Gearing up for Surfaces: Surfaces is a one-stop shop for flooring products and education - Dec 2017

By Beth Miller

The International Surface Event 2018 (TISE) will provide dealers and suppliers with new floorcovering products and accessories as well as a full range of educational courses. This year, the show runs from January 29 to February 1 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Last year, the show’s exposition area measured 420,000 square feet. And next month’s event will be the largest show to date, with 450,000 square feet of exhibitor space-a 7% increase over last year. The number of exhibitors has also grown, with over 800 expected for the 2018 event. Informa Exhibitions, the company responsible for the event, reports that the show is up 70 companies over last year. Several of the exhibitors are building new booths and investing in their displays. Each year the show seeks to be “bigger and better,” according to Amie Gilmore, show director.

The last time Shaw Industries attended Surfaces was in 2003. Following a 14-year hiatus, the floorcovering giant is returning to exhibit its premium Anderson Tuftex branded products. And American OEM plans to exhibit for the first time, showing under its new Hearthwood brand that it launched in April at the NWFA Expo. American OEM reports that it plans to continue to do private label programs through its American OEM name and will host private meetings at Surfaces for its clients in a conference room built into its booth.

The show itself has shifted from a Tuesday through Friday format to Monday through Thursday. This change now places Designer Day on Wednesday. The Installation Showcase on the show floor has been turned into a three-stage area with two installation stages and one design stage, replacing the Trends Hub. One stage is dedicated to the trade associations, where they will host demos showcasing their latest products, techniques, best practices and areas of concern. The second stage is devoted to the manufacturers, enabling them to host bigger audiences than their booths will allow. A trends area will be located on the third stage, where color, design and new products will be highlighted.

The show is partnering with Las Vegas Market (LVM) at the World Market Center once again to offer attendees another opportunity to experience new rugs, furnishings and soft goods. LVM, which runs from January 28 to February 1, is expected to bring about 40,000 people to its show. Reciprocal badging will be offered to allow attendees to travel between the shows seamlessly. Shuttle service will also be provided, making getting back and forth much easier. The last time the expo partnered with LVM was in 2015.

Floor Focus reached out to several dealers who have been attending Surfaces for many years to provide an insider point-of-view on what the show has to offer and why it is important for flooring dealers to attend. Nick Freadreacea, chairman of the WFCA and president/owner of The Flooring Gallery in Louisville, Kentucky, says, “Surfaces is the place where it all happens. Every manufacturer from every place on the planet shows at Surfaces, and it is the place where you can get a feel for what is really going on in the industry. You can almost see the future at Surfaces; a niche product one year may take the industry by storm the next year.”

Freadeacea has been attending Surfaces for over 20 years. Before committing to the Surfaces show, Freadreacea used to travel to shows in Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta. He explains, “At that time, the styles and prices would change from show to show, and you had to attend them all to make the best plan for the year.” According to Freadreacea, Surfaces is an opportunity to see everything in one place, eliminating the need for multiple shows and lots of travel time.

Carrie Seifert, president of Diversified Flooring in Edgewater, Florida, encourages dealers to attend the show in order to keep their business current, adding, “The only way you’re going to grow is by learning and by being inspired.” According to Seifert, the exhibitors are there to showcase some of the hottest and best products in the industry. Exposure to these products all in one place is a one-time opportunity.

Jim Walters, president of Macco’s Flooring in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has been attending the show since its inception. “I get invigorated by it,” he says. “It gets me thinking on different levels. When we are in our businesses day-in and day-out, we tend to get too focused and forget about getting up to 30,000 feet and taking a good look at the entire industry, seeing where our company is going and where it could go, and maybe even looking at some of the potential threats that could be out there to the way we are currently conducting business.” For Walters, Surfaces is a chance to meet up with both suppliers and retailers to do product research. He indicates that the event gives him the opportunity to look over products, ask questions and go home with new ideas to discuss.

According to Seifert, the show opened up a new world to her when selecting products for her store. Seifert says, “In the design world, your floor is your canvas.” She works with her clients to select flooring first and build their project literally from the ground up. Of her experience at the show, Seifert says, “I got so inspired because I realized being a mom and being interrupted constantly, I needed a timesaver. So I brought things [from Surfaces] into my business to help clients make better decisions.”

Unsure whether or not to attend? Freadreacea says, “Jump off the fence! This is the one event that is a must see. I can think of no other venue that is as expansive and offers materials from around the world in flooring. Add in the educational opportunities to keep you up to date with the latest trends in style and installation, and this is well worth your time. You will make your investment back many times over the next year, and in today’s environment, we all need to have a great return on our investments.”

Echoing Freadreacea, Walters adds, “Surfaces offers everything under the sun that you won’t see anywhere else. There’s just so much that you will never have the opportunity to see anywhere, at any show, at any time of the year.”

The Ignite education program will run from January 29 to 31 with a special focus this year on health and wellness design. Architects, designers, distributors, care and maintenance professionals, fabricators, installers, contractors and retailers can choose from a variety of courses and activities. There are 81 speakers/instructors lined up for the education sessions. Freadreacea encourages everyone to attend the courses. “You get to hear from a great group of speakers and see things that are outside the realm of what your local representation is able to bring you,” he says.

Informa Exhibitions reports that there are 25 new presenters for 2018. Among them, Grant Farnsworth of The Farnsworth Group, a custom market research firm out of Indianapolis, Indiana, will kick off the show with the “State of the Industry Report in the Residential and Commercial Markets.” Pam Danziger, author of Shops that POP! 7 Steps to Extraordinary Retail Success, will be presenting a case study of a flooring retailer in Pennsylvania-what it is doing to set it apart from the others-to help retailers understand how to personalize the in-store experience. To shed some light on new techniques to increase social media traffic, Jennifer Smiga and Shannon Winning of Marketing Rival-a PR, marketing and social media consulting firm-will provide tips on how to tell a story using photography paired with attention-grabbing writing.

The Trends Breakfast, back for a second year, will kick off on January 29 and is targeted toward designers and retailers. The courses set for Tuesday cover a wide range of topics tailored to retailers that includes sales advice, color and flooring trends, technical issues and how to remedy them, and marketing tips.

Sponsored by Floor Focus/FloorDaily and Houzz, Designer Day takes place on January 31 and hosts an entirely different set of course topics from last year’s show. “Hiding in Your Books: What Your Accountant is Not Telling You” kicks off the morning sessions, and “Health & Wellness Design: A Conversation with Four Top Designers” takes place just before the Designer Luncheon. Bea Pila, an interior designer, speaker and author out of Miami, Florida, will be speaking on “Opening the Door for Design Enlightenment” at the luncheon.

The Designer Off-Site Home Tour features a showcase home in Ascaya, a luxury community in Henderson built on a bluff about 2,500 feet above the Las Vegas Valley. Informa Exhibitions is working to secure two architects involved in the design and layout of Ascaya to speak to designers and architects concerning the Desert Contemporary design that is being incorporated into the build. Desert Contemporary design seeks to merge the surrounding environment with the home’s design.

In the mood for some entertainment? After all, it is Las Vegas. Performing at the Rio Hotel & Casino, Penn & Teller magicians/comedy duo will appear January 29 to 31. And David Copperfield will work his magic at the MGM Grand January 29 through February 2.

“Step back in time to the golden age of the circus with this mind-blowing new spectacular,” according to the Las Vegas Theater website. Circus 1903: The Golden Age of Circus is a nod to the Big Top, combining death-defying acts in a theatrical setting with full-size animal puppets. The event will be hosted at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino January 30 through February 2.

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino will be the location of the Michael Jackson: One Cirque du Soleil performance-the second project to be developed by The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil. Only a mile away, Cher, sometimes called the Goddess of Pop, will perform at the Monte Carlo on January 31.

The Backstreet Boys will appear on stage at The Axis at Planet Hollywood January 31. Also performing on that date is legendary guitarist Carlos Santana and his band, offering an Intimate Evening with Santana: The Greatest Hits at the famous House of Blues.

Copyright 2017 Floor Focus 

Related Topics:Anderson Tuftex, NWFA Expo, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., The International Surface Event (TISE), Tuftex