Nov. 18/25 2013, Volume 27/number 15
By Ken Ryan
New York—Shaw Floors showcased more than 14,000 square feet of carpet, hardwood and resilient flooring as part of the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair, held Nov. 18 inside Vanderbilt Hall. Over the next six weeks, an estimated 750,000 people per day will walk across Anso nylon carpet, Epic hardwood and Park Avenue resilient plank. “If the floors can withstand the rigors of Grand Central Station, think of what they could do in your homes,” said Randy Merritt, president of Shaw Floors, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included two members of the famed Rockettes.
The event, which welcomed several Shaw managers and executives, featured a behind-the-scenes tour of Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central is the largest regional rail system in the country and celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.
The flooring installed throughout Vanderbilt Hall and at terminal entrances was selected to complement the iconic architecture of the historic building. Specifically, Shaw chose its Park Avenue resilient in a color called Grand Central from its new 5th & Main collection; Hudson Bay hardwood in Copperidge, part of the Epic Legends collection, and Shaw’s all-weather red carpet, which will greet visitors at the fair entrance.
The Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair is a merchandise mart that offers distinctive gifts from 76 artisans and small businesses. It is open daily in Vanderbilt Hall from Nov. 18 to Dec. 24.
Connie Breslin, merchandising coordinator for the Holiday Fair, marveled at the comfort the floors provided. “These Shaw floors are the best I’ve ever stood on,” she told FCNews. “It’s the best feeling. I’ve been standing on these floors for 24 hours; normally my feet would be hurting by now, but they feel great.”
Shaw also provided 3 x 5 area rugs made of Anso nylon that were placed inside some of the merchant cubicles. One merchant, Tara Lane, said the carpet “feels like my slippers at home. I could take a nap on it.”
Comments like those were music to the ears of Shaw executives. “The very first thing Connie [Breslin] said to me is ‘Would you come back next year?’ ‘Well,’ I told her, ‘we do sell this stuff, you know,’” Merritt said.
Trey Thames, Shaw’s vice president of marketing and product management, said the installed floors are both beautiful and durable. “If the floors can stand up here, they can stand up anywhere.”
Shaw said it might use that very tagline in a 2014 marketing campaign.
As the featured sponsor for the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair, Shaw’s signage appeared at various points throughout the terminal. The company’s red carpet event was symbolic for the company because—according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the steward of Grand Central Terminal—the first carpet rolled out at the terminal was a 900-foot red carpet made by Philadelphia Carpet Co. in 1913. Back then, before major airline service and the interstate highways, trains were the primary mode of transportation; as such, it was customary for a red carpet to be rolled out when dignitaries ar-rived in New York City. Philadelphia was eventually acquired by a holding company that would later go public as Shaw Industries Inc.
At a luncheon following the tour, Merritt remarked that Shaw is coming off of a strong 2013 and expects an even stronger 2014, despite the ongoing uncertainty of a potential government shutdown in January 2014 and underwhelming employment numbers.