Dealers seek new products; suppliers ready to deliver
January 16/23, 2017: Volume 31, Number 16
By Ken Ryan
Surfaces is to flooring what the Super Bowl is to football—the biggest event on the grandest stage. As such, dealers are getting their game faces on in preparation for two and a half days of fast-paced action.
For instance, Jeff Katz, owner of Dolphin Carpet & Tile in Miami, said he will be on the lookout for the latest innovations in LVT and LVP as well as new porcelain introductions in wood looks.
New LVT products are also on the shopping list for Sean O’Rourke, vice president of hard surfaces for Avalon Flooring in Cherry Hill, N.J. “I am most excited to see how the WPC landscape is going to develop, particularly in light of the Shaw/USFloors merger and how the competition reacts. I haven’t seen the new USFloors introductions yet, but I am sure they will be very high styled. They have the wind at their back so I am sure they will outpace the competition. Also, there will be several vendors debuting new water-resistant laminates, which will be an interesting development.”
It’s not just the big names that dealers will be seeking out of the show floor. Cathy Buchanan, who runs Independent Carpet One Floor & Home in Westland, Mich., said Surfaces provides an opportunity to search the latest offerings from smaller vendors. “I do plan on researching some of the new companies such as Seneca that are providing wood and vinyl transitions. Seneca has a flexible molding; Zamma has a cap tread that really interests me. It’s like school and learning—you can never have enough information or product to introduce to your clients.”
For some dealers, this year’s Surfaces takes on added significance. “We get to introduce the fifth generation of O’Krent’s to our industry,” said Sam O’Krent, owner of O’Krent’s Abbey Flooring in San Antonio. He’s referring to his nephew, Jason, who joined the business in 2016 and is being groomed to one day take over the 101-year-old company. “Jason is very excited to take it all in—the exhibit floor and the education sessions.”
Indeed, there will be plenty of new products to see in the exhibition area. According to Informa Exhibitions, which manages the show, more than 700 vendors will be on hand to showcase their offerings. Product segments run the gamut from carpet and area rugs, to hardwood, laminate, resilient, tile and stone. And let’s not forget about the vast array of tools, installation accessories, underlayment and subfloor preparation products that will be on display. To top things off, there will also be vendors that specialize in industry-specific software and business management programs to help dealers streamline their operations.
“TISE brings together tens of thousands of buyers and sellers from around the world in one location to do business over the course of four days,” said Carol Wilkins, senior conference manager. “But in order to take advantage of all the show has to offer, it’s important to know before you go. In planning, attendees must build their repertoire for product sourcing, knowing which existing companies to continue booking appointments with and which new companies to add that will offer a different purchasing flavor for the upcoming season. Proper preparation will enable attendees to see the most the show has to offer and enable them to compare and evaluate their buying decisions.”