November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12
By Steven Feldman
Back by popular demand, I’m going to again provide our loyal FCNews readers with that proverbial window to my brain as all these Black Friday commercials only serve to remind me that 2016’s days are numbered. And with that, I started to reflect on the year that will soon be in the books. So what is exactly on my mind?
I can’t believe that Surfaces is less than two months away. I could swear all those nights at Eye Candy—and rallying mornings—were less than six months ago. Where did 2016 go?
I’m thinking about my friend Piet Dossche, maybe the smartest man in the world. I asked him recently what specifically made USFloors attractive to Shaw. The company? The brand COREtec? WPC? The patents? Piet himself? All of the above? And as for the purchase price, you have a better chance of discovering where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.
I’m thinking about CarpetsPlus Colortile as the group is set to embark on its 20th anniversary. Ron Dunn and Jon Logue; former mill executives who hit paydirt in their second lives. Do you realize there are nearly 400 members under the umbrella?
You know what else I’m thinking? How many passengers actually turn their phone to airplane mode?
I’m thinking about Surfaces. All signs are pointing to a banner show. Basically everyone is showing, minus Shaw and Beaulieu. I’ll bet a dinner both will return in 2018. In fact, my gut tells me Shaw would have been back this year had they not committed their resources to their big Shaw Flooring Network convention in the days leading up to Surfaces. But I’ve been wrong before. Once or twice.
I’m thinking how the election results will impact business in general and flooring in particular. I feel like it will be positive.
Speaking of which, for all the money President-elect Trump has, you would think he could do something better with his hair. Just sayin’.
I’m thinking of my friend Carl Bouckaert, who continues to recover from the horrific leg injuries he suffered in a dirt bike accident about a year ago. Here’s hoping we see him soon.
I’m thinking about the recent purchase of Empire Today by Lexmark’s parent company. I can’t get my arms around that one.
I’m thinking about this whole WPC category. I’m wondering at the end of the day, what will be the impact on LVT? Is the industry big enough for both? And by the way, the WP should no longer stand for “wood polymer” or “wood plastic.” WPC should stand for “waterproof category.” Just my two cents.
After attending the NAFCD convention in Chicago, I stand by something I said 20 years ago: Wholesale distribution has to be the toughest segment in flooring. Hard work and razor-thin margins. The successful ones deserve respect.
I’m thinking about the dinner we had with Ralph Boe last week and wishing he were back in the industry.
And I’m thinking about carpet. For a category that is often maligned for its slow percentage growth, it is still about 45% of the industry and most mills are both growing and innovating. Even nylon is coming back some.
I’m thinking that 2017 is going to be a good year for this industry. Just about every manufacturer seems to be stepping up its advertising commitment, recognizing what happens in every other industry when there is a pullback. Ask Coke and Pepsi. Ask Budweiser and Miller. Ask Nike and Reebok. Those who pull back almost always suffer a decline in market share.
OK. I’m closing that window now. I’m getting a draft.