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New Balance started as a family owned arch support business in Boston at the turn of the century. Today, the company that was the brainchild of a man who wanted to help people with problem feet has grown into the fourth largest footwear and apparel company in the world. True to the roots of its humble beginnings, New Balance remains committed to the founder’s values of uncompromising fit, quality and performance. That heritage influences all company operations, from manufacturing award-winning footwear to managing distinctive retail stores. So, when a New Balance store franchisee in Georgia asked designers to specify a floor for his new store in Douglasville, it was only natural that Armstrong™ Heritage Classics Collection Commercial Hardwood was selected for its superior combination of physical and aesthetic qualities.
It’s critical for a footwear retailer to have great looking floors. After all, as customers constantly look down at their feet while trying on various styles of shoes, the floor forms a backdrop to showcase styles and colors. Customers walk around the store to check for fit, which creates wear and tear on the floor. An ugly or worn floor sends a negative message to consumers. For New Balance store owner Matt Schuster, the time had come to part ways with a floor that was used in his retail locations that was, in his words, “a maintenance nightmare.” For help in recommending the best options for his new store, Schuster turned to Storefloors, one of the nation’s leading flooring consultants to chain store retailers. Storefloors, whose motto is “Where Stores Buy Floors,” has a superb track record helping retail brand giants including the Kohler Company, The Paradies Shops, and Tweeter, with innovative flooring solutions.
Storefloors president, Earl Wasserman, says, “We knew we could recommend a floor that satisfied this New Balance® store’s needs on all levels: aesthetics, durability, maintainability and value.” He explains, “The floor used at other stores owned by Mr. Schuster were luxury vinyl tile (non-Armstrong), which was a company-wide specification at the time. Although the visual was nice when the tile was installed, it looked terrible after normal retail wear and tear. To avoid the same problem at this store, we considered many floor product options from multiple manufacturers.” After reviewing potential finishes with the client, natural hardwood flooring became the leading contender, because wood graining would hide foot traffic wear and tear, and wood complements the colors and textures of the store’s fixtures and finishes. Of the hardwood flooring manufacturers and products considered, Wasserman says, “We selected Armstrong™ Heritage Classics Collection Commercial Hardwood in the hickory species with the brandywine color. We were impressed by the rustic, distressed visual and the deep, rich color. We knew this product would meet Mr. Schuster’s key needs for easy maintenance, scuff resistance and soil-hiding.” He adds, “Compared to competitive hardwood, the Armstrong product was a clear winner based on aesthetics and cost.”
The Heritage Classics Collection Commercial Hardwood floor was installed throughout the 1,700 square foot showroom, except in front of the cashwrap counter. There, a large band of red quartz tile adds drama and a focal point to the checkout area. Storefloors coordinated the installation with the help of Armstrong representative, Tony Lawson, and distributor representative Jay Herzog of Johnson Wholesale Floors. Wasserman says, “The Heritage Classics Collection Commercial Hardwood was so new that an inventory position had not yet been established. Tony and Jay assured procurement of the flooring in our time pinch. Tony even joined our staff at the store to assist us in cleaning before the New Balance executive walk-through. He always has a whatever-it-takes approach on the job.
The end result is everything the store owner hoped for. Schuster confirms, “I loved the look of this floor when it was installed in early July, and it still looks beautiful. It maintains easily and stands up to traffic much better than the floors we used before.” The maintainability of all Heritage Classics Collection Commercial Hardwood floors is a benefit of the Armstrong Permion® finish. Permion is a system of coating and coloring that enhances commercial durability and reduces maintenance and refinishing costs. The UV-cured, extra hard urethane finish is low gloss and maintains easily with sweeping or vacuuming and occasional cleaning.
Built to last, the Heritage Classics Collection Commercial Hardwood authentically revives the heritage of magnificent hardwood flooring crafted to last for generations. Even though it is installed in a new retail environment to meet the needs of a contemporary merchandiser, it is also true to the legacy and culture of the original New Balance founders.