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Shaw Carpet

By Michael Hilton

Shaw Industries (Shaw carpet) is the largest carpet manufacturer in the world. Shaw Carpet has accomplished more to change the carpet industry than any other carpet manufacturer. Shaw has been credited for making carpet affordable to all by refining production and lowering carpet prices through mass production adjustments. During the 1980's and 1990's when the carpet industry was undergoing significant change, it was Shaw Industries that necessitated that change. Shaw has always been one of the most progressive forward-thinking carpet manufacturers in the market.

Prior to 1986, when Stainmaster Carpet was first introduced, most manufacturers were very selective in the carpet retailers they sold in each market. As a consumer traveled from carpet retailer to carpet retailer they typically found a limited selection of carpet manufacturer brands in each retailers showroom. Carpet manufacturers representatives typically had 4-5 different carpet price levels, based on the commission rate they wanted to earn. Most were on straight commission. Typically most carpet retailers would receive the highest price (from the carpet manufacturer) and this reflected higher retail carpet pricing. With limited distribution of carpet brands among retailers in a market, carpet retailers could price the carpet styles at any price they chose without worrying about competition.

Shaw Carpet turned the carpet industry upside down by hiring 20-something college graduates and paying them a salary, plus commission, and travel expenses. Shaw Carpet manufacturer representatives were no longer concerned with pricing their retailers at higher prices because the bonus (commission) rates were the same whether the carpet style was priced at the high or low price.

Shaw reps began to sell every carpet retailer in the local market. Retailers disliked this philosophy because they now had to worry about competition, but Shaw carpet prices were so low (as compared to other carpet manufacturers) that the retailer could not afford "not" to buy from Shaw.

Shaw quickly grew to become the largest carpet manufacturer, passing Mohawk Carpet, and they became the low cost carpet producer. Shaw offered some of the most attractive carpet styles and colors at pricing that was unheard of. As Shaw continued to take market share, other carpet manufacturers were forced to lower their carpet prices in order to compete in the market place. This reduced profits and weakened many manufacturers, which initiated the carpet manufacturer buy-out phase of carpet history.

Shaw rocked the carpet world by purchasing Cabin Crafts, which was one of the five largest carpet manufacturers in the world. Listed below is a timeline of Shaw carpet manufacturer purchases. A few years ago, Shaw carpet itself was purchased by Warren Buffet and placed in his Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. You may recall that Warren Buffet donated billions in company worth to Bill Gates for Philanthropic purposes. Berkshire Hathaway and Shaw Carpet was a part of this donation. This again rocked the carpet world because every Shaw carpet purchase is now a Philanthropic donation to the Bill gates foundation.

Shaw Carpet History and Brands

Philadelphia Carpet

Established in 1846, Philadelphia Carpets is Shaw's oldest flooring line and one of the most respected brands in the industry. It was the Philadelphia carpet line that enabled Shaw to change the carpet world.

Cabin Crafts Carpet

Cabin Crafts, one of Shaw's most widely distributed carpet lines, has always offered some of the most beautiful carpet styles and colors in the industry. Cabin Crafts and their parent company, WestPoint Pepperell were purchased by Shaw industries in 1987. This brand name purchase stated the carpet industry's manufacturer buyout phenomena.

Armstrong Carpet / Evans Black Carpet

Purchased by Shaw in 1989. Two years after the Cabin Crafts purchase, Shaw was ready for another manufacturer buyout. Armstrong World Industries offered two primary carpet divisions; Evans Black which was marketed primarily to carpet retailers, and Armstrong carpets which was marketed through local distributors, who then sold to area carpet retailers. Armstrong offered a highly profitable line of carpet products called Anything Goes, a style that was constructed for durable wear capabilities. The Evans Black brand utilized selective distribution in each market place to create higher priced, high profit goods for select local carpet retailers. In 1990, I moved from Indianapolis to Boca Raton to manage the Evans Black brand in this market place. In a market area that covered from Melbourne, FL across the state to Sarasota, FL and south to Miami and Key West, I had 7 customers. However, these 7 carpet retailers sold more than $7 million in Evans Black products in this market place. Limited distribution did have its rewards.

Salem Carpets

In 1992, Salem Carpets were purchased by Shaw. Salem brought with it a value priced line, and a significant polypropylene extrusion capability. Salem offered a complete line of Berber Carpet with its Sutton carpet line. At that time, Salem carpets boasted of being the second largest carpet manufacturer.

Amoco Carpet Fibers

Later in 1992, Shaw purchased Amoco's carpet fiber division and Shaw bolstered its polypropylene fiber production. Shaw was now the largest producer of olefin Berbers.

Shaw Area Rugs

In 1993, the area rug market was beginning to mature and amazing growth was being experienced in the area market. Shaw birthed its new Shaw Rugs division to establish a broader share of this growing market.

Queen Carpet

Queen carpet was always one of the toughest competitors in the market place and Queen offered some of the most beautiful carpet styles and colors of any manufacturer. In 1998, Shaw and Queen merged under the Shaw Industries umbrella.

Laminate Flooring

In 2002, Shaw began its diversification in the flooring market by constructing a laminate flooring manufacturing facility.

Carriage Carpets, Bretlin, and Globaltex

In 2003, Shaw completed its' acquisition of The Dixie Group. Dixie was one of the key players in the manufacturing of carpet for the Mobile Home Industry. Its Globaltex line was wide distributed through Home Depot. The Dixie Group purchase rounded out the Shaw line and enabled it to capture other markets in which it had limited market penetration.

Did you know?

Shaw Carpet is the largest carpet manufacturer in the world and has always established the market price for carpet prices.

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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