By Reginald Tucker—The last time AHF Products exhibited on the Surfaces show floor, it was in a designated section of the Armstrong Flooring space. That seemed like eons ago.
In the years since its spinoff from Armstrong, AHF Products has grown into a flooring behemoth in its own right. With 13 brands and multiple product categories now under its portfolio, AHF is coming back to Surfaces this year in a big way.
“We’re really looking forward to not only seeing people face to face and enjoying seeing people in person, which we haven’t done in a long time, but also showing our products in person,” said Wendy Booker, vice president of marketing and product development, AHF. “As an exhibitor, you really get to see the excitement that customers have for products. Likewise, they get to see some of their ideas come to life that we’ve collaborated on. Surfaces is really an excellent place to understand the flooring industry, and we’re so excited to be a part of it.”
Booker and her team said they are particularly excited about the booth they have designed for the show. Over the past summer, the marketing team began conceptualizing an exhibit that would not only reflect how AHF Products has grown in just a few short years, but one that would also convey the appeal and positive attributes that hardwood flooring—the company’s chief product category—has to offer.
“We were sitting and talking about all the great things that have been going on with the company since 2019, all the new products, all of our acquisitions, etc.,” said Jeffrey Sommer, director of marketing and digital engagement. “So we asked ourselves, what would be the greatest thing to have in the booth? We decided on a simulated tree. We always say we’re bringing nature indoors when we talk about wood flooring. So, we thought this would be a fun way to bring nature into the exhibition hall.”
According to Sommer, there was symbolism behind the concept. “Having a tree positioned in the center of our space shows our growth, reflects messaging for our distributor partners who have grown along with us, and it shows off our different brands and our products on the floor. At the top of the booth are banners with the message, ‘Grow with AHF.’ It also showcases the fact that we offer not only wood, but SPC/laminate and a range of commercial products.”
Also, in designing the booth, AHF said it was important to call attention to the role its partners play in the company’s success. “We really wanted something that captures our partners’ success,” Booker explained. “We’re only successful if they’re successful. It was important for us to call attention to that.”
In keeping with the forestry theme, AHF Products conceptualized an “innovation trail” designed to guide visitors through the company’s latest offerings. “It’s all designed to show that we’re consistently and constantly innovating in all of our brands,” Sommer explained. “The main innovation visitors will see on the floor are dog prints that will lead to, of course, our Dogwood Densified Wood technology. There will also be a demo at the end of that trail.”
The Dogwood demonstration, according to Booker, will differ markedly from the demo the company featured at its booth at NWFA last summer. (No noisy, heavy ball drops here.) Rather, she explained, the demonstration will mirror the actual wear and tear created by an animals’ claws as they traipse across a hardwood floor. “It’s designed to mimic what a dog’s claw does to the floor,” she said. “It’s not quite as loud as the drop test that we had at NWFA.”
Other focal points of the sprawling, 2,500-square-foot booth include functional treehouses that will be perched atop the second story of the space. These will serve as office spaces and meeting rooms. Beneath the treehouses there will be kiosks representing the company’s portfolio of brands. “We plan on hosting a happy hour up there, followed by an awards ceremony for just our distribution partners on the first day of the show,” Sommer said.
Another big draw at the company’s booth is a scheduled appearance by Mark Bowe, custom restoration builder and HGTV host. Bowe, as some will recall, collaborated with AHF Products on a collection called Barnwood Living, which made its debut in 2020. Since then, the collection, which launched in a solid platform, has been expanded to include engineered options.
“This is our first time in a long time on the showroom floor, and we really wanted to do something big,” Booker said. “We’ve put a lot of effort into creating a strong presence and really coming out as a full-breadth product company versus just a wood company.”