30 Years of Innovative Flooring from Novalis®

Aug 15, 2018 | AVA Blog

1988 was a momentous year. It was an Olympic Year, with the Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea and the Winter Games in Calgary, Canada. The U.S. Space Shuttle program resumed, Australia celebrated its bicentennial, and Stephen Hawking published “A Brief History of Time.”

In 1988, another historic milestone occurred; one that would forever change the flooring industry on a global scale. Because on August 8, 1988, the first container of LVT to leave China set sail for the United States, courtesy of the Wu family, owners of Novalis®.

In the 30 years since, luxury vinyl flooring has become the fastest-growing type of floor covering worldwide. In America alone, one report states that the LVT category grew by 28.3% this year over 2017, with no signs of slowing down.

Novalis® is still a leading manufacturer of resilient brands, including its own NovaFloor® brand for specialty retailers, its AVA® brand for commercial specifications and its STAINMASTER® Luxury Vinyl, as well as a host of private label products. Novalis® operates one of the largest single LVT factories in China and is poised to double its size over the next three years. And over the past 30 years, Novalis® has consistently been the first manufacturer in China to achieve ISO quality certifications as well as the first to receive every environmental credential in the industry.

Novalis® LVT was just what the Doctor ordered

In the mid-1980s, Dr. Z.L. Wu, a Hong Kong physician, determined that too many natural raw materials were being consumed to make flooring and that resilient flooring—specifically luxury vinyl flooring—would be a more practical solution. He recognized then what millions of people now know, that LVT would be a versatile, cost-efficient flooring alternative that could easily be made in China. From that vision, Novalis® Innovative Flooring was born.

“At that time, vinyl flooring was mostly being manufactured in other countries for the DIY home center markets. My father saw an opportunity to make vinyl flooring more cost effective in China and put out a better product,” said John Wu, president and CEO of Novalis®.

By 1987, Novalis® had built the first LVT manufacturing plant in China and soon became the first to achieve ISO 9001 certification for quality assurance. It was also one of the first manufacturers in China to attain ISO 14001 certification for green business requirements during the production process.

The next generation for Novalis®

When Dr. Wu began planning his retirement, his children CC and John joined the family business in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Both had finished their university degrees in Toronto, Canada, and had already achieved their own professional success outside of the family business. John became president and CEO of Novalis® while his sister CC took the reins as COO.

In less than 20 years under John and CC’s leadership, Novalis® Innovative Flooring changed in two profound ways. It became a global brand and it became a leader in sustainability.

Global expansion for Novalis®

From 2001 through 2009, Novalis® opened offices in Toronto, Canada; Charlotte (Mooresville), North Carolina, USA; and Bonn, Germany. Sales for Novalis® flooring subsequently spread across six continents and 50 countries. As the LVT industry grew, Novalis® grew with it and spearheaded many of the resilient advancements that are taken for granted today. In particular was the growing focus Novalis® gave to the environment.

Sustainable leadership by Novalis®

“Novalis® really decided to become a leader in transparency. To us it’s all about knowing what’s in our product, sharing that with people and working to make our products healthier every day,” said John Wu.

Novalis® has achieved remarkable success in the area of sustainable manufacturing practices and healthier products. In 2014, Novalis® became the first vinyl flooring manufacturer in China with Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and Health Product Declaration (HPD), while also adopting the Declare labeling program and winning the GreenStep Asia Award for Green Process.

Novalis® developed its own bio-based plasticizer formula in order to go 100% ortho-phthalate-free in all of its products—well ahead of the industry. And just this past year, Novalis® introduced its first PVC-free sheet flooring under its AVA® label.

For Novalis®, it’s all about transparency in the quest for sustainable progress

“We want to share with our consumers and partners. To us, nothing is a secret. Everything is knowledge, and we all need to know where we are today so we can get better tomorrow,” said John Wu.

Innovation from Novalis®

Novalis® is one of the very few LVT manufacturers in China that produces and brands its own products. Since that first container of LVT shipped out back in 1988, Novalis® has advanced the art and science of LVT across installation methods, visual design, sizes, shapes and protective coatings. And now Novalis® offers one of the most extensive lineups of WPC and SPC products in the industry.

“None of our success would be possible without the dedication of our Novalis® team, some of the finest, most talented flooring professionals in the world. And it certainly would not be possible without the trust and partnership of our valued customers,” said John Wu.

Where will Novalis® be in the next 30 years? If the last 30 years are any indication, it will likely be beneath your feet in your home, office, store, gym, restaurant, school, clinic, or anywhere you live, work or play.

If it isn’t there already!

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