February 17/24, 2020: Volume 35, Issue 17
Las Vegas—Six manufacturers were voted best of class in the 2020 Best of Surfaces competition, a contest sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions, which owns and operates The International Surface Event (TISE). The awards program has become the benchmark for new product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.
The winners, announced on the show floor, are as follows:
- Innovation category: Raskin Industries
- Style & Design category: Mannington
- Sustainability: Mohawk
- Technology: Provenza
- Best Booth Design (over 1,200 square feet): Dal-Tile
- Best Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet): Wickham
The judging was initially conducted by a panel of floor covering retailers who were tasked with scouring entries in each category for six finalists. The most popular selections by consensus in each category made it to the final round, which were viewed on the first day of Surfaces.
Raskin Industries’ newest product, RI Digital flooring, has earned the manufacturer a Best of Surfaces award in the Innovation category, the company’s third Innovation award. Unlike other resilient products that feature a design film, RI Digital’s visuals are directly printed to its core. What’s more, the product is digitally printed using three-dimensional technology for a more realistic texture.
“What we’re able to do is speed up the development time,” said Michael Raskin, president and founder. “The development time for printed vinyl film takes up to six months because you have to make cylinders for the film before you can make the product. With digital there are no cylinders; you are actually printing directly on the core. When we print, we’re using 3D technology so you’re getting the highs and lows and wood graining texture. You can feel the difference.”
Since RI Digital uses ink printed directly to the core, it cannot have a wear layer, Raskin said. Instead, the new product features an RI Pure Protec coating to protect against staining and UV damage. It also has an attached soundproof underlayment.
RI Digital’s visuals have dpi twice that of traditional LVT. The new offering is currently available in wood and stone visuals. “The stone and ceramic looks are a real opportunity because we’re using similar technology to ceramic,” Raskin said. “We can now go toe-to-toe with ceramic.”
TISE attendees were impressed with the manufacturer’s latest innovation. “It is one of the neatest things I’ve seen so far,” said Mike Griffin, president, Floorcrafters, Moline, Ill. “Customers are going to be excited to see it, and my salespeople are going to be excited to sell it. It is something different—it is a breath of fresh air.”
Brian Belliston, sales, Westco Carpet and Interiors, Orem, Utah, shared in Griffin’s excitement. “RI Digital is incredible. The textures and visuals are probably the best that I’ve seen. In our company we push more of the LVT products, and I think our customers are going to like RI Digital.”
Pictured from left, is Informa’s Michelle Swayze, FCNews’ Dustin Aaronson and Steven Feldman, and Raskin’s Ted Rocha and Michael Raskin.
Provenza has created and launched QR codes for 300 of its product SKUs. The codes, which can be found on all Provenza displays, aim to make the selling and buying process easier for sales professionals and consumers alike.
How it works: When a consumer enters a retailer’s showroom in search of flooring, she is usually inundated with tons of samples. Instead of using her imagination or a room visualizer to picture how a flooring product will look once installed, the consumer can simply open the camera on her cell phone and place the lens over Provenza’s QR code. Once the camera reads the code, the consumer will be brought to a website with a video of that specific product SKU.
“The video features an installed, large floor area of the SKU the consumer has selected,” explained Ron Sadri, co-founder, Provenza Floors. “It also shows different angles of the flooring as well as close-up shots. The QR codes help the consumer visualize what the products are going to look like in her home. It makes it a lot easier for her to make that decision because commonly the samples are too small to show how a large area of the floor would look like. This way she can see color variation, fillers, cracks, etc.”
Pictured is the Provenza executive team flanked by FCNews’ Aaronson and Feldman.
BEST BOOTH (> 1,200 square feet)
The combination of the Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean brands at The International Surfaces Event (TISE) trade show culminated in the “Best Large Booth Award.” The coveted honor is given to only one exhibiting company each year in recognition of achieving a dominating presence at the show.
“The TISE show provides us with the opportunity to showcase the extraordinary product design and innovation within our three distinct brands in a beautiful way, enabling our customers to see all of the amazing products available to them,” said Paij Thorn-Brooks, vice president of marketing for Dal-Tile Corp., parent company of Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean brands. “The way in which we presented Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean in our booth created the same level of excitement, high degree of style, effective product presentation and clear selling messages that our brands bring to retailers’ showrooms throughout the year.”
Each of our brands had its own unique space in the booth, reflecting their respective positioning in the marketplace, according to Thorn-Brooks, “and yet the full power of the overall portfolio of design was felt as guests walked through the booth. We designed the booth to create an experience that felt luxurious, spacious and alive with fashion and excitement—accurately representing our brands’ leadership as the first to market with the latest trends and hottest innovations.”
Pictured is the Dal-Tile team flanked by FCNews’ Aaronson and Feldman.
STYLE & DESIGN
ADURA APEX LEGACY HEXAGON & BALTIC HEXAGON
Mannington Residential’s new ADURA APEX Legacy Hexagon and Baltic Hexagon LVT patterns ran away with a Best of Surfaces 2020 award in the Style and Design category. The eye-catching product features cutting-edge technology that allows for the creation of stunning marble visuals that can be installed in a fraction of the time as real tile—all without the use of spacers. What’s more, the product is made right here in the USA.
“We were super excited to receive this award; it meant a great deal to us,” said Terry Marchetta, senior director residential styling at Mannington. “Receiving an award like this makes all our efforts worth it and validates our team.”
More importantly, the Best of Surfaces Style and Design award represents all the hard work and dedication the folks at Mannington put in as a team. “Here at Mannington there has always been this culture of a team effort,” Marchetta said. “What makes Baltic so special is it was a concerted effort from all of our departments; styling provided the graphics and the texture; R&D provided the technical development and then created a patent-pending installation method; and the manufacturing department helped execute the ideas.”
Retailers who saw the product for the first time at the Mannington booth mistook it for real tile. And that’s precisely the objective. “They couldn’t believe it was LVT,” Marchetta recalled. “In the market right now you’re seeing a sea of white oak in very minimal visuals. So, for the retailers to see it with the right visuals, in the right colors and with the right texture—combined with the fact that the way you can install this really helps speed up the installation process—it’s really a win, win, win.”
According to Jim Tuley, vice president, residential resilient business, Baltic checks quite a few boxes for Mannington distributors and dealers. “LVT visuals have come so far in just a few years, but when combined with the performance and ease of installation story, and the ability for us to use our technical resources here in the U.S. to not just tell the style and design story but combine it with the ease of installation and the U.S. production story, it’s like multiplier effect.”
Pictured are Mannington’s Terry Marchetta and Jim Tuley flanked by Informa’s Swayze and FCNews’ Aaronson, second from left, and Feldman, far right.
EVERSTRAND WITH CONTINUUM
As one of the world’s leading plastic bottle recyclers, Mohawk Industries is placing an emphasis on eco-friendly products. One great example of that commitment is EverStrand. This premium PET polyester fiber is thoroughly purified for the cleanest strand and easy to keep clean with advanced soil and stain protection.
EverStrand with the Continuum process was a Best of Surfaces winner in the Sustainability category. Judges say the award was well earned as EverStrand—with up to 100% recycled content—is as sustainable a carpet as there is in the industry. “Our focus on sustainability at Surfaces this year reflects Mohawk’s holistic commitment to initiatives around corporate social responsibility that help secure a more ecologically restorative future,” said George Bandy Jr., chief sustainability officer of Mohawk Flooring North America. “We are thrilled and humbled to see this message is resonating across the industry, and we are very honored to have been recognized [accordingly]. We believe innovative manufacturing processes and meaningful partnerships help us extend our positive impact and create the path to a better future for our planet.”
FCNew’s Aaronson, left; Feldman, second from right; and Informa’s Swayze, right, present the award to Mohawk’s Paul DeCock, Karen Mendelsohn and George Bandy.
BEST BOOTH (< 1,200 square feet)
This year marked the third time in five years that Wickham walked away with the Best Booth (under 1,200 square feet) for its eye-catching, towering two-story space at TISE 2020.
Paul Rezuke, vice president, U.S. sales for Wickham, explained the allure. “Customers— both existing and new—see firsthand the level of detail and quality that goes into the design and building of the booth. They immediately draw a direct line to our products being held to the same standard. It’s a big investment with big returns.”
Informa’s Swayze and FCNews’ Feldman and Aaronson present the award to Wickham president, J.P. Nittolo, and members of the management and marketing teams.