NFA’s fall meeting puts safety first

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Savannah, Ga.—The National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) is convening here this week—marking the first time in more than six months that a major, in-person industry trade event has been held—with safety as its top priority.

Prior to the event, NFA management said the decision to hold the fall meeting was done with an abundance of caution. Before the meeting was given the green light, numerous discussions among the board, NFA members and core vendors took place covering safety and health precautions, alternative methods of media in lieu of a live event, as well as the nimbleness of the NFA to adapt its meeting model.

Now, as members mingle and come together, the NFA has put its masks where its mouth is—focusing on several safety measures to keep exhibitors, attendees and staff safe. Daily temperature checks for all, face shields and even HAZMAT suits are all at the ready during this week’s meeting.

“We know the makeup of our group, our size is right and we can adjust,” Jason McSwain, president of the NFA and owner of McSwain Carpets & Floors, Cincinnati, told FCNews this week at the show. “There were a number of members that were really wrestling with the virus’ impact on their business. If it wasn’t an associate, it was someone in your neighborhood or a loved one. We have all had that. So there is a real respect for what we need to be doing from a cautionary basis, but we also need to be able to conduct business again. And the gains outweigh the negatives.”

Eric Mondragon of RC Willey and NFA treasurer, added that, so far, the event was just what the group needed. “It’s going great. I’ve never seen a more positive meeting. Everyone is positive. And they’re not just positive about the meeting; they’re positive about where their business is going.”

Following are highlights from the show floor.

 

NFA members were given temperature checks each morning. Here, AJ Boyajian of A.J. Rose Carpets & Flooring in Burlington, Mass., checks the temperature of David Stover, Grigsby’s Carpet, Tile & Hardwood, in Tulsa.

Daltile took safety to the extreme by welcoming NFA members in HAZMAT suits. No, they did not conduct their meetings in the astronaut garb.

Lisa Browning, right, executive director of the NFA, welcomes Dana Teague, vice president of Informa, owner and operator of Surfaces, who attended the NFA meeting to observe how a show can go on safely and successfully in the age of COVID-19.

Team Armstrong model their face shields prior to the NFA member/vendor round robin meeting. From left: Laurie Springer, Tom Cole, Brent Flaharty and Betty Walden.

DeGraaf Interiors’ Mark Lewis and Deb DeGraaf get a little creative with their face shields.

John Mazzuolo, director of strategic accounts, Tarkett, shows AJ Boyajian the company’s newest carpet patterns.

Ann McDermott shows NFA members a new Shaw carpet introduction for 2021 within the Simply the Best value collection.

NFA members who could not make the trip to Savannah due to health reasons or travel restrictions were able to “attend” virtually by virtue of technology. Only 10 members did not attend in person. Here, Welton Davison, of Shaw, virtually meets with members.

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