By Steven Feldman What a difference a year makes. Last April we were sequestered in our homes, not knowing what the future could hold for any of us. Our health. Our businesses. Our social lives. For many, it was a one-way ticket to hell with no return flights on the schedule. I don’t know what was worse: the fear or the uncertainty. I guess in a way they’re related: fear of the unknown, as they say.
Speaking of fear, Big Tech and the mass media seized the moment, striking dread in all those they could reach. Call it their moment in the sun; call it control; call it ratings that lead to advertising dollars. Epidemiologists capitalized on their five minutes of fame, some still trying to make it 10. It was so reminiscent of that “Chicken Little” fable my mother used to read to me when I was little. (I’m referring to youth, not girth.) Remember it? “The sky is falling!” Today, that phrase is applied to people trying to incite an unreasonable fear in those around them. I referred to CNN as the Chicken Little network. They would have all of us believe the world was coming to an end.
One year later, things feel so much different. The vast majority of us feel fortunate that we still have our health. Things feel different in the world as well. With more than half of those individuals over age 18 having already been vaccinated, there is validity to the hope that this pandemic is almost behind us. You can sit and eat inside restaurants like a normal human being. You can even sit at a bar, have a drink and chat it up with your seat neighbor in those states with concepts of reality. Concerts will be on the table this summer, even if they will be held in outdoor amphitheaters. The Texas Rangers played to a full house in Arlington for the home opener on April 5. And there is even talk of Broadway reopening this summer in the most restrictive New York City.
You know what else feels different one year later? My calendar. It is filled with the resumption of floor covering industry events. Up until this point, the only events that were held since March 2020 were the NFA fall meeting in Savannah, the four Mohawk Momentum Roadshows and two Market Maker regional events in Atlanta and Dallas. By the way, all went off without a hitch, no one died and no one felt unsafe. Just saying.
But now the excitement is starting to build. There is the NFA spring meeting beginning April 18 at the picturesque Barnsley Resort to kick things off. From there, it’s the granddaddy of ’em all, the rescheduled Surfaces show (June 16-18). And then it’s a litany of shows from Coverings/NWFA in Orlando (July 7-9); FCA Network in Sarasota (July 11-14); CCA Global’s combined Carpet One/Flooring America convention in Denver the following week and then other events like Haines, Alliance/CarpetsPlus and CFI—all in Orlando. You might not be a fan of Florida Gov. DeSantis, but his less-restrictive policies have allowed many of these conventions to go forward.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like normal.And a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum: For many of us, our businesses not only survived but thrived. And the metrics and forecasts for the remainder of this year—as well as the next few—are bright.