Al’s column

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FASHION SHOW: Earlier this summer, Bentley Prince Street (BPS) helped underscore the theme of its latest carpets—art, culture, fashion—during a special event in downtown Los Angeles by showcasing models wearing gowns and dresses constructed with the California mill’s latest products, including the Silver Screen Collection which won a Best of NeoCon Gold in the broadloom category at this year’s show. The outfits were designed by alumni of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) and were displayed during a presentation at the AT&T Center’s 30th floor penthouse. This was a follow up to NeoCon in which the innovative company had its showroom decorated in glamorous 1940s era Hollywood to accentuate the new products.

RUNWAY FASHIONS: The BPS event was such as success, president Anthony Minite said it wasn’t the end of promoting the broadloom as wearable fashion. Last month the six dresses made from the carpet collections were showcased for two full weeks in the store windows of Neiman Marcus’ Fashion Island location. In a company blog, Minite notes, “We are positively ecstatic. Who would have thought a carpet manufacturer would be featured in a setting fit for a fashion icon?” But it doesn’t end there. The local CBS station, KCAL devoted a segment to the carpet dresses and the process to turn them from flooring to gowns. News anchor Dave Gonzales interviewed Minite live on the air. You can see it here.

OPEN HOUSE: If you happen to be in the St, Louis area Nov. 9 or 10, be sure to stop by the headquarters of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) which is hosting an open house between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. both days. NWFA will have wood flooring demonstrations, tours of its 30,000 square foot facility, special discounts, and giveaways from distributors and manufacturers including Delmhorst, Mullican, Miller & Co. and Superior Floors. NWFA’s headquarters is located at 111 Chesterfield Industrial Blvd., Chesterfield, Mo. 63005, near Spirit of St. Louis Airport. This is a great way to see the training facility and learn about the services and opportunities available to wood flooring professionals.

SOA STAYS STRONG: Business may still be tough in many places throughout the country but using The Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI) Seal of Approval (SOA) testing and certification program as an indicator makes it clear having independent third-party verification is important to a company’s or product’s success. The program that tests carpet cleaning products and equipment for effectiveness not only continues to remain strong during the economic down- turn, it has actually “mushroomed” in recent weeks with several solutions, vacuums and a cleaning system now being able to carry the SOA logo. At press time, there were 331 solutions, 300 vacuums, 93 extractors and 89 systems in the Seal of Approval program, for a total of 813.

TRADESMAN WANTED: Do you know of a flooring installer who, among other things, gives back to the community and adds value to his trade? If so, WD-40 Co. and the non-profit Rebuilding Together want you to nominate the individual for their 2011 Tradesperson of the Year contest. Six finalists will be chosen from specific skilled trade categories, including carpenter, contractor, electrician, HVAC/plumber, painter and roofer. One grand-prize winner will receive a Super Bowl get- away for two to the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, including air travel, lodging, game tickets and $500 in cash. Each finalist will also be a guest on a live national radio broadcast of “On the House with the Carey Brothers.” Nominations can be submitted through Jan. 20, 2012. To learn more, visit

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