When people look back on 2010, they will remember a year that was not particularly kind from a business standpoint. They’ll talk about the economy, sales and profitability. Not me. Here’s what my memory is telling me about the year.
I remember presenting Sandy Mishkin, president of CCA Global Partners, with FCNews’ first Lifetime Achievement Award on the evening of Carpet One’s 25th anniversary gala. I’ll always remember his tears of joy at receiving the recognition he so richly deserved. On a lesser note, I will always remember the evening’s entertainment, Natalie Cole, and trying to sneak home on a 10 p.m. Amtrak, only to arrive at Union Station to find the train 45 minutes late and then get stuck in the Penn Station tunnel for two hours.
I remember the hope I saw in Congoleum CEO Roger Marcus’ face sometime in the spring, when over a couple of steaming bowls of soup he told me the company would finally be exiting bankruptcy before summer solstice. He had made the predictions before, but this one seemed to have legs. Sure enough, Nostradamus’ prognostication was realized. It was about time some of the nicest people in the industry could break out the Doom.
I remember the sadness upon learning that Wilsonart was exiting the flooring business. I thought about my first trip to Temple, Texas, having lunch at the some hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint with then-president Bill Reeb. I thought about the cocktails with former president Curt Thompson, but most importantly I thought about the current employees, many of which I developed friendships.
I remember the times I spent in 2010 with Team Beaulieu—Ralph Boe, Patricia Flavin, Jeff Meadows, Casey Johnson et al. Whether it be dinners at Cornerstone or a day at the races in Saratoga, the Dowager Queen of racetracks, you’d be hard pressed to find yourself in the company of better people.
I remember the pair of National Floorcovering Alliance conventions in Banff and Puerto Rico. Tough life, I know. But let me tell you this: Spend a few days with many of the top retailers in the country and a who’s who of high-level industry executives and it’s like eating brain food.
I remember visiting Tuftex, where for the first time in the 16-plus years I’ve been covering this industry it opened its doors to tell its story.
I remember how the industry came together to mourn the loss of one of its own, Sonna Calandrino, and then celebrate her life at an unprecedented get-together in Dalton.
I remember meeting Anthony Minite, president of Bentley Prince Street, for the first time at the CARE conference in Santa Fe, N.M. Not only does he run a great company, but I challenge you to find a nicer guy. I consider myself lucky to call him a friend.