The retailers have spoken, and after all the votes were tallied, we have our Award of Excellence winners for 2022. The winners were announced at our annual awards ceremony and dinner here on Long Island last month, all of which appear on pages 28-29.
All the awards are well deserved, and this year we were able to recognize even more companies after revamping the contest a bit. After all, the goal of the Award of Excellence is to recognize as many companies as possible that are helping retailers succeed in their businesses.
Years ago, when there were much fewer categories, we announced a winner and an honorable mention in each category. But once we split categories into sections based on sales volume, we did away with the honorable mentions. It just became too cumbersome. The downside is that each category now recognizes only one company—which is fine, but when a company wins by just a few votes, I feel the results could easily have been reversed if a few more retailers decided to vote. You never know who just missed. At least in thoroughbred racing, you know the horse who lost by a nose.
This year, as evidence that so many suppliers out there are helping retailers be successful, no less than seven categories were decided by less than 10 votes. I find that remarkable! Sort of like the Pennsylvania Senate election where Dr. Oz won by 900 votes after 1.3 million were cast. (Makes me think I should The Carpet category was won by Engineered Floors. But both Anderson Tuftex and Karastan came within five votes. What I find interesting was the two high-end brands finished tied for second behind the value brand. Over the last 10 years, retailers have told me how EF helps them make money. Many of them voted.
Anderson Tuftex turned the tables in the Wood-Domestic category by defeating Mannington by less than 10 votes. It wasn’t the company’s first victory in the Wood category. Shaw’s high-end, differentiated brand constantly innovates and differentiates. That’s been the case since the Don Finkell days. Mannington won for Laminate and Resilient Sheet; it almost took home a third award.
Speaking of wood, the Asian Import category was won by a first timer in Hallmark, edging Provenza by less than 10 votes. This was an example of how expanding the categories allowed new blood to be recognized. Very quietly, Hallmark has become a “nine-figure” company, or so I’m told. Quite impressive.
I mentioned Karastan earlier. That was the hard-luck horse in this race. Not only did Karastan lose Carpet by about five votes, it was beaten by two votes in the Area Rug category by Stanton. Both companies have won the category in the past, and I don’t think anyone would ever take issue with either of them winning. They are among the highest-end carpet and rug suppliers in the industry, offering some of the most attractive products you’ll ever see.
The Technology and Installation categories were two-horse races with Ardex edging Mapei and Broadlume winning a head bob over RFMS. It was the second straight win for Ardex and the first for Broadlume. All four companies have proven to help retailers in two important aspects of the business that often get overlooked.
Last but not least, Engineered Floors won the Best Overall Under $5 Billion category over Mannington by an extremely close margin. After the industry’s two behemoths, these two companies are among the next largest and it makes complete sense that they would have the resources to make retailers successful.
For next year’s Award of Excellence, the goal is to get 2,000 votes as we crown some more winners.run for some sort of office; wouldn’t that be a hoot.) In horse racing they say it doesn’t matter whether you get beaten by a nose or five lengths; you still lost. However, I felt this would be a good opportunity to mention some of the companies that came close and can look toward next year.