By Ken Ryan
Slowly but surely, more live, in-person flooring events are returning in 2021. At press time, Market Maker Events (MME) is planning a few regional shows. Alliance Flooring has scheduled its annual convention for March 4-9 in Orlando; the National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA), fresh off the heels of its successful in-person show that took place in Savannah, Ga., this past September, is scheduled to meet March 7-10 in Vail, Colo.; and Mohawk recently announced its multi-city Momentum Roadshow is scheduled to kick off in January.
As a precursor to its convention, members of Carpetland and CarpetsPlus ColorTile convened in Atlanta in October for an in-person buying group meeting. “We asked the group, ‘So you want to have the convention live?’ and they overwhelmingly said they wanted to,” Ron Dunn, co-founder and co-CEO of Alliance Flooring, told FCNews.
The Alliance Flooring conference will be held at the spacious Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. “We redid the space at Rosen to allow for separation,” Dunn said. “During the trade show part, there will be no roaming around. Appointments will be made between suppliers and dealers at various times.”
Plus, Dunn said, many of the usual gatherings—including the receptions—will be held outdoors. He added that there is nothing that replicates an in-person convention. “For the networking value of it—and the impromptu things that come up when you are together—the members gain so much value.”
Dunn said he approaches the pandemic as a “blinking yellow light, not a red light. You proceed with caution, you don’t stop. We continue to plan accordingly. It’s about being smart and moving forward instead of retreating. That is what I am encouraging our members to do.”
MME goes full speed ahead
Market Maker Events (MME) plans to hold its in-person regional flooring markets in 2021, with possible date shifts. The decision to hold live events in the first four months of 2021 was based on a combination of factors, including exhibitor and retail attendee surveys showing support for the event as well as strict measures show management plans to put in place to ensure the safety of all involved.
“We fully intend to host our in-person regional markets in early 2021,” said Lori Kisner, managing partner of MME. “We’re keeping an eye on the growing cases of COVID-19 in Texas and will adjust our dates if necessary. We have a backup date later in 2021 for the Southwest Flooring Market. The Atlanta and Biloxi markets are expected to remain as scheduled.”
Kisner said MME has studied other regional shows with similar profiles and feels it can run these live events safely and successfully.