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What happens in Vegas...rolls over to River Falls

Representatives of Magma Flooring, its parent company Interfacial Solutions, 949 Antler Ct,and the city of River Falls were present for a ribbon-cutting event Feb. 19 at Magma Flooring’s new facility, 283 Troy St. The company creates plastic sheeting material from recycled plastic, primarily for use in flooring material. Shown, from left are Mayor Dan Toland; Todd Sarnstrom Sr.; Vance Zins; Gregg Bennett (cutting the ribbon); Brian Szymanski; and Interfacial Solutions founder Jeff Cernohous. 1 / 2
Magma Flooring’s new manufacturing facility has allowed the company to begin operations. Magma received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research SBIR)grant from the National Science foundation. 2 / 2

Gregg Bennett and Jeff Cernohous came up with the idea for the new company, Magma Flooring LLC, while in Las Vegas two years ago.

“It’s exciting to see a new plant become operation. Everything in there is clean and beautiful,” Bennett said. “It’s going to open up the door for us to further innovate and tailor the product.”

Bennett, now CEO of Magma Flooring, and Cernohous, Interfacial Solutions founder -- both firms are in River Falls -- were attending a concrete show in Las Vegas featuring prototype plastic concrete forms.

These are structures similar to molds that help builders create building foundations, or create concrete building structures.

“The manufacturing company that helped us make the prototype forms has a long history in the flooring industry,” Bennett said. “The largest flooring show in the U.S. was happening concurrently, and they asked that Jeff and I stop by to meet with some flooring manufacturers.”

Bennett of Hudson, and Cernohous of River Falls, learned the recycled plastic material they had planned to use for concrete forms could possibly be used as a green and environmentally friendly replacement for PVC -- a plastic used to make luxury vinyl floor tile.

Bennett and Cernohous combined some technologies and ideas started at Interfacial Solutions in Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park of River Falls and created a product that could be used to make flooring -- and, also, a new company: Magma Flooring LLC.

It took two years to raise the money, build the company and develop the product. This was done in Germany at a manufacturing plant called TechnoPartner Samtronic (TPS).

Then the project arc crossed back into River Falls.

And last Wednesday, Feb. 19, Magma Flooring, LLC, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new facility at 283 Troy St. Manufacturing began last week.

Magma Flooring uses post-industrial plastic scraps -- the pieces left over when plastic products are cut out of a sheet of plastic -- to create its own plastic product that can be used in flooring.

Magma also uses volcanic ash in some products in order to achieve certain properties.

Bennett said that volcanic ash gave Magma Flooring its name.

Whether a Magma product contains volcanic ash will depend on what customers need. Bennett said Magma manufactures products based on what is ordered.

“We compound it and design it and engineer it in a way that’s going to ultimately make the customer satisfied.” Bennett said.

Those customers are mostly finished flooring manufacturers.

“Our product is only one component that goes into a finished floor,” Bennett said. “They will buy this component as a replacement for PVC and then do the rest of the work that’s needed.”

For the complete story, please see the Feb. 27 print edition of the River Falls Journal. 

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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