May 22/29, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 25
By Steven Feldman
Now that the 21st Award of Excellence winners have been announced, we can dig a little deeper and try to analyze the results. In what seems to be the case each year, there were some surprises interspersed between the usual suspects as you can find on page 16. But with the voting approaching 2,000 ballots these past two years, we are confident the winners are well deserving of the honors bestowed upon them by the retail and distribution community.
Just for the record, every vote is vetted. Any ballot that is submitted from manufacturer personnel is deleted. As well, we often find the same retailer voting twice. Only his or her first vote is counted; the second is eliminated.
While FCNews publishes only the winners in each category, it is interesting to look behind the numbers and analyze the vote counts. It is interesting to find one company significantly improving from one year to the next. Take Inhaus, winner of the Laminate B category, for example. While the number of ballots cast was virtually identical these last two years, Inhaus increased its share 250%. That shows two things: The company is making great strides in both product and service through its distributors and helping its retail customers make money, but the exposure it is receiving through its increased marketing presence is paying dividends. By the way, this is not the first accolade for Inhaus this year; the company also took home a Best of Surfaces award in the Technology category for Sono back in January.
Another observation: While Tuftex was winning the Carpet B category for the third consecutive year, its share of the votes is steadily increasing. Tuftex went from 18.7% in 2015 to 24.8% in 2016 to 29.3% this year. Doug Jackson is taking Shaw’s premium carpet brand to new heights, and that is reflected in the voting.
The hardwood categories were a complete tale of two cities and exemplify the purity of the contest. In the A category, while Mohawk was winning for the second consecutive year, the voting behind it was almost identical to the year prior with Armstrong, Mannington and Shaw all posting vote counts within 13 of their 2016 tallies.
However, the B category was turned upside down with Anderson snapping Mirage’s four-year winning streak. Credit a rejuvenated focus on the venerable brand that was reflected in the voting. Also of interest were much improved performances of DuChâteau and Somerset.
As for LVT, the B category featured juggernaut USFloors increasing its share of the voting from 27.5% to 29.6% with companies like Karndean, EarthWerks and Metroflor all performing well. With USFloors’ skyrocketing sales, a move to the new WPC category will be in order.
As for tile, the last time Dal-Tile lost the A category Bill Clinton was in office. And kudos to Emser for winning the B category after increasing its share of the voting from 9.8% to 13.7% to 15.8% these last three years. This is another company growing by leaps and bounds. It is opening new locations across the U.S. ever year, coming up with attractive, innovative products and increasing its marketing exposure. See a trend here?
One last observation: We have noticed a huge disparity in the voting between ballots cast online and those cast at Surfaces. While 95% of the voting is done online, those companies that do not exhibit at Surfaces garner a much lower percentage of the votes in the paper balloting done at the show. I’m sure Informa, our co-sponsors in the competition, will be happy to hear that.