Judges recognize excellence at premier show across six categories
February 1/8; Volume 30/Number 16
By Steven Feldman
Las Vegas—Six companies were voted best of class in the fifth annual Best of Surfaces competition co-sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa, owners and operators of The International Surface Event. The awards have become the benchmark for product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.
The winners were:
- Innovation: Mohawk’s SmartStrand Forever Clean with All Pet Technology
- Style & Design: Stanton’s Sound Waves from the Relaxed Collection
- Technology: Armstrong’s Vivero Luxury Flooring
- Sustainability: Mannington’s LVT closed-loop recycling program
- Best Booth Design Over 1,200 square feet: Johnson Hardwood
- Best Booth Design Under 1,200 square feet: Wichkam
The judging was conducted by a panel of retailers who were initially tasked with narrowing the entrants in each category to five finalists by the start of Surfaces. Specifically, they were asked to delve through all submissions and select their top five that best represented the category in which they were entered. The most popular selections by consensus in each category made it on to the final round, where judges viewed each finalist on the first day of Surfaces. They convened at FCNews’ booth at the close of the day and openly discussed their opinions with each other for the first time. From these discussions emerged the Best of Surfaces winners.
SmartStrand Forever Clean with All Pet Technology
SmartStrand Forever Clean with All Pet technology is the only complete protection system covering all pets, all accidents, all the time. It features the industry’s only carpet warranty covering all pets from cats and dogs and beyond. This is the only carpet that can be repeatedly cleaned without removing stain-fighting protection and durability.
Another advantage of SmartStrand Forever Clean is that liquids cannot absorb into the fiber. Liquid spills carry impurities that leave behind residue and can lead to musty, dingy odors, particularly as it relates to pets. This added protection prevents and reduces common pet-related odors. Compared to nylon carpet, which absorbs up to 5% of its weight in liquid, SmartStrand Forever Clean offers 0% absorption so it remains fresh and odor-free forever—a huge advantage in a family with pets.
“We are honored SmartStrand Forever Clean has received the Surfaces Innovation Award for the second consecutive year,” said David Duncan, senior vice president of marketing. “The judging panel of experienced industry professionals recognizes that Mohawk continues to build on the success of the incredibly soft and durable SmartStrand fiber we introduced 10 years ago. Now, with the All Pet Protection warranty, the most comprehensive pet protection warranty in the industry, SmartStrand Forever Clean carpet can stand up to all pets, all accidents, all the time.”
Style & Design
Sound Waves from Stanton
Stanton’s new polyester-polypropylene Relaxed line is a diverse collection that offers something for everyone. Traditionalists may prefer the structured trellis, while romantics will find favor with the graceful Victorian scroll. And abstract expressionists should be energized by Sound Waves’ free-flowing, Pollock-esque splatter design. But despite the individuality, warmth is what ties the collection together. A distressed background and palette of familiar neutrals are at the core of each style. Sound Waves turns up the heat further with bursts of electric pink.
Jonathan Cohen, CEO of Stanton, believes Sound Waves was a consensus Best of Surfaces winner because the judges preferred the product’s edgy styling combined with lustrous yarns. “I think it hit on all the right criteria—fresh, exciting, new, old, terrific colors. It had a luster level to it, a silky appearance that was very attractive. The validation is our customers’ reaction. Reaction doesn’t always translate to sales but it is a good indictor.”
Vivero Luxury Flooring from Armstrong
The judges agreed that Vivero was most deserving of Technology honors in the Best of Surfaces competition. They felt it was not another me-too LVT product to hit the market, citing its composition—specifically its rigid core comprised of limestone and PVC—and the Diamond 10 technology used in its coating, a patent-pending, diamond-infused layer for extra durability. Diamond 10 allows for “unprecedented” scratch and stain resistance in addition to cleanability. The product is also waterproof; liquid will bead on Vivero’s surface, making it easy to wipe away.
A major differentiator for products within Vivero’s collections is the installation options. All “good” SKUs come with simple and secure angle-angle locking technology while “best” and “better” both feature the IntegriLock system, which utilizes 5G technology from Valinge. All Vivero products are also offered in glue down options.
LVT Closed-Loop Recycling Program from Mannington
Mannington’s LOOP reclamation and recycling program has set benchmarks for recycling millions of pounds of carpet, VCT, drywall, automobile tires and windshield glass into new carpet, VCT, resilient sheet and wall-base. It is leading the reclamation and recycling of post-consumer LVT that is removed during renovation and demolition projects and recycling it back into new LVT. Plus, 100% of post-production material created during the manufacturing process is also recycled back into new LVT product.
“Mannington has been a pioneer in utilizing recycled content,” said David Sheehan, vice president, commercial hard surface. “We were first to create a robust take-back program (for carpet and VCT). We followed that up 18 months ago with a take-back program for LVT. The judges most likely appreciated the notion that we are taking product back and preventing it from going into landfills and then repurposing the scrap and making it into new products.”
Best Booth over 1,200 square feet
The 3,500-square-foot booth was the brainchild of Yuying Chiu, a design consultant for the company. According to Bill Schollmeyer, CEO of Johnson, the objective was to achieve an easy flow that encouraged customers to browse through the different areas. “We focused on vignettes that highlighted our Rowlock product to show some creative settings, both residential and commercial,” said Bill Schollmeyer. “As always, we try to showcase a mix of current products that are strong sellers—like English pub and Alehouse—innovative new products like Rowlock, and concept products like many of the oil finish colors that we showcased.”
The message that Johnson Hardwood tried to convey was that the company is all about style and quality, and that the brand has value to a dealer.
Best Booth under 1,200 square feet
For the second year in a row, Wickham Hardwood won for best booth design. Randy McCullough, a Wickham consultant and booth designer, said the company tries to create a space that is so uniquely different that it will become a destination for show-goers. The 20-foot by 50-foot booth featured a Western theme, including rusted barbed wire and old fence posts. “I could have bought that stuff at a hardware store but I wanted it to be authentic,” McCullough noted.