Al’s column

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by FCNews Staff

WESTERN GAINS: Seems like the move to Las Vegas paid off for Coverings and the tile industry. Show officials said one of the key objectives in shifting the tile and stone show to the Sands Expo & Convention Center was to “attract more attendees from the West Coast where tile and stone have always found a receptive market.” While overall attendance at 19,000 was a “slight dip” from 2010 when the show was held in Orlando, Fla., officials said there was a 71% increase in attendees from the West Coast states, including a “massive increase” from California alone, plus an 82% increase from the Rocky Mountain region states. Plus, with more than 800 exhibitors, over 100 first-timers were present.

MORE GAINS: Another interesting figure to emerge from the 2011 Coverings is 500,000— as in half a million pounds. That is the amount of surplus and used tile and stone which were ultimately diverted from the dumpsters thanks to the show’s collaboration with Tile Partners for Humanity. Collected from exhibitors after building their displays and at the conclusion of the show, these discards are being reused in Habitat for Humanity and other worthy building projects undertaken by non-profit community organizations and public agencies benefiting the disadvantaged nationwide. Mountain Re-Source Center aided in the collection. Next year’s Coverings returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando April 17 to 20 and organizers report 90% of the space is already sold, and that includes the show floor being expanded “to keep up with the demands of those interested in exhibiting.”

BUILDER BRANDS: When it comes to builders, they go with the brands they know and trust. When it comes to hard surface flooring, specifically resilient, laminate and wood, it seems as if two brands stick out the most: Armstrong and Bruce. That is according to Builder magazine’s 2011 Brand Use Study. The Armstrong brand swept all fields for the No. 1 vote in vinyl and laminate by the magazine’s readers, while Bruce was the frontrunner in the wood sector. In both vinyl and laminate, Armstrong was touted for its Brand Familiarity, Brands Used in Past Two Years, Brands Used the Most and Quality Rating. Bruce received top marks in Brand Familiarity, Brands Used in Past Two Years and Brands Used the Most.

DISTINCTION: With more than 100,000 readers, winning Builder’s Brand Use Survey is quite an accomplishment. But is it not new to the two Armstrong World Industries brands. Warren Nesbitt, Builder’s publisher, noted Armstrong has earned the top position in the builder survey for several years. “The Armstrong brand, as well as its products, is well-known and highly-regarded among the builders we have surveyed over the past 20 years…To the extent that Armstrong has done so well in this study over time, I can only guess its leadership position is one that is envied by other brands in the flooring category, and even perhaps by brands in other product categories. It’s impressive, and it matters to our 100,000-plus readers who link brand leadership with product performance and value to homebuilders.”

GOOD NEWS: GoodWeave, one of the main organizations that is helping to eradicate child labor in rug making countries such as Nepal, India and Pakistan, is getting its work noticed in a big way. Cable News Network (CNN) has started airing a series called “Freedom Project” and it is aimed at exposing “modern slavery across the globe” by “telling the harrowing stories of children and others turned prey for profits.” The premier segment aired April 18 and featured GoodWeave’s innovative market-based solution to child slavery. For those interesting in seeing the piece it is archived on the CNN website,, along with a slideshow of images of GoodWeave’s Faces of Freedom photo exhibition.

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