Al’s column

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by FCNews Staff

MEDIA TOUR: One of the many things the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) does to benefit the entire industry is its annual media tours to national shelter publications and magazines targeted to women. Chris Davis, president and CEO, said this is just one component of the organization’s consumer program, which is part of ongoing and aggressive programs designed to increase floor covering awareness. “We are continually looking for new opportunities to help educate consumers and raise awareness about flooring, and our national media tours are a central component. The opportunity to sit face to face with the very people who write the articles our customers read and care about is a priceless one,” adding, “The fruits of our labors are seen throughout the year.”

MORE ON TOUR: WFCA’s media tour is a robust effort that actually begins at Surfaces. To prepare for the tour, Davis said WFCA trend scouts selected “innovative products that launched at Surfaces” to share with editors. In total, WFCA contacted over 30 exhibitors from around the world to participate. The tour included visits to New York City and Des Moines, Iowa—homes to the key targeted publications—and this year it was expanded to the California press. It included stops to Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Interior Design, Ladies Home Journal, Country Living, Traditional Home, Family Circle, This Old House, Popular Mechanics, Windows, Walls & Floors, House Beautiful, Distinctive Kitchens & Baths, Parents, Better Homes & Gardens special interest divi- sion, Traditional Home, Renovation Style, Kitchen & Bath Ideas, Beautiful Homes, Remodeling Ideas,, Home Decorating & Design Books, Home Design, Midwest Living, and Meredith Corp. Books and Decorating.

GOOD RUGS: Helping broaden the fight against child labor, five more rug companies have joined Goodweave, an international nonprofit working to end the practice in the rug industry. There are now more than 80 North American importers using the Goodweave label, ensuring their products are not produced by children. “As participants, these companies help bring positive social change to the communities where their rugs are made and demonstrate a commitment to the quality and integrity that only a skilled adult weaver can bring to the craft of rug making,” said Nina Smith, executive director. Among its initiatives, Goodweave rescues, rehabilitates and educates child weavers and other at-risk children in weaving communities.

KIDS HELPING KIDS: It’s not just rug companies helping to make a difference in the fight against child labor. A student organization, Operation Day’s Work (ODW), selected Goodweave at its beneficiary for 2010/11. ODW was founded in 1995 following the murder of a Pakistani rug slave-turned- activist who had been a guest speaker at Broad Meadows Middle School in Quincy, Mass. Students have come up with creative ways to raise funds, such as a 24-hour challenge to give up all forms of personal technology. Students giving up their luxuries wrote about the experience while those who could not were asked to donate money. Students also participated in Penny Power, which raised 100,500 pennies, or $1,005.

CONGRATS: We learned that industry veteran Fred Williamson, currently vice president of operations for Starnet and a board member of the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), was given an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., “for his years of service to the college and for his lifelong service to his country.” Williamson graduated in 1964 and has served on Wagner’s board of trustees for 22 years. After graduating from Wagner, he served in the Marines during Vietnam, where he was awarded two Silver Stars for valor and the Purple Heart for combat injuries. Well deserved for a good person and friend to the industry.

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