Brent Wood and Steve Bartlett are the salesmen at the Doswell, Va., location of Rex Lumber Co.
Acton, Mass.—When customers see the crown stamped next to the Rex Lumber Co. name, they know they’re not just getting any product—they are getting a product fit for a king. Bearing the crown symbol, Rex Lumber’s confidence in the quality of their products is displayed throughout retail lumberyards across the United States.
According to Tom Murray, sales manager at the company, retail lumberyards have been a vital part of Rex Lumber Co.’s success.
“Our typical retail consumer buys a variety of products from us, ranging from S4S hardwood for their rack, to custom run mouldings, flooring and stair parts for their high-end contractors,” he said.
He added that the company’s custom flooring has taken off due to the fact that it is a perfect component to the custom trim mouldings in residential markets.
“We first started running custom mouldings in the early 1970s and flooring has always been
At the South Windsor, Conn., location, Dan Robitaille, Kent Hillemeir, Bruce Rafferty and Greg Stascavage, along with Brantly Werth who is not pictured, make up the sales department.
in the mix,” Murray said. “As we saw a boom in the custom flooring market in the last several years, we added end matching in 2003.”
End matching is putting a tongue and groove on the ends of each piece that matches the sides. It allows for easier installation and a better fit once the floor is down, Murray stated. While this is routine in strip flooring, it is unique with wide, long, custom flooring that traditionally has had square ends. Rex Lumber’s Friulmac machine allows the company to end match truly random lengths—they do not have to be pre-cut into equal lengths ahead of time.
“This is the very highest end of the market—quality, beauty, selection are second to none,” Murray explained. “It’s not our intention to compete with strip flooring, we target the top 5 percent of the flooring market. Instead of starting with low-grade lumber like the big strip mills, we start with the highest grades, primarily FAS, and dry lumber to exacting specifications through our own kilns. The result is wider, longer pieces and a beautiful and unique end result. The company can produce up to 16-foot pieces and Face widths up to 11”.
He added that it has always been easy for a retailer to sell custom plank flooring over strip flooring to “quality-conscience customers.” It’s a product that is primarily in the 6-foot to 12-foot range in length, and can be ordered in al
Steve Tagliamonte, Peter Hoefele, Ken Harlos and Doug Barton (not shown) are in charge of sales at the Englishtown, N.J., operation.
most any width.
“Wide plank flooring is easier to install, infinitely more beautiful and most importantly, brings with it much higher margins,” Murray stated.
In addition to the domestics, exotics and the currently popular rustic choices, the popularity of radiant heat flooring in high-end residential projects has driven demand for quartered and rift cuts for flooring where available.
“Quartered and rift cuts are recommended by radiant heat manufacturers when solid wood is the choice for flooring, as they allow for much less movement and shrinkage,” Murray said. “As a result, we stock quartered and rift Eastern White Pine, white oak, red oak, cherry, maple, walnut, ash, mahogany and others when available. These can be run to the same specifications as any other cut or species.”
Rex Lumber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the company can manufacture flooring or moulding that carries their chain of custody certificate. As the LEED Program for Tax Credits expands to residential projects, Murray said he anticipates even more interest from retail lumberyards for those types of products.
Rex Lumber has been in existence since 1946, and now has four locations and complete mill working facilities in Acton, Mass.;
Rex Lumber also has a facility in Acton, Mass., where Bruce Smith, Paul Wentzell, Larry Gagne and Paul Zylinsky handle sales.
South Windsor, Conn.; Englishtown, N.J.; and Doswell, Va. The company services customers with their own fleet of trucks on the East Coast from Maine to Florida, as well as shipping by container all over the country, including the West Coast.
The company stocks Aromatic Red Cedar, Spanish Cedar, Cypress and various Pines, as well as red and white oak, cherry, maple, birch, ash, hickory and walnut. Rex Lumber also stocks a wide variety of tropical exotics—mahogany, jatoba, Caribbean Heart Pine and others. They now stock their own “Heritage Cherry” flooring, which is a somewhat rustic, country look that has a 5-inch face that Murray said has been very popular recently.
Rex Lumber is a member of the National Wood Flooring Assoc., and as such offers complete support to the retailer both before and after the sale. Murray explained that Rex Lumber has trained people on staff to troubleshoot conditions in the field and in the rare event that a consumer has a problem. He added that Rex Lumber always stands behind their products.
One way that the company tries to ensure that their retail customers know the product is by offering seminars for their sales people. The seminars train the sales staff on the best way to sell the products depending on the customer it is being marketed to.
Rex Lumber Co. produces 5-inch plank flooring, like this rift white oak, using Weinig moulders at all four of the company’s locations.
“We are happy to offer seminars to our retail customers to familiarize and educate their sales staff about this unique product and its high-profit potential,” he said. “This is a great way to introduce real quality into a home, and the demand is high.”