By Steven Feldman
Calhoun, Ga.—Excitement is building less than two months before Mohawk kicks off its seven-city Momentum Roadshow. As preparations continue to take shape, the company said flooring dealers are signing up in droves to attend these events as they look to return to some degree of normalcy in 2021.
Mohawk is demonstrating its investment in retailer success by wasting no time as the first of the seven events kicks off five days after the calendar flips to 2021. Mohawk said it recognized the need for retailers to see new products for the spring selling season against a backdrop where most other shows have been canceled or postponed. “As we go into these shows, 90% of the product will be available at the end of Q1 or early Q2,” said Brennan Swing, vice president of creative. “So, what retailers will be seeing at these shows is product they can put in their stores fairly quickly.”
Swing noted the Momentum Roadshow will be a blend of the traditional regional events, which he said are more “selling” shows, and Surfaces, which is more of an “exhibit” show. “You’re going to get an exhibit experience with some beautiful art pieces and beautiful product mixed with new merchandising and new technologies,” he explained. “It will be something fun to attend, and it’s going to relieve the stress of 2020. We’re obviously making sure everything’s safe, but if people are going to take the time to drive or fly [to one of the seven cities], we want them to get something out of it beyond filling their inventory for the year.”
How excited are dealers about Mohawk’s Momentum Roadshow? According to Swing, people are willing to travel long distances if it means attending one of the earlier events. For example, he said there are some retailers from as far as Florida and California who will attend the first event in Chicago from Jan. 5 to 6 rather than more convenient later events in Huntington Beach and Atlanta. “We’re filling up fast everywhere—in some cities 75% and higher,” he noted.
The rundown includes Chicago, Atlantic City, Dallas, Huntington Beach and Atlanta as well as Canada. Capacity is limited at each event varying based on the location. “We looked at the amount of people we had at past regional shows and considered the amount of time a retailer needs to walk through an exhibit,” Swing explained. “We then looked at how many people you could legally have in a room at one time and then made a specific schedule of appointments from there. To that end, Mohawk has extended show hours from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. to ensure every dealer can be accommodated.”
Mohawk said it will be taking every safety precaution imaginable to instill confidence in attendees. There will be temperature checks prior to walking into the show space as well as meeting spaces and masks will be provided in each room. There will also be sanitization checkpoints, so if a retailer wants to wipe something down, there will be disinfectant. “We will also be sanitizing everything frequently,” Swing said. And of course, social distancing will be the order of the day. “We were really conservative with the numbers when we planned out how many people could be in one place at one time.”
That lends itself to another benefit: “When you have smaller numbers of people, you have the ability to provide a more personal experience for the customer,” Swing said. “We will have specific blocks of time for everyone so it’s more tailored to each customer who comes in rather than everybody at once.”
Product is the star
According to Swing, Mohawk will have more introductions in 2021 than it did in 2020. The highlight is a new collection called UltraWood, which combines ultimate performance hardwood flooring with the product’s natural beauty. UltraWood offers Mohawk’s new waterproof technology, which marries water-tight joints with its advanced waterproof finish. In addition, the new line features improved scratch, wear and dent resistance as well as Mohawk’s EasyClean technology for easier maintenance and upkeep over the life of the product.
On the Pergo side, a new wood/laminate hybrid collection for specialty retailers will be launched. Pergo Elements is billed as waterproof wood that not only touts strength, beauty and durability, but also capitalizes on what is arguably the most researched and recognized flooring brand on the market.
Mohawk also said it plans to continue building on its successful RevWood line as well as its high-end Karastan hardwood offerings. It’s also in the process of completely refreshing its TecWood lines and Everstrand PET carpet collection.
Retailers aren’t the only ones seeking to capitalize on the Momentum Roadshow. With Surfaces postponed until June, some competitors are looking to piggyback on some of the events. “They’re like, ‘OK, let’s tack onto what Mohawk’s doing any way we can,’” Swing said. For example, a number of companies are setting up showrooms at different hotels in the same town at the same time as the Mohawk events.
At the end of the day, according to Swing, flooring retailers recognized the void left by the cancellation or postponement of January/February shows that annually set the stage for the spring selling season. “The prevailing sentiment is ‘We’re just glad you’re doing something,’” he said. “But it’s not that we’re just doing something; we’re doing something the best possible way we can. We’re not holding back. We have the product, we have the technologies, we have great teams. So let’s go out with our best foot forward and do it in the safest possible manner.”