Happy 35th to you, Floor Covering News

Home Column Happy 35th to you, Floor Covering News

By Steven Feldman The year 1986 seems like a lifetime ago. Ronald Reagan was president. There were between 300 and 400 carpet mills. Stainmaster was just about to change the industry forever. Big boxes? You worried about Sears and Montgomery Ward, not Home Depot and Lowe’s. And it wasn’t until May of that year that Floor Covering News launched.

If you told me in 1986 that eight years later I would be working for a floor covering publication, I would have said you have rocks in your head. Back then, I was the managing editor of a horse racing publication. As Floor Covering News was days from launching, I was on national radio giving out the $385 Ferdinand-Bold Arrangement exacta in the Kentucky Derby. I was a hero and considered one of this country’s best horse racing handicappers. (Didn’t really get me that far.)

So much has changed in these past 35 years. WFCA Hall of Famer, Al Wahnon, launched this magazine to compete with Floor Covering Weekly, which he had left a couple of years earlier. He went to his friends at the mills, and they pledged to support his venture. It was almost like seed money.

Al never believed Floor Covering News could become the leading publication in the industry; I know that as fact. Because, when a cocky yet confident 40-year-old walked in the door in 2006 proclaiming within five years this would be the industry’s No. 1 magazine, you had a better chance of convincing him of losing weight by eating Twinkies and Ring Dings. I know because I was that 40-year-old. I believed in myself, but just as significant, I believed in my partner, Dustin Aaronson. A year before I came here I was going to launch my own magazine—just like Al had done nearly 20 years earlier. But I would only do it if Dustin came with me. Well, Al’s partner, Mike Blick, wanted us to come here. Dustin came first and I followed a couple months later when my non-compete expired. So, none of this would have happened without Mike’s belief in us. Mike has been a second father to both Dustin and me since day one. And, by the way, it only took three years for us to have more ad pages than the competition.

So here we are, 35 years later, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have created. Floor Covering News is THE conduit from manufacturer to retailer with the sole goal of helping every entity in the channel become more profitable. The exposure we provide helps manufacturers sell their products. The information we deliver helps retailers become more profitable and professional. To me, there are no companies out there. There are people. There are friends. There are relationships. We do what we do because we care. “How can we help?” That’s what we always want to know.

You’re holding in your hands our 35th anniversary issue. It’s the fifth one I’ve conceptualized in my career, and each has had a different slant. Cover to cover, this may be the best. The team has done an amazing job. We look back through the lens of some of this industry’s most impactful individuals. They provide perspective like never before. Read them. It’s almost like a history lesson. No, it IS a history lesson.

In celebration of our 35th, you’ll find a plethora of “35” lists. We highlight the events and innovations that have made this industry what it is, and we pay homage to the people, manufacturers and retailers from yesteryear. We call attention to the women and those under 40 who are making a difference today. It’s not the same good ol’ boy industry, make no mistake about it. For dealers, we have 35 sales tips and predictions that will help your business. And there are other features that make this a keepsake issue.

One of the best things about putting out an anniversary issue like this are the conversations and interactions along the way. You become more knowledgeable. Jeff Lorberbaum taught me more about business in an hour than I would learn in a semester at Harvard Business School. Bob Shaw? How many people in this world get to repeatedly spend hours with a legend? I consider him a friend. Julian Saul? I never really knew him until recently. I truly enjoy the time we spend, and they don’t come any better than him. Vance Bell? Another person I’ve spent more time with in the last year than the previous 25. I could go on and on.

One last thing about this issue: Obviously, it’s a tremendous undertaking for a staff our size. Combined, their ability and output is five times their size. You have no idea how good they are. Maybe you do. You certainly do now. This doesn’t happen without them. Not just this issue, but 35 years.

OK, there’s one more thing: None of this happens without the manufacturers and distributors that have supported us for 35 years. More than 70 companies supported this issue alone to show their appreciation. I can’t thank them enough. It makes us want to work even harder for them in the future.

Enjoy this issue. It truly is a celebration—not just of Floor Covering News, but the industry that we all work in, play in and live in.

Cheers.

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FCNews 35th Anniversary Issue

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