NAFCD Interview with Scott Mountford
Article below from NAFCD.
Mountford Brings “Never Give Up” Attitude to Yorkshore Sales & Marketing
Scott Mountford is the founder of Yorkshore Sales & Marketing Inc., having started the Maine-based company in 2002. In the last 17 years, he and his staff have built the firm into a thriving business that offers broad array of commercial flooring products for businesses, hospitals and schools. Mountford knows what it means to be a boss and an employee, having previously worked in the construction industry for more than a decade before becoming an entrepreneur.
He sat down with us recently to discuss the challenges our industry faces for the remainder of the year, touching on everything from labor to transportation costs.
NAFCD: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
SCOTT MOUNTFORD: I have spent a large portion of my life working in and around the construction industry. After living in Texas and Florida, I moved back to my native state of Maine where, in 2002, I started Yorkshore Sales & Marketing Inc. as a facility supply company. At that time, flooring was a small part of our total sales. Within a few years, flooring sales grew exponentially, and I decided to start Anchor Floor & Supply Co., to manage the supply product business and focus Yorkshore entirely on commercial flooring and sales and distribution. We currently serve Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire and are in the process of expanding as we pursue nationwide accounts.
NAFCD: How would you describe your primary customer profile and product mix?
SM: Initially, Yorkshore Sales & Marketing’s clientele was mostly healthcare facilities. We have since broadened our efforts to include hospitality, education and retail. Our product mix reflects the importance of providing high-quality, durable, and low-maintenance flooring products. These include sheet vinyl, LVT, wood, carpet, and rubber as well as subfloor preparation solutions.
NAFCD: You are primarily a commercial flooring distributor, yes? What trends/challenges do you see in the months ahead that our readers should be aware of?
SM: Our primary focus for Yorkshore Sales & Marketing is to offer the highest quality flooring products available in the industry, backed by a knowledgeable team of flooring experts who assist clients through the entire purchase and installation process. The market has been flooded with cheaper, inferior products, which makes it more important than ever to distinguish ourselves with products that provide apparent value with long-term, proven cost savings.
NAFCD: How does your Anchor Floor & Supply subsidiary fit into your overall approach to the market?
SM: Anchor Floor & Supply fits within our approach to the market by supplying general facility management products to our Yorkshore Sales & Marketing customers and general local construction business. We currently have a storefront that offers tools, dust containment, floor protection, and supplies for flooring installers as well as products that meet the [Infection Control Risk Assessment, or IRCA] requirements for remodeling projects in hospitals and other healthcare buildings. We are also excited to announce that we have recently expanded Anchor Floor & Supply into residential flooring markets and are currently partnering with retail stores.
NAFCD: How is the labor market in your service area? Has it been challenging to recruit new talent?
SM: There is not much I can say about the current labor force, as I am sure we are all facing the same obstacle as skilled and professional labor is an unfortunate dying art. However, we have been fortunate in our ability to find talented staff in the regions where we have a presence. It is always a challenge to recruit the best personnel for your company, but I am very excited about the team we have assembled. We have a very good mix of experienced employees who have years of first-hand flooring experience, as well as younger employees who are eager to learn and can apply new techniques with a fresh outside perspective.
NAFCD: Transportation costs, in general, have been rising steadily for distributors across all channels. What are you experiencing in this area, and how are you addressing this dynamic?
SM: Rising transportation costs can make it difficult for our clientele to anticipate the expenses incurred in the delivery of goods. We have implemented policies that have allowed us to mitigate this uncertainty by standardizing our shipping charges, insulating them from fluctuating costs. These policies have also helped our sales representatives tremendously as they can send estimates much quicker and focus on what is important — selling!
NAFCD: Have you implemented any new technologies or innovative approaches that you are particularly proud of and would be willing to share with our readers?
SM: We have recently added a customer relationship management (CRM) system as a tool for our sales force. This new CRM system helps manage customer data, support sales management, deliver actionable insights, and facilitate team communication. This has helped us tremendously both internally with team communication and setting objectives, as well as externally with organizing client data and calculating customer lifetime value.
NAFCD: Was there a piece of advice that was given to you earlier in your career that’s really stuck with you?
SM: The best advice that I was ever given was “never give up.” Persistence, pursuing paths of opportunity when presented, and being open to change have been my three keys to survival in business.
NAFCD: What do you consider to be the favorite part of your job?
SM: The personal relationships that I have developed through the years. These relationships have been incredible and long-lasting, which bring me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction in my work. Some of my greatest friendships started out as business associates. I am very fortunate for all the connections that I’ve made and greatly look forward to creating more. Additionally, working with my staff has been very rewarding, and I take great pride in their efforts and success.
NAFCD: What do you still find hard or challenging?
SM: The constant changes that occur in the marketplace. The ability to anticipate the needs and shifting design trends of our customers is crucial to our longevity and continued success. Listening to our customers and maintaining constant communication with our manufacturers has helped us position ourselves ahead of design trends and customer preferences.
NAFCD: Finally, how has NAFCD been of value to you personal and your firm in general relative to education and training, networking, best practices, your relationship with suppliers, and so forth?
SM: Having attended all the big shows both local and abroad, it felt like you could only see so many new products and/or meet so many new potential vendors. Honestly, it became very exhausting even though a must for our growing business. After attending an NAFCD conference, the value was clearly evident in the education segments and the association with our peer distributors. FINALLY something I could take with me! I have to admit that it took some convincing to get me to attend initially as I figured NAFCD was just like all the rest. However, I am excited to say we are sending three key people to [the University of Innovative Distribution, or UID] this year, and I am anxious to see everyone in New Orleans this November.