Case Studies

Acme Floor Co. Inc.: Quality Flooring with Exemplary Service

  • Written by: Acme Floor Co. Inc.: Quality Flooring with Exemplary Service
  • Produced by: Acme Floor Co. Inc.: Quality Flooring with Exemplary Service
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Ben Kenney founded Acme Flooring Co. Inc. (Acme) in 1926 out of a small garage in Kansas. Initially Ben worked with his brother, Forrest Kenney, providing installation and maintenance for a number of flooring systems. Eventually Ben’s nephew, Robert, joined the Acme team. As time went on Robert took over the business and has since passed Acme down to his son, Robert Kenney II. For many years the team specialized in residential flooring, including carpets, tiles and hardwood. When Robert II took over in 1985, Acme was beginning to delve into gym flooring.

Robert II has a degree in structural engineering, a factor that informs his ability to provide safe and attractive gym floors. He has continued the practice of keeping the business in the family, and works with wife, Barbara, secretary and co-owner of Acme, and their two children. Emily Kenney-Moore, CFO and vice president, has been in the family business for 21 years. She manages the numbers side of the business, specializing in accounting, payroll and human resources. Her brother, Brian Kenney, vice president of operations at Acme, has a background in carpentry and construction management, also boasting years of experience.

Gym floor installation has become a major source of revenue for the company. “We install, sand, stain and refinish solid, hardwood flooring,” says Emily. “We also have a wholly owned subsidiary, Missouri Hardwood Products, and 45 people work at our mill in Brighton, Mo.”

Acme’s Brighton mill processes hardwoods from the Ozark forest. A variety of wood offers Acme customers durability, with tight grain and consistent color and texture. The subsidiary utilizes technologically advanced systems for cutting and drying, resulting in consistent quality and efficient operations.

A Durable Reputation

Consultation for all of Acme’s divisions is also offered. Commercial and residential clients can choose from a wide variety of wood patterns, cuts and grains. The team helps customers design a flooring system that meets structural needs while complementing a home or business’ aesthetic personality. With its own processing facilities, Acme is equipped to offer custom solutions at competitive prices. Clients can peruse the showroom and choose from prefinished wood floors, rift and quartered boards, hand-scraped wood floods, or specialty wide planks. The service department is available to refinish hardwood surfaces, offering a fresh look or just restoration of an original aesthetic.

A job well done is the best marketing tool any business can utilize, and Acme’s work advertises itself. The company employs some of the most experienced gym floor professionals in the region and it shows. “We installed the gym floor at the University of Missouri,” explains Emily. “When the University of Kansas’ basketball team played there, they liked it so much that they asked us to replace the floor at their facilities.” Universities often become repeat clients, and the University of Kansas again contracted Acme to update its training facilities and practice gym. The Acme team has also recently completed a 37,000-square foot gym floor at Pittsburg State University.

The hardwood flooring used in gymnasiums is similar to those used to construct stages in performing arts centers. The company’s experience with hardwood has opened up doors to new sectors. In Nebraska the team installed the hardwood flooring at the Omaha Performing Arts Center during new construction on the facilities that included flooring for the audience area as well as the stage.

“That was a really interesting project,” says Emily. “The flooring was on a curve, almost in a bowl shape.” The complex project led to referrals, and when the Kaufmann Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo., was under construction, Acme picked up the contract, covering floors in two auditoriums with high-quality, durable hardwood.

“The Kaufmann Center has been the largest project in company history,” says Emily. “We were actually featured in a number of magazines for this one. It also involved curved flooring and there was a lot of detail work. The Kauffman Center presented us with an award for our work.”

Going Up

The recent economic recession has had an impact on Acme, but the company has carved out an irreplaceable niche in the industry. “Our customers are not as willing to pay in a timely manner as they once were,” explains Emily. “What used to be a 30-day period has become 60 days. Otherwise, we’re very happy with the season we had in 2012, especially with gym projects. These projects are usually restricted to June through September. The commercial side is picking up too, but residential is still a little slow.”

With mounting success, the business is growing along with its customer base. “We’re expanding our operations at Missouri Hardwood Products,” says Emily. “We’re building a new flooring line down there. We’ve also installed a new stacker down at the mill to automate the process instead of having our workers stacking lumber by hand.” Emily also anticipates continued growth of Acme’s commercial division. “The market for new construction is on an incline,” she elaborates.

The team will continue to dominate sports flooring from two locations in Kansas. The corporate staff of 65 keeps operations running smoothly at the showroom and offices in Lenexa, and after four generations the company is not slowing down. Emily and Brian are in the family business for the long haul, and Emily says there may be another generation of family ownership. “Brian has two children,” she says. “The oldest is nine and he is already learning about the business.” Acme Flooring Co. Inc. offers the capabilities of a larger company with a family feel, combining expertise with friendly, accessible service.

Published on: March 4, 2013

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