by Steve Feldman
Spring is less than a week away, so this is as good a time as any to reflect on the year to this point and look ahead a few months.
The first thing I want to make everyone aware of is our 25th anniversary issue, which will hit the streets May 23. We are expecting it to be a keepsake as it will chronicle the last quarter-century from all angles. If you’re a manufacturer, you will want to take advantage of the value-added advertising opportunities; if you’re a retailer or distributor, you will want to reserve extra copies.
Because of the death of this publication’s founder, Al Wahnon, I never had an opportunity to mention Surfaces in this space. I know we are nearly two months removed from the show, but I’ll just say this: People can comment on the attendance all they want; who knows whether is was up or down. But you know what? Who cares? What really matters is how the exhibitors viewed the show. So, after talking to about 50 of them, I am happy to say the show was very good. So many manufacturers achieved their goals. Some met and even picked up distributors. Others saw key accounts. Others were busy even on the final day. Those in the private showrooms did more.
Surfaces also was the stage for the presentation of FCNews’ second Lifetime Achievement Award. Ralph Boe was a most fitting recipient. Handing out the award at the general session, which featured “127 Hours” subject Aron Rolston, was the right venue. High-profile award at a high-profile event. We will probably do it again next year; just another reason to attend the Surfaces general session.
A few weeks after Surfaces I found myself in Reno, Nev., attending the annual Abbey convention after a four-year hiatus. The group may not get as much attention as say, a Carpet One, but they are equally as professional. They have some great members and the private-label programs are strong. Where Carpet One has Tigressa from Shaw, Abbey now has Softique from Mohawk. Jeff Lorberbaum, Mohawk’s CEO, made the trip to tell members how the exclusive product will make them more money.
My third cross-country trip of the year took me to the ReSource Commercial Flooring Network event in San Francisco. First time for me. These flooring contractors do not have it easy. This group will probably be the subject of an editorial in one of the next few issues, but I challenge anyone to find a segment of the industry that works as hard on such thin margins.