By Ken Ryan Seventeen months after its last in-person gathering, The International Surface Event (a.k.a Surfaces) convenes this week at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
More than 150 vendors have secured booth space for the slimmed-down conference and trade show, led by Mohawk and its family of brands, which is positioning Surfaces as the last stop on its 2021 Momentum Roadshow following previous regionals in Dallas, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Huntington Beach, Calif.
According to Mohawk, more than 500 of its retailers are expected to attend Surfaces, which runs June 15-18. “We have exceeded our registration goal by 25%,” said Laura Bartley, senior director of communications and events for Mohawk. “These set appointments have helped us understand the goals of our customers at the show, and they have helped us make sure we are adequately staffed in our booth space as we know attendance won’t be that of a typical Surfaces presence.”
As is customary, Mohawk will have a dramatic presence at the big show, in this case showcasing new or newly released products from several of its leading brands.
A few highlights:
Mohawk resilient: Expanding its SolidTech line, now offering LMF, flex and SPC rigid options to reach a diverse range of consumers.
Mohawk soft surface: A cleaner home and cleaner planet are the hallmarks of Mohawk’s eco-friendly EverStrand line in 2021.
Mohawk wood and laminate: The company will be showcasing its new UltraWood line, billed as the ultimate performance hardwood providing long-lasting durability and demonstrated waterproof protection.
Karastan: The venerable brand will add a unique new stone collection to the LuxeCraft resilient offering.
Pergo: Mohawk is reinvigorating Pergo Extreme, making it easier to offer consumers high performance that runs deep, the company said. In addition, new Pergo Elements builds on its brand recognition to provide worry-free waterproof wood.
Godfrey Hirst: The brand is set to debut a refreshed collection with new textures, pat- terns and loops along with updated assortment or customized displays.
Retailers gear up
Prior to Surfaces, the National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) will hold its annual Specialty Vendor trade show at Mandalay Bay. Some NFA dealers told FCNews that they will skip Surfaces entirely or send a colleague in their place. But many others said they are planning to attend the show, even if just for the first day.
“It will be my first time at Surfaces, so I will mainly be seeing what the show is like and checking out anything we might be missing for our stores,” said Sam Locher, vice president of business development & marketing for A.J. Rose Carpets & Flooring, Burlington, Mass.
Eric Mondragon, hard surface buyer for the flooring division of RC Willey, Salt Lake City, Utah, said he will be at Surfaces mainly for the NFA meeting and specialty vendor show on June 15 and will visit the Surfaces show floor on the morning of June 16 for a couple of hours for follow-up meetings with vendors. “All my product selections and programs are already set for the year, so unless somebody surprises me with something I haven’t already seen, there is nothing I am looking for,” he stated.
Sam O’Krent, president/owner of O’Krent Floors in San Antonio—and a newly inducted NFA member (see article on page 5)—said he plans to make the most of his trip to Vegas. “Even though Surfaces 2021 will be smaller in scope, we feel it is still important to see new product, research new vendors and network with other dealers and manufacturers—all things that cannot be done while sitting in our offices,” he said. “We always look forward to improving how we do business and will undoubtedly come back with new ideas.”
Fellow Texas retailer Sam Roberts, owner of Roberts Carpet & Fine Floors, Houston, will not be in Las Vegas as he is celebrating the birth of his granddaughter. In his stead, sales manager Bill Siemon, will attend the NFA meeting as well as the first full day of Surfaces before returning home.
Many dealers said that beyond spending quality time at the Mohawk booth, they are looking to scope out the rest of the show. “I’m going to be there all three days to learn more about new products that we as a company are actively carrying and bringing into stock, reaching out to active suppliers and making new connections with prospective and unknown suppliers,” said Andrew Potter, lead sales manager for the flooring department of Pullman Building Supply, Moscow, Idaho.
Safety precautions in place
Informa, organizers of Surfaces, said they aim to deliver the highest levels of hygiene and safety at the event, with all attendees advised to follow CDC guidance. Face masks are recommended for attendees but not required; masks will be available onsite for those who want one. In addition, there will be continuous sanitation areas set up throughout the event with a focus on high-touch areas such as door handles, restrooms and food and beverage areas. The Mandalay Bay Convention Center’s HVAC systems will remain running throughout the course of the event designed to introduce fresh air into the building continuously. As well, temperature screenings and other safety measures will take place during the three-day event.
Note: As of June 1, Las Vegas is fully open for business following the expiration of the Clark County local COVID-19 mitigation plan. This allows for the return of pre-pandemic guidelines that lift restrictions involving capacity limits, large gatherings and more.