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Mohawk Carpet

By Michael Hilton

Mohawk Carpet is among the oldest carpet manufacturers still in business. Mohawk carpet is the most recognizable carpet brand name and they are one of the most respected carpet manufacturers in the carpet industry. The Mohawk carpet name has always had a mystique about it and the name reflects quality. Today Mohawk is the world's leading high quality, value-oriented producer of carpet and rugs. In addition, Mohawk manufactures its own line of Mohawk hardwood flooring.

During the late 1980's and 1990's, when carpet manufacturers were buying out other manufacturers, Mohawk took a slightly different course during the buy-out era. Most manufacturers were buying carpet manufacturers to increase their own production capacity. Manufacturers would examine sales, production efficiency of machinery, and the brick and mortar worth of a potential manufacturer buy-out. Most carpet manufacturers were looking for a way to lower their production costs and increase their capacity.

Mohawk placed a heavy emphasis on name recognition of the carpet manufacturers brand names. While many of these carpet brand names with good name recognition had antiquated (slow) equipment and crumbling facilities, Mohawk evaluated the "worth" of the carpet brand name and ignored the accountants evaluation of how much a carpet manufacturer was worth in the ledger.

This strategy, while risky, has strengthened Mohawk's hold on brand name recognition and it continues to be one of the most respected Carpet Brand Names in the industry. While Mohawk Carpet and Shaw Carpet are (by far) the two largest carpet manufacturers, The Carpet Buyers Handbook receives far more carpet price quote requests for Mohawk carpet products, such as Karastan carpet, than any other manufacturer. This can be attributed to their styling, color lines, and name recognition, but it also could be related to retail selling price, as well.

While competitive Carpet brands can be found in most retail carpet showrooms, Mohawk carpet brands have more limited distribution within a market area. Limited distribution tends to raise carpet prices, due to reduced competition. This is not to say that Mohawk carpet products are over priced, but the inability to compare carpet prices can elevate retail price levels, slightly. Our Dalton, Georgia Carpet Wholesaler Site partners sell far more Mohawk Carpet products through our carpet price quote service than any other brand name. These carpet wholesalers generally save our website visitors more on Mohawk brand names because of the limited distribution of Mohawk distributors in a market area.

Of all the carpet manufacturers for whom I have been employed, it was Mohawk that I always wanted to work for, but never had the opportunity. The Mohawk carpet name and their leading edge marketing philosophy makes Mohawk one of the most notable names in the carpet industry.

Mohawk Brand Names

During the carpet manufacturer buy-out craze of the 1990's, Mohawk placed more emphasis on name recognition of the manufacturer than other traditional business worth evaluation factors. In doing so, Mohawk has distinguished itself as having a careful balance of economy and higher cost Interior Designer lines which have combined to make them one of the most profitable carpet manufacturers in the world.

Karastan Carpet

The Crown Jewel of the Mohawk line. Karastan Carpet has always been one of the most respected brand names in the carpet industry. The name itself makes one think of magic flying carpets and things cherished. The name itself implies quality and style. Karastan is the Cadillac® of carpet. While many people dream of someday owning a Cadillac®, others dream of owning a Karastan carpet style. Mohawk purchased Karastan in 1993. Karastan manufactures a complete line of "out-of-the-ordinary" carpet styles including true Frieze Carpet styles, Berber Carpet, beautiful velvet carpet styles, and other one-of-a-kind carpet styles. For most carpet styles, you must turn the carpet sample over to look at the labels on the back to see who manufactured the sample. With Karastan Carpet, you simply know by looking at the carpet pile.

Bigelow Carpet

Bigelow is one of the most storied names in carpet history.

In 1839, Erastus Bigelow permanently retooled the carpet industry with the invention of the first power loom for weaving carpets. Bigelow's loom doubled carpet production the first year after it was placed into manufacturing production and tripled carpet production by 1850 Bigelow's loom is now a part of the Smithsonian Institution's collections. Bigelow was an innovator and inventor. He amassed 35 separate patents between 1839 and 1876. Bigelow introduced the first broadloom carpet in 1877.

While Bigelow still uses a number of weaving machines in its production, they manufacture far more commercial carpet styles than residential styles. Woven carpets remain some of the highest quality carpets in the world. Their cost and long life contribute more to the commercial carpet market than the residential carpet market, due to their longevity and performance.

Lee's Carpet

Lee's Carpet is another one of those carpet "names" that has always generated excitement among carpet buyers. Mohawk purchased the Lee's Carpet brand name in 2003. Lee's was one of the last remaining large carpet producers to remain independent. Lee's held out 10 years longer than most thought they would. Lee's carpet has always manufactured high-end carpet products with exquisite styling, but their financial troubles began shortly after the introduction of Stainmaster® in 1986. Their aging production equipment made it difficult to keep pace with faster more efficient competitors.

Over the past few years, it was the Lee's Carpet name that enabled it to compete in the market place. The Mohawk purchase of Lee's has invigorated the Lee's Carpet line and Mohawk's modern manufacturing equipment has helped resuscitate the respect that Lee's carpet brand name has earned over the years.

Alexander Smith

While Shaw Carpet traditionally receives credit for creating the manufacturer buy-out craze, (with its purchase of Cabin Crafts carpet) it was actually Mohawk that began this strategy in 1956. Mohawk and Alexander Smith merged to form Mohasco, Inc and became the largest carpet manufacturer in the world. Alexander Smith continues to be one of the cornerstones of the Mohawk carpet line.

Horizon Carpet

The Horizon Carpet purchase of 1992 enabled Mohawk to develop a value-oriented, competitively priced carpet line that could compete with any carpet manufacturer. Horizon manufactured a wide variety of carpet styles beginning with FHA base builder grader grade carpet to high end designer styles. Horizon carpet was a high capacity production manufacturer that enabled Mohawk to lower their production costs and helped them reach an economy of scale with regard to purchasing power.

Horizon Carpet fit perfectly into the Mohawk Collection, because they had always offered some of the most beautiful color choices of any manufacturer. Even the Horizon logo reflected the colors of the rainbow and a logo has never been more accurate for a company depiction. Horizon Carpets today, under the Mohawk umbrella, have continued to inspire interior designers to build dramatic color pallets.

Aladdin Carpet

When Aladdin Carpet was purchased by Mohawk in 1994, many carpet industry professionals pondered who bought who. Aladdin was one of the most progressive and fastest growing carpet manufacturers in the carpet industry. They were among the toughest competitors in the carpet industry. Their carpet styling, color choices, and competitive price made them a worthy competitor for any carpet manufacturer. They were especially tough in the olefin Berber Carpet market and in the bath carpet market. The Mohawk acquisition of Aladdin carpet rounded out the Mohawk stable of brands and allowed them to expand their product offerings into areas where they held very little market share. Aladdin carpet was a low cost producer, so they allowed Mohawk to lower their production costs even further and expand production capacity. Low cost does not necessarily mean "cheap carpet". It simply means their production facilities were state-of-the-art and their cost to produce carpet was lower than other carpet manufacturers. The Aladdin carpet purchase was just another piece in the carefully scripted Mohawk puzzle. In buying an Aladdin carpet style, the consumer knows they are buying a well-constructed carpet at a very price competitive price point.

Galaxy Carpet Mills

Galaxy Carpet Mills was another Mohawk purchase in 1995. Galaxy was known for mid grade to upper end carpet styles and they were another low cost producer. Galaxy manufactured a line of Kanga back® carpet styles which utilized a urethane foam backing and utilized a do-it-yourself carpet installation procedure. In 1989, Galaxy was purchased by Peerless, a Canadian carpet manufacturer, which enabled Galaxy to develop its export operations, and upgrade its manufacturing equipment. Mohawk's purchase of Galaxy (from Peerless) in 1995 enabled Mohawk to capture a larger share of the carpet export market.

Diamond Carpet Mills

Mohawk purchased Diamond Carpet Mills in 1997. Diamond was noted for using recycled 2-liter soda bottles and olefin (polypropylene) in its carpet fiber. (P.E.T.) This polyester-type (P.E.T.) fiber was extremely stain-resistant, fade resistant, and provided a bulky "hand" with extremely thick pile height. P.E.T. offered a significant enhancement over other polyester fibers. The Diamond purchase was simply another addition to the Mohawk brand of products that enabled them to diversify their product offering.

World Carpets

World carpet was purchased by Mohawk in 1998. At one time World Carpets was the largest producer of FHA base grade carpet styles. World Carpets set the market price for this commodity carpet style and they dominated the new home construction and property management industry.

WundaWeve Carpet Mills

WundaWeve was obtained by Mohawk with the World Carpet acquisition in 1998. The WundaWeve line was a high-end Interior Designer line which balanced World Carpet's image as a low-end manufacturer. Today, the WundaWeve carpet & rug collection represents the premium in styling and product innovation. Known for its distinctive styling, WundaWeve provides an important niche in the upper end of the residential market for Mohawk. WundaWeve combines color and texture in truly different ways. The collection of products includes many luxurious constructions, from tip-shears and plush cut-piles to dense Velva-loops and textured sisal looks.

Durkin Carpets

Durkin Carpets, purchased by Mohawk in 1999 was famous for its printed pattern goods. Many high-end hotels and Casinos used Durkin styles to enhance the atmosphere within their properties. Durkin was an innovator in the printed carpet arena, using a proprietary screen printing process. If Durkin carpets are on the label, you know you have purchased a high-end quality piece of goods. Durkin also revolutionized custom printed carpet production. Durkin can print any pattern, logo, or artwork on broadloom carpet. They specialize in custom lots and ongoing patterned styles.

Image Carpet Mills

Image Carpet Mills was purchased by Mohawk in 1999. Image was another P.E.T. (polyester) manufacturer. With the Image purchase, Mohawk obtained a significant portion of the recycled plastic bottle carpet market. During this period in the carpet industry, the focus was on sustainability of environmental resources. The Image Carpet Mills purchase demonstrated corporate responsibility in recycling post-consumer waste into a usable consumer product.

Other Flooring Operations

Other Mohawk brands include American Rug Craftsmen, American Weavers, Harbinger, Custom Weave, and Helios. In addition to carpet, Mohawk has entered the entire flooring market by building or purchasing hardwood manufacturing facilities, laminate flooring, carpet padding (Alliance Pad), vinyl flooring (American Olean) and ceramic tile (Dal-tile) manufacturing operations.

Mohawk employs almost 35,000 people throughout North America. Mohawk has come a long way since 1878, when four brothers from the Shuttleworth family brought 14 second hand looms from England to Amsterdam, New York to begin Weaving an American-made carpet product.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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