Artistic Finishes introduces new products and rebrands itself.
By Kat Zeman
Artistic Finishes might have the soul of a craftsman, but it also embraces modern technology and innovative ideas to stay on top of its game.
The St. Paul, Minn.-based company creates custom floor moldings and accessories for the flooring professional. Its product line includes a variety of moldings, vents, treads and risers. While some products are stained by machines, the majority are still hand-stained by artisans.
“You have to have an artisan eye for color,” says Bill Treiber, technical sales and education manager. “We have many individuals staining one stick at a time. That’s virtually unheard of but that’s how we do business.”
Artistic Finishes has found success with this hands-on philosophy for more than 30 years. This year, the company transformed its brand by merging with Moldings Online, its sister company, and became one brand under the Artistic Finishes name.
“We decided that from a marketing standpoint it would be easier to have one company,” Treiber says. By marrying the new technologies and processes of Moldings Online with Artistic Finishes’ craftsmanship, the new brand believes it is providing its customers with an easier one-stop shop and creating more efficient processes that allow it to amplify new product innovation in the flooring market.
Artistic Finishes introduced a new line of core accessories this year called Enduracor. Durable and waterproof, Enduracor is a versatile solution for a variety of flooring projects. The product line features an exclusive four-layer design, making it one of the most technologically advanced flooring accessories on the market.
“This product has a wood veneer finish which enables us to do what we do best: to artistically finish that product to complement and work with different manufacturers,” Treiber says. “For example, if you have an Acacia floor, we use an Acacia veneer. We take that and utilize waterproof adhesives and custom blend it to a manufacturer’s specific color. That’s the essence of Enduracor.”
Enduracor’s waterproof core fuses high-quality materials with a thermoplastic, injection molding process to create a waterproof flooring accessory solution. It promotes water-resistance and flexibility while producing a high bond strength that acts as a sealant and ensures a reliable hold to withstand typical daily use.
“We’re very excited about it,” Treiber says. “We know we have a phenomenal product.”
In addition, its 0.4mm decorative wear-layer has the ability to complement virtually any flooring line and currently blends with thousands of manufacturers’ flooring lines including hardwood, WPC, SPC, Rigid Vinyl Core, Laminate, LVP and LVT. Next year, Enduracor’s line will expand to feature more options for thickness.
“We had to do a tremendous amount of testing for this product,” Treiber adds. “We put it through boiling water and hot ovens, testing it for function and strength.”
Using nanotechnology and an ultraviolet curing process, Enduracor’s water-resistant finish and exclusive top coat encapsulate the flooring accessory to prevent water damage and natural wear and tear. Its resilience against liquids creates a reliable barrier that shields the entire product.
“It’s extremely unique,” Treiber says. “It’s what separates us from the competition. There isn’t anybody that can duplicate what we are doing.”
In March, Artistic Finishes introduced another new product. Its sleek hardwood Euro Stair Nose is an ascetically-versatile flush-design accessory made of solid wood. It is offered in more than 60 species of wood and has a 2mm radius edge, which creates a modern, square look while still providing a highly functional profile.
“Some call it Euro modern Stair Nose,” Treiber says. “It’s that clean-cut, sharp-edge look with straight lines, a flat stair nosing for steps that have a modern-looking profile. We anticipate that modern trend to continue.”
The company wanted to create a classic and sophisticated product that can be emulated in any modern or traditional flooring installation.
With more than 150 different molding profiles, 90 wood species and 15,000 manufacturer flooring lines, Artistic Finishes offers a wide variety of products to assist in completing virtually any flooring project.
The stair nose is designed to catch the brunt of foot traffic while maintaining the overall beauty of each step.
Flush stair nosings are used for glue or nail-down flooring installation methods. Overlap stair nosings are required in floating floor applications to allow the floor to expand and contract.
Other types of moldings include the quarter round, base shoe, cove, wall base, T-mold, reducer, threshold and square nose.
Artistic Finishes’ prefinished vents, stair treads, risers and starter steps are available in most popular wood species, thousands of stain colors and special finishes to complement virtually any floor. Custom vents, treads and risers are also available and quoted by the company’s customer service team.
Artistic Finishes does not sell directly to consumers. As a manufacturer, the company provides wholesale pricing to professionals working in the flooring industry. They include other manufacturers, distributors, retailers, builders, architects and designers.
Businesses in the residential or commercial flooring industry can set up a free online account with Artistic Finishes to become members. Once approved as a member, a business can access the company’s “buy direct” wholesale pricing.
Approved members automatically receive a $1,000 credit line. They may pay for additional products with a credit card or apply for additional credit. To protect its members, non-members cannot view pricing.
Artistic Finishes has roughly 3,000 active members, meaning they order on a regular basis. The company distributes primarily in the United States and Canada. Some of its members include Galleher Corp., Kraus, Goodfellow, The Master’s Craft, ProSource Wholesale, Herregan Distributors, Palmer Donavin, RiteRug Flooring, HOM Furniture and Ohio Valley Flooring.
Artistic Finishes was awarded a Small Business Success Award this year from Twin Cities Business magazine in Minnesota. It was honored for its ability to bounce back after the recession by adopting a lean manufacturing philosophy and continuing to pursue innovative ideas.
By keeping operations lean and nimble, Artistic Finishes has been able to respond to changes in consumer preferences. The company was one of only 10 Minnesota-based companies honored with this award, which had more than 80 nominees.
“We would not be accepting this award if it weren’t for the loyalty of our employees and customers,” owner and President Dennis Leach said at the time. “We’re proud of our achievements and the constant perseverance it takes to be able to remain a success story. We are excited for what the future has in store for us as we move forward with our goals of continuous improvement and product innovation.”
Evolution and Innovation
Founded in 1985, Artistic Finishes is the brainchild of brothers Dennis Leach and Tom Leach. The company started as a contract finisher of miscellaneous wood products.
The two brothers worked with a variety of wood window parts, kitchen cabinet doors, retail fixtures, residential pre-finished millwork and flat plywood panel components for various manufacturers.
Over the first 10 years, the brothers started noticing a lack of options for customers in the hardwood accessories market. They saw a growing need for innovation and decided to take their company in a new direction.
“From there the company quickly grew and formed into an accessories company for the wood flooring industry,” Treiber says.
In 1995, Artistic Finishes started specializing solely in pre-finished hardwood accessories manufacturing. The brothers also saw a need for hardwood accessories that offered finishes and durability that matched a new generation of prefinished hardwood floors. As the company started moving in that direction, its workforce base grew from 30 people to more than 100 by 2007.
“In 2007, it became evident that we needed to branch out,” Treiber says.
That’s when online purchasing became an increasingly large percentage of the company’s annual sales revenue. Adapting to the times, Artistic Finishes formed a sister company, MoldingsOnline.com. The new e-commerce website enabled its customers to streamline the ordering process. They could order what they wanted, when they wanted it and without having to place a bulk order for inventory purposes.
When the economy took a nosedive in the late 2000s, the sister company helped carry Artistic Finishes through the recession.
Artistic Finishes remained focused on innovative manufacturing techniques, finish clarity, color, grain definition and durability. The company recognizes that its ability to provide products that require a high level of craftsmanship make it a premier manufacturer for prefinished hardwood moldings, vents, stair treads and risers in the flooring industry.
In 2017, Artistic Finishes and MoldingsOnline.com became one entity and website, under the parent company’s name – Artistic Finishes. Although the core of its work remains that of a craftsman, the company continues searching for ways to improve through modern technology and innovation.