California lifestyle brands from the 1960’s. Today, Hang Ten continues to be one of the top youth brands in stores located
in over 70 countries. The company’s famous logo—two gold, barefoot soles—is still making fashion waves on contemporary, casual
apparel. Keeping the brand “cool” for generations of beachgoers and surfer wannabes requires trendy clothes plus expert merchandising
savvy. The international company’s latest U.S. store design is evocative of a beachside town, complete with weathered wood,
decorative wall paneling and fixtures. Underfoot, Armstrong’s new NATURAL CREATIONS Woods Collection supports the beachy keen
style with flooring that has a natural wood look and all the cost and performance benefits of luxury vinyl tile.
The U.S. design firm, Tricarico Architecture and Design PC of Wayne, New Jersey, was challenged with creating a design for
Hang Ten’s new prototype store in the Willowbrook (N.J.) Shopping Mall. Designer Valerie Valmas says, “We wanted the store
to resemble its seaside roots. We sourced a company to supply reclaimed barnwood for a rustic, natural looking interior. But,
real wood couldn’t give us the combination of aesthetics, cost and easy maintenance we wanted. “Recognizing that today’s resilient
floor design options and performance features are anything but washed up, the design team evaluated a number of luxury vinyl
tile products offered in wood visuals. Valmas says they preferred the Armstrong product because, “We really liked the look
and how it was uniquely different in appearance from other vinyl wood flooring on the market. It has a lot of depth to it
and looks very real. When we showed the sample to the client, they loved it too! “
Valmas specified NATURAL CREATIONS™ Woods Collection in Antique Wood Light. The six inch wide, 36 inch long beveled planks
have “just the authentic, real-wood weathered look we were seeking to support the design concept,” says Valmas. “The color
picks up the cocoa brown and plantain yellow color palette used in finishes throughout the store,” she adds. Antique Wood
Light is one of 34 colors across 22 species, covering a range of traditional, exotic and rustic wood visuals. The NATURAL CREATIONS product line includes wood tick, rustic, barn side and saw cut textures that are inherently found in natural wood planks.
Valmas comments, “We like the coordinating design range and proposed some custom insets that used a number of colors and textures,
but unfortunately, these were eliminated due to budget.” Even as a one-color installation, NATURAL CREATIONS flooring delivers
an eyecatching, sophisticated and durable design. The product was created to meet the distinctive design needs of North American
specialty and mass retail environments. The 20 mil vinyl wear layer is abrasion-resistant and easy to maintain.
Surfers know that timing makes the difference between catching a hang ten ride or wiping out. Timing also made all the difference
for the selection of NATURAL CREATIONS flooring at the new Hang Ten® store. Valmas says, “Armstrong was introducing this product
to specifiers at the exact time I was working on this project and looking at various luxury vinyl tile options. Timing is
everything!” In addition to Valmas’ team liking the new product, they knew they could count on Armstrong to supply installation
and maintenance information as well as products to support the product introduction. “The regional Armstrong representative
provided direct assistance to us throughout the specification and installation process,” confirms Valmas. Hang Ten management
says the floor looks great. “We have ceramic tile in the first eight to ten feet of the store, which is dictated by mall management.
When the customer walks off that hard surface and on to the resilient flooring, it not only looks fantastic, it feels good,
too,” confirms a company spokesperson. The new design concept featuring NATURAL CREATIONS flooring in the New Jersey store is now in other stores that have opened over the past few months. Valmas thinks, “If Hang
Ten remains happy with the look, wearability, cleanability and price, we expect these floors to perform until the renovation
cycle dictates a change. That could be five to seven years.” In retail lifetimes, that’s equivalent to an endless summer,