With more than 80 percent of the U.S. carpet market controlled by mills in Georgia, Alex Peykar knew his multimillion-dollar Saddle Brook-based manufacturing company was missing out.
“Many of our competitors were already operating (there),” Peykar said.
As a top priority for the president of Nourison, Peykar found his solution in recent months.
Nourison, a manufacturer of floor coverings — specifically, mid- to high-end area rugs and wall-to-wall broadloom carpeting — acquired Hagaman Carpet in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, near the “capital of carpet industry” in Dalton.
Not only would this purchase provide Nourison with more than 400,000 square feet of additional manufacturing and distribution space, but it also would allow the company to offer cost-effective “Made in the U.S.A.” selections.
“We always try to look at the marketplace and dissect what’s not being done yet,” Peykar said. “Many of our competitors simply see what others are doing so they can do the same thing for cheaper.
“That was not the way we chose to start our business — we have always looked for what’s missing.”
Peykar and his brothers, Steven, Paul and Edmund, started the then Manhattan-based business in 1980 after learning the carpet trade from their Persian father, Noury.
“We wanted to get into our own business, even though we all went to college for different reasons,” Peykar said.
As their company — then a handmade rug business originally named Noury & Sons — grew, the brothers found additional warehousing in Secaucus and later, within a 200,000-square-foot facility in Saddle Brook.
“Now, our kids have become involved, too,” Peykar said of the multigenerational family business. “Hopefully, soon, I won’t have to work as much.”
As the industry changes, however, so do the demands of the business.
“The number of choices in the marketplace used to be extremely limited,” Peykar said. “Today, we are experiencing a transformation from traditional product lines into very fashion-forward types of products.”
As many vintage hotels and refurbished buildings continue to become more modern, Nourison must continue to adapt.
It’s done so by offering rugs by top designers such as Calvin Klein, Barclay Buttera, Joseph Abboud and Kathy Ireland, and by expanding its product lines into pillows and home accessories.
However, the Nourison brand is still its highest-grossing.
“Nothing is by luck anymore,” Peykar said. “The ups and downs that our industry and our economy have had with the long recession were a test of our strength and existence.
“Rugs are just not as timeless as they used to be.”
This ensures, though, that the company remains constantly creative.
“People would be happy finding something for $2,000, but the look and the feel of it needs to be as good as something worth between $4,000 and $5,000,” Peykar said.
“Our challenge is to reproduce products that have the same perceived value.”
While most of Nourison’s stock is manufactured in Asia, its new facilities and personnel at Hagaman Carpet in Georgia will help them bring more manufacturing to the U.S., as it is well-suited to produce luxury wool carpet — a durable and color-vibrant favorite among top decorators.
The Georgia warehouse also helps decrease costs of trucking — with the weight of rugs being so heavy, it makes more sense for cross-country truckers to work with both the Georgia and New Jersey locations, as well as with Nourison’s showrooms in Atlanta, New York City and Las Vegas.
Soon, Peykar believes Nourison will need even more New Jersey offices.
“It’s something we are always contemplating,” he said. “We may be reaching out to the state in the near future to learn more about what they can do for us.”
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The biz in brief
Headquarters: Saddle Brook
Employees: More than 150 in New Jersey; about 400 in the U.S.; 3,000 worldwide.
One more thing: In addition to manufacturing in Asia, Nourison also has global sales and marketing offices in Zurich, Switzerland, to service leading rug galleries, department stores and specialty retailers throughout Europe, Russia and the Middle East.