Al’s column

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CHICAGO STYLE: The Chicago Floorcovering Association (CFA) continues to be one of the most active retail organizations in the industry, sponsoring various social—networking—outings and educational events throughout the year. One of its biggest will take place Dec. 8 with the annual Presidential Awards Dinner. This year’s event will recognize Lyle Larson as the organization’s Person of the Year. Larson, who served as CFA’s president in 2004, is regional sales operations manager for Mohawk and next year he will be celebrating his 50th year with the company. In addition to its Person of the Year award, CFA will hand out awards for the hard and soft surface sales representatives of the year, and the Retail Sales Associate of the Year.

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CALLING VETERANS: CFA’s Presidential Awards Dinner, which takes place at the Belvedere Banquet Hall in Elk Grove Village, Ill., will also pay special tribute to CFA military veterans from all wars and conflicts. Organizers have requested attending veterans wear their medals for honorable services to our country. In addition to paying tribute to living vets, there will be a moment of silence to reflect on those who gave their lives. The dinner will also recognize CFA’s 2012 scholarship recipients, and the organization’s 2013 officers and board of directors will be announced. It won’t be all business as The Hat Guys will be on hand to play a diverse selection of favorite modern and classic hits, spanning several generations and multiple genres. For more on CFA’s big night, call 800.627.1299.

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ENTREPRENEURS: On Oct. 24, the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) will be hosting its 9th annual Entrepreneur Meeting in Atlanta. The meeting is tailored to address the needs of businesses collecting and processing post-consumer carpet and is open to carpet recycling veterans down to those considering starting a business that incorporates the reclamation of post-consumer carpet. In addition to finding out the latest information in this area and being able to network with people involved in the various aspects of the reclamation and recycling process, the meeting will include a market forum, which gives attendees the opportunity to share with the group materials they have for sale and are looking to buy, and services available and sought. Go to carpetrecovery.org/Entrep_conf2012.php for more information or to register.

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WI-FLY: Good news for the vast number of people in the industry who spend time flying around the country visiting customers, and attending markets, conventions and meetings. At a time when airlines are charging extra for every little thing—there has been experiments with charging restroom fees on flights under an hour—along comes JetBlue with a customer friendly offer: free in-flight Wi-Fi. And, it won’t just be free, according to the airline, it will be nearly 10 times quicker than other airlines’ services. The free service may not be permanent as JetBlue hinted at extra charges beyond the “free basic” service. Then again, it could spark a revolution and force other airlines to lower or eliminate their onboard Wi-Fi fees.

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FREE BIRDS: Why might other airlines want to consider offering free Wi-Fi in lieu of charging for everything else? A recent survey by fly.com found 80% of respondents want the option to connect to the Internet during their flight, yet 49% stated they do not want to pay anything at all, and an additional 27% indicated they won’t pay more than $5. Other results from the survey include, 65% of people think it is important airlines offer Internet access on flights; 36% would take advantage of in-flight access to find information and deals relating to their destination, and 26% would use it to catch up on emails.

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