Commerce: The rapid rise of Infinity Wood Floors
When Pat Tallier first formed his own company in 2011, he didn’t know that it would rapidly become something much more than he planned. But that’s just what happened when his company, Infinity Wood Floors, diverged from its original role as a hardwood flooring sales and marketing company.
“Infinity would find the market and outsource the manufacturing to meet the demand,” Tallier explains. But things changed quickly. “Once the product began gaining traction in the market, demand outpaced production and in April of 2012 I decided to build a flooring plant.”
It’s reasonably safe to assume that any entrepreneur dreams of his or her company rapidly taking off. But growing pains can be tough to deal with.
“The challenge created was having to source the material to meet demand,” Tallier says. “Even though I had been in the hardwood flooring business for more than 20 years, Infinity was a new company. Suppliers are typically cautious of new companies, and they begin slow and grow the business along with the trust.”
But having previously served as vice president at two other flooring companies, Tallier knew the hardwood flooring industry inside and out, and he had forged relationships with a number of people in the industry. Among his connections were a number of distributors around the country who were eager to do business with Infinity.
Raising the considerable funds – nearly $2.4 million – needed for building and equipping the 20,000 square foot flooring plant in Crandon’s industrial park was another hurdle. Fortunately, assistance was available from several sources. The UW-Green Bay Small Business Development Center helped with the development of a detailed business plan. Other help in making the plant a reality came from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Forest County Economic Development Partnership, the City of Crandon and the Small Business Administration.
Today, 30 employees keep production at Infinity Wood Floors humming along, in spite of the extreme cold this winter that slowed the trucking and logging operations vital to the manufacture of flooring. Infinity manufactures solid unfinished strip and micro-beveled prefinished strip flooring from a variety of hardwoods found in northern Wisconsin, such as red and white oak, yellow and red birch, hard maple, ash and others.
Rather than being mass-produced, flooring is made to order, which eliminates the need for Infinity to warehouse its products. Because of this approach, the company doesn’t need to keep a lot of money tied up in inventory.
Infinity Wood Floors produces high quality flooring for use in residential and recreational facility floors. Infinity currently ships products to 20 states and three locations in Canada. The company’s products have also gone to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Mexico.
All of this keeps the crew at Infinity Wood Floors busy, but Tallier is anticipating new opportunities for his company’s growth. “We are looking very seriously at a prefinish line,” he says. “Prefinish solid hardwoods make up approximately 33 percent of the entire wood floor covering market. That will open doors to new markets and customers around the U.S.”
For anyone who has been moved by the entrepreneurial spirit and wants to a company, Tallier offers sage advice. “Never underestimate the amount of working capital that is required to start a business,” he says. “Be overly cautious when estimating inventory, receivables and costs associated with necessary improvements. Underestimating these things will create instant cash flow issues, which in turn will create issues throughout all company functions.”
He and his team at Infinity Wood Floors have emphasized attention to detail as well as high quality products and service from the begin ning, and their efforts appear to be paying off. The company not only contributes to the area’s economy by putting paychecks in the pockets of its employees, but Infinity also generates business for loggers, truckers and other supporting industries. And they keep their customers across the nation happy.
“We received a letter from our largest customer, who stated, ‘This is the best product we’ve seen in the last 15 years,’” Tallier says. “Recognition from your customer to this degree is immeasurable.”
For more information, visit infinitywoodfloors.com.