Gearing Up For the Shows: Three large flooring shows kick off 2019 with new products - Dec 2018

By Beth Miller

With the addition of Domotex’s U.S.-based show and the new streamlined format offered by The International Surface Event (TISE), exhibitors and attendees alike have a lot to look forward to next year. In addition, CCA Global will offer its members back-to-back shows from Flooring America and Carpet One at its January Winter Convention.

Taking place January 22 to 25, with the expo starting on the 23rd, the Surfaces show will again be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each year, manufacturers launch new products and accessories, and Informa Exhibitions, the owner of the event, offers attendees a wide range of educational courses.

The show continues to grow each year. Last year, TISE covered 450,000 square feet, and according to Amie Gilmore, show director, this year will be no exception. In addition to the increase in the number of vendors, some are investing in larger spaces, adding to the show’s overall growth. While Informa will not have a final count on vendors or attendees until closer to show time, the exhibitor number for 2018 was just over 700 and, when this issue went to press, it stood at 640 for 2019. Gilmore reports that rooms at the Mandalay Bay are already sold out for one of the show nights-a strong indicator for a high number of attendees.

Anderson Tuftex is back for a second year and will just have wrapped up at Shaw’s Connect 2019 show in Anaheim, California, running January 16 and 17. Tarkett and WF Taylor return after skipping a year. American OEM is returning for a second year.

The show is also making some changes in its education program. In an effort to simplify the process for attendees, Informa Exhibitions scaled the education courses down to three paths: “Suits” is a set of courses aimed at attendees with a business focus, “Hammer + Nails” targets installers, and “Creatives” offers education for designers and architects. Previously, attendees were locked in to a particular education path, but this year, rather than choosing a specific track, attendees are simply purchasing a pass to attend all education courses and can attend anything they are interested in within the three paths. All of these come together under the new program name-Converge. To encourage this coming together, a happy hour will take place on Tuesday to promote conversation after a full day of education courses.

The Design & Installation Showcase Hub, abbreviated as DISH and sponsored by Floor Focus/FloorDaily, highlights what’s new and on-trend in design, installation and products. DISH hosts events Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the show, a full listing of which can be found Surfaces Education Program Guide.

With the new education schedule comes new speakers. While some veteran speakers will be returning, the new ones include Leatrice Eiseman, head of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. She will speak on “Focusing on the Future: An In-Depth Look at the Leading Color and Design Trends.” A three-part series on “Building Your Business” will be offered by Nancy Giangeruso, owner of Nancy G. Consulting and vice president of Design Centers-West for Interior Specialists. Speaking on the color of the year will be Melissa Blanchenay, who has been focused on interior finishes for over 18 years and has represented companies like Kohler, Kallista and Benjamin Moore. Covering the app and technology portion of the education schedule is Jim Spellos, president of Meeting U., an organization devoted to helping people become more productive and comfortable with technology.

Another change for 2019 is the addition of audio tours to the education schedule. These are available via the show’s mobile app and will offer attendees valuable information, like pointing out which vendors are new for 2019, helping those who do not have a plan of attack for the show, and highlighting some of the trendiest products selected by Scarlet Opus, a forecasting and design firm.

Last year, the Installation Showcase went from a two-stage to a three-stage format, with one devoted to exhibitors performing product demos, a second stage for association-driven demos and the third reserved for designers-and the 2019 show will continue with this same format. “It worked really well,” says Gilmore. “We try to stagger the schedule where nothing is overlapping. You can go over [to the Installation Showcase] any given time, and chances are something is going on.”

The Emerging Professionals Happy Hour will also return in 2019, of which Floor Focus is an official sponsor. Taking place at the Border Grill, this event allows “emerging professionals,” age 40 and under, an opportunity to network and connect.

This year, the Las Vegas Market (LVM), a cross-category showcase of furniture, bedding, lighting, flooring and home décor, is taking place after Surfaces, running January 27 to 31. According to Gilmore, though an alignment between the two expos would be a great bonus offering again this year, it came down to simply a matter of availability at the locations where the shows are based.

The day before Surfaces, the National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) will host its annual January meeting. This meeting is pivotal to the organization as it is one of only three taking place each year and garners 100% participation by members. According to Jeff Macco, co-owner of Macco’s Floor Covering in Green Bay, Wisconsin and a past officer of the NFA, long-term decisions are made during the meeting, which also features a specialty vendor expo. The expo is a private showing of specialty vendors to the NFA members that might not attend the other meetings. As for the show itself, Macco says, “From a cost standpoint, it is a tremendous value; we can see everything we need to see from our core vendors as well as get a broader perspective from the trade show floor.”

According to Phil Koufidakis, president of Arizona-based Baker Bros and another NFA member, the benefits of attending the show are “staying up-to-date on the latest trends and products, being able to see the broad-based offerings of a company rather than a product or two here or there, re-connecting with other retailers as well as management team members from the suppliers, and finding new and interesting items and suppliers.” To those on the fence about attending the show, he adds, “If you are serious about your business, you should make the time to attend at least one of the shows and work it.”

“Surfaces is all about product introductions and what’s new.” Gilmore says, “Everyone holds tight to their new products and photos until they get there. If you want to see what’s new and you want to see what the trends are going to be, then you need to come to Surfaces.”

In its inaugural U.S. event, February 28 to March 2, Hannover Fairs’ Domotex show will take place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia World Congress Center. Two-hundred exhibitors have booked 90,000 square feet of space at press time with even more expected. In its first year, this global show is attracting exhibitors from around the world, and the show is managing a balance of 50/50 domestic versus international. Anticipated attendance for the first year is about 6,000 to 8,000.

The strategic location secured by the show’s owners was chosen based in part on research that determined that the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. has not historically made the trip to Las Vegas for Surfaces. Ray Bianchi, VP of events/business development with Hannover Fairs, says, “And based on registration demographics so far, that is who is signing up.”

One day prior to the opening of the expo, the show is offering plant tours of Shaw, Engineered Floors, Dixie Group and Beauflor-all just north of Atlanta in the Dalton, Georgia area. Participants will have the opportunity to tour operations at all four companies.

The show layout is spread out across two exhibit halls and broken down into four categories: flooring technology and systems; carpet and rugs; hardwood, resilient, laminate and outdoor; and handmade rugs. Show director Donna Busse, says, “We anticipate [rugs] to be a part of the show moving forward. It’s a specialty area in the Domotex Hannover event, and I think the rug participants-rug manufacturers and importers-are excited about having a national show to feature those products.”

Card-Monroe, Tuftco, Sherwin Williams, RFMS and Measure Square are just a few of the exhibitors in the flooring technology area.

According to Bianchi, “We have a large group of international vendors who have not exhibited in the United States.” These exhibitors come from Europe, the Middle East, India, Turkey and China. Bianchi feels that what sets the Domotex show apart is the opportunity to connect companies that are looking for global sources and new products with a global partner. “We have exhibitors from different parts of the world who are choosing to use Domotex USA as their launch point into the United States market,” says Bianchi.

Domotex USA will also offer education courses focusing on topics such as digital marketing, the Millennial demographic, labor issues and the “key issues that keep retailers up at night.” The Thursday and Friday morning sessions are a marketing boot camp specifically targeted toward retailers. There will be 20 to 30 speakers across the various sessions and panels with six main speakers across the marketing program morning sessions.

Breakout sessions will focus on special interest topics; there will be some programming from the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) focused on wood flooring topics as well as sessions focused on designer topics. According to Busse, the topics were derived from attendee and exhibitor advisory board meetings and from the Floor Focus survey in the July issue, “Survey 2018: What the Retailers Think.”

“We are really listening to the industry as far as what their needs are and where retailers need the most help, with the objective to give them the toolkit needed to help them thrive in the flooring industry,” says Busse. “We are going for quality over quantity of content in this first year. We want to make sure we are addressing the topics that are of the most interest and will give our attendees the most value.”

Both Busse and Bianchi acknowledge Surfaces’ longstanding history and the level of respect it has garnered over the years; however, the goal for the Domotex USA show is to create a global experience for its exhibitors and attendees. Bianchi adds, “Once we establish that Domotex is the gold standard for flooring shows in the U.S., then going forward we’ll continue to build on that reputation and make it a must-attend event in the country. We’ve got the best show in Asia right now, the best show in Europe and for the world in Hannover, and now we’d like to build the very best show for the United States.”

Macco has been attending Surfaces since it resided in The Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Illinois. He recalls how attending the show there grew pricier overall, and the move to Las Vegas provided a better value to attendees. With that in mind, Macco admits, “If it’s a better value and we can get the same benefit to go to Atlanta versus Las Vegas we might make a switch.”

For its inaugural event, the Domotex USA show will provide attendees with three education avenues to choose from. The education sessions schedule is still in the process of being solidified and will be finalized in the weeks leading up to the show.

The Signature Sessions will take place the morning of February 28 and March 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. These particular sessions are an option when registering.

Thursday session: Go to Market to Win will cover various marketing solutions for the retailer as well as current trends in retail. This session addresses the need of retailers to understand how to deal with intense competition.

Friday session: The focus is how to compete in the new reality of retail through digital marketing. Here, attendees will learn how to take advantage of technology, advertise on Google and boost SEO for their websites. Threats like Amazon (e-comm) and Lumber Liquidators (big box) will be addressed.

Plaza sessions will be offered on the show floor in a special area. These sessions are free and will provide presenters with a platform to cover a wide range of areas that are important to dealers such as:
• best practices in installation
• how to protect margins
• digital marketing
• a panel discussion on going to market
• current design and color trends

Lastly, the Breakout sessions will be held off the show floor and cover topics like wood flooring and decorating tips.

CCA Global’s Flooring America, Flooring Canada, Floor Trader and ProSource shows are taking place January 13 through 15, and Carpet One Floor & Home runs January 15 to 17. Both events will take place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

The exhibit hall will cover 180,000 square feet and offer education classes and outside speakers. Last year, attendees numbered 3,200, with 500 independent floorcovering retailers onsite. Allison Weiner, merchandising manager with H.J. Martin and Son in Green Bay, Wisconsin, says, “I always enjoy attending the design trends meetings along with anything to do with product. We always want to stay on the forefront of design and have the latest and greatest to add to our showroom.”

Carpet One Floor & Home put on its first show in 1985, with Flooring America coming onboard in 2000. The original focus of both shows was and continues to be: to bring members together to learn, introduce new programs and products, and network with other members. “Carpet One does a great job of negotiating exclusive lines for us and introducing new programs,” says Weiner. “I really enjoy brain storming with the other Carpet One owners and managers. It is nice to get perspective from other regions of the country and see what they are doing to improve their businesses.”

Following the Flooring America and Carpet One shows is the International Design Guild (IDG) Summit, taking place January 22 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. IDG is made up of luxury flooring retailers that come together to exchange marketing, merchandising and operations best practices. In 2018, attendees totaled 100.

The Design for a Difference program, where local charities in the U.S. and Canada are the recipients of much-needed makeovers, will expand in 2019 to include a brand refresh, new websites and more resources to promote member involvement.

Copyright 2018 Floor Focus 

Related Topics:NWFA Expo, RD Weis, ID Group, Lumber Liquidators, Tuftex, Carpet One, Tuftco, Domotex, Anderson Tuftex, Tarkett, The International Surface Event (TISE), Shaw Industries Group, Inc., National Flooring Alliance (NFA), Engineered Floors, LLC