By Ken Ryan Alliance Flooring held its Connect ’21 Virtual Product Showcase March 15-17, an online event that brought together members and suppliers virtually for new product and merchandising introductions in advance of the upcoming selling season.
The event replaced the usual in-person convention originally scheduled for early March 2021. According to Kevin Logue, Alliance Flooring’s executive vice president of marketing, the move was made to safeguard members, suppliers and staff until the time comes when a live, in-person event can take place. Alliance Flooring said it plans to hold an in-person convention at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando during the second half of 2021. Ryan Dunn, EVP of sales, said it would take some time between the beginning of August and the end of October.
During a welcome address to launch Connect ’21, Ron Dunn, founder and CEO, and son Ryan praised Alliance Flooring members for the way they persevered and leaned on each other during the COVID-19 pandemic that upended businesses for long stretches in 2020 and continues to this day. “It was absolutely inspiring to see how members pulled together,” Ryan Dunn said.
Echoing that point, Ron Dunn added, “Nobody gave up, nobody rolled over. The resolve to drive busines in 2020 was very inspiring.”
The online event allowed suppliers an alternate pathway to launch new products to Alliance Flooring members for 2021. Participating suppliers were featured in their own virtual “exhibit booth” where they showcased new products and displays using pre-produced, on demand video content.
A message from Shaw Industries
Scott Sandlin, executive vice president, residential division, for Shaw Industries addressed retail members on day 1 of the three-day convention. “As we progress further into 2021, our industry is really strong, but it is not without its challenges,” he said. “We’re in a unique and unusual time in the market.”
Sandlin cited raw material inflation, rising domestic freight rates, labor, currency and exchange rates, container shortages and global supply chain disruptions as among the challenges. The rising costs have forced suppliers to increase pricing on a range of products.
“The silver lining in all of this is how quickly the market is rebounding from the ongoing pandemic,” Sandlin added. “What could have been a detriment to the housing industry has actually been really good for our collective businesses.”
In other news
Alliance Flooring continued to grow its ranks in the past year, welcoming 16 new retail members.
In his state of the industry address, Jon Logue, co-founder and CEO, said they are projecting 5% growth for Alliance members in 2021. Alliance finished 2020 down 5%, however that was after being down 25% in the second quarter when business was shut for many weeks due to COVID-19.
Awards for top performers
Fourteen winners were announced in the Platinum and Gold categories during Connect ’21. Platinum winners are recognized for purchases from Alliance Flooring suppliers that exceed $2 million in a calendar year. Gold is for purchases exceeding $1 million.
- Carpet World, Fargo, N.D. (Bruce Kaufman)
- The Langan Group, Davenport, Iowa (Eric Langan)
- Carpetland, Roanoke, Va. (Gene Podell)
- SP Floors & Design, McMurray, Pa. (Stacey Pape)
- CarpetsPlus Color Tile, Bloomington, Ind. (Mark and MaryAnn Dougherty)
- Carpet World, Bismarck, N.D. (Jon Dauenhauer)
- 3 Kings Flooring, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Todd Ramsey and Jeremy Winges)
- CarpetsPlus Color Tile Gainesville, Gainesville, Fla. (Josh Elder)
- Floor Craft, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Mark Strauch)
- Arnquist CarpetsPlus, Alexandria, Minn. (Tom and Adam Arnquist)
- Rocky Mountain Flooring, Twin Falls, Idaho (Brent Compton)
- Carpetland, Rockford, Ill. (Kevin Rose)
- CarpetsPlus of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. (Michael Peters)
- Jerry’s Floor Store, Spring Lake Park, Minn. (Dawn Iversen)
(For more on Connect ’21, see the March 29/April 5 issue of FCNews.)