomed 16 new members in 2009, bringing its total number of locations to 274.
Haines introduced multiple products to the attendees, including its new private-label wood line, Chesapeake Hardwood, and announced partnerships with cork manufacturer WE Cork and bamboo supplier Wellmade. Roy said the addition of cork and bamboo lines came from the urging of its members and that having eco-friendly products should help retailers take market share as the sustainability movement continues to grow and consumer demand for green offerings rise. “I think it’s important for us to always have products to focus on consumers’ needs and wants,” he said. “For our suppliers, we continue to promote the sustainability of their products because it is important to them. For us, we are promoting it because of the desire of the group.”
In speaking of the downturn, Haines president and CEO Bruce Zwicker told FCW that Club members have re-evaluated their business models but are hopeful for the future. “They have all learned to live with less; they are all working a lot harder, but in general, their spirits are still strong,” he said. “I think it’s pretty amazing that there are more members now. I think it’s because people are eager to learn new ways; everyone recognizes that the old rules don’t apply, so they are all trying to do something different.”
While Haines rewards the loyalty of its Club members, the customers praise the company in helping them get through the good times and the bad, crediting the people and services Haines provides. Charles Roberts, owner of Herndorn, Va.-based Roberts Carpets and Oriental Rug Co., recipient of the Loyalty Club’s 2010 Dealer of the Year award, said the Haines sales staff is one of the best in the industry.
Ed Chandler, owner of Chandler’s Floor Covering, joined the Loyalty Club the first year it was started. “If you’re going to stay in business, you have to keep up because the industry does change. Things like the Loyalty Club summit help me do that,” he said.
Suppliers also recognize that Haines and its Loyalty Club members bring something different to the table. BR-111’s executive vice president Jason Strong was showing the company’s new Antiquity Engineered product, but more importantly was present to show support for the distributor and its customers. “We are here to support J.J. Haines because it is one of the best in the industry,” he said.
Paul Murfin, Armstrong’s vice president of sales, said that it is the drive to continually do better that sets Loyalty Club members apart from other retailers. “This group of customers is really dedicated to getting better at what they do. There is every size of customer here and they are all very sincere in doing the best job and being a better retailer,” he said.
“Their loyalty makes us proud,” Zwicker said of the members. “They are active. And they are appreciative. It makes it easy for us to do what we do,” he said.