National Hardwood Magazine


Christmas 2009 Feature Story


Copper Plank Takes Unique Approach To Success

By Bridget McCrea

Copper Plank Custom Mill, Scottsdale, Ariz., sells solid flooring, as well as engineered, and uses 300,000 board feet annually of Walnut, Hickory and Oak.

Scottsdale, Ariz.–As the former principal of a business consultancy that worked with Fortune 500 firms and iconic brands like Anheuser Busch and Seiko Epson, Matt Stanton took a decidedly focused approach to marketing when he started his own Hardwood flooring manufacturing business in 2001. As a branding expert and innovative thinker, Stanton wanted to build a product driven company that incorporated his passion for history and architecture.

“Producing reclaimed flooring fit the bill,” said Stanton, owner of Scottsdale-based Copper Plank Custom Mill, whose brands include Artisan Handcrafted Flooring, Vintage Hardwoods and Revival, a premium reclaimed engineered line. With 30 employees, the 3-location firm encompasses a headquarters building and a showroom; a 60,000-square-foot mill for processing, de-nailing, kiln-drying, rough-milling, laminating, moulding and distressing wood; and a 10,000-square-foot facility in Phoenix that’s used only for finishing.

Copper Plank Custom Mill, which also has a custom color lab and digital database of all of its flooring samples, sells solid and engineered flooring, and utilizes a laminating press that allows the firm to glue-up 10,000 square feet of Revival engineered flooring per shift. The Artisan lines grade from Rustic to Select/Clear grain, and use over 120,000 board feet of European Oak that’s milled to ¾ inches. The firm also uses 300,000 board feet of Walnut, Hickory, Oak and Rift and Quartered Oak to make 3/4 and 5/8-inch engineered products.

According to Stanton, the firm contracts with harvesters or demo companies to take down buildings in the South, Midwest, Northeast and U.S., as well as Europe and Australia. “For Artisan,” he added, “we buy from green growers and rough mills in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and California.”

Distributed through a group of high-end, sophisticated firms known as “platinum dealers,” Copper Plank Custom Mill’s products are specified by luxury interior designers, architects and, in some cases, custom builders.

The firm has a custom-color lab and digital database of all of its diverse flooring samples.

“Our projects tend to be luxury homes, high-end, multi-unit condominiums, retail space and other commercial applications,” Stanton explained. “Our markets tend to match the more affluent cities and resort communities across the country where there are high-end homes, as well as projects where the architects seek us out for our ability to provide high quality, green flooring for LEED point generation.”

According to Stanton, it’s all in the name of creating unique products that target the upscale market, which demands value combined with a level of service and customization foreign manufacturers cannot readily meet.

“Given the economic climate today, these challenges are even greater for distributors and dealers who don’t want to hold big inventories and buyers who are holding on to their cash as long as possible,” Stanton said, adding that the scenario can potentially limit selection for the upscale buyer.

“Because we produce each custom floor as it is ordered, we eliminate stagnant inventories and embrace custom requests,” said Stanton. Combine that strategy with state-of-the-art equipment and systems, and a capable employee base, he said, and Copper Plank Custom Mill can bridge that gap “at prices that consistently surprise our customers.”

Take the $50 million Colorado project that the company was competing against three other, well-known hand-scraped flooring manufacturers for. “The designers were asked to provide the best product in terms of quality and aesthetic beauty, but couldn’t get price quotes until after the product was selected,” recalled Stanton, whose product was selected. “When the quotes were submitted, the buyers were shocked to learn that one competitor was $48-per-foot installed, while the other two were $30-per-foot (just for the material). Our material was $14-per-foot.”

With 30 employees, the 3-location firm encompasses a headquarters and a showroom, a 60,000-square-foot mill for processing, de-nailing, kiln-drying, rough milling, laminating, moulding and distressing wood.

Copper Plank Custom Mill also stands out in the way it partners with its distribution channel, helping to boost the latter’s business. “Given my consulting background, I’m always willing to step in to help those dealers navigate these tremulous economic times,” said Stanton. Former NWFA Chairman Ken Schumacher has embraced this service. “In my years in this industry I have never seen a manufacturer work with their dealers in such a creative and impactful way,” Schumacher said. “It has really made an impression.”

Having served as CEO of a database marketing internet company during the peak of the dot-com period gave Stanton insight into how technology and a global economy might eventually impact the Hardwood flooring industry. “While everyone conceded the death of U.S. wood and furniture manufacturers as a result of Asian competitors’ low labor rates,” said Stanton, whose firm belongs to NWFA, FSC and the Green Building Council, “I was convinced that American manufacturers had a unique advantage over foreign competitors because of their cultural understanding of service.”

Despite the economic woes that many firms are facing right now, Stanton is pressing forward with new products and innovative business concepts. Coming soon, for example, is “Pure Green Custom Mill,” a co-op mill designed to provide savings to participating partners and private label customers who can’t afford the full burden of factory overhead. “Companies are struggling to make it and while they may have wonderful niche products,” Stanton said, “they simply can’t afford the monthly overhead, the equipment or the management personnel required to run the operation, yet the market still values the service and integrity of American-made brands.

“Flooring brands are also excited about the opportunity because we are a green shop and can extend our FSC Certified products and green manufacturing protocol to our partners. We are able to maintain the chain of custody, a requirement for specific LEED points. So whether it is a reclaimed product or a prefinished hand-scraped product, we can execute all aspects of the production, including milling, laminating, distressing and zero VOC finishing while maintaining the chain-of-custody. This is a huge advantage as green building is being mandated by municipalities, cities and states.”

Copper Plank contracts with harvesters or demo companies to take down buildings in the South, Midwest, Northeast to produce re-claimed flooring.

Going forward, Stanton said his firm will continue to produce the best Hardwood flooring possible while finding new ways to exceed the market’s needs. “We’ll look forward,” he added, “and not get stymied in the pessimistic attitudes that have a way of perpetuating economic downturns.”

For more information, visit the company’s website at



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