Orlando, Fla.—Upwards of 4,500 guests, including spouses and children of store owners, made the trip to the Shaw Flooring Network (SFN) conference this year—the highest ever level of attendance the event has seen since its inception in the late 1990s and the first time the event has been held since 2019.
“When we first started this event, someone said this group would get smaller and smaller over time,” said Scott Sandlin, executive vice president, residential, Shaw. “They were wrong; it has only gotten bigger and bigger. To me, this is absolutely the best event in the industry. When you leave here you feel better about your partnerships.”
Parsing out the total attendance, Shaw estimated that roughly 970 unique accounts, which translates into well over 2,000 storefronts, are represented here. On top of that, an additional 1,000 “virtual attendees” are taking part in the event’s festivities remotely.
“We’ve had a lot thrown at us over the past few years, but it’s events like this that build us back up again,” Sandlin added. “The thing I love about this group is their entrepreneurial spirit, especially as we went into the pandemic. I admire their speed, agility and resiliency. They don’t wait around for things to happen.”
Independent and United
The theme of this year’s SFN convention, “Independent and United,” which was conceived by members of the Shaw Advisory Council, reflects both the entrepreneurial drive of the members as well as the unified front they represent as some of the top Shaw retailers. “I’m really proud of our Dealer Advisory Council,” said Danny Crutchfield, vice president of SFN. “They really challenged us and inspired us. At Shaw, we’re focused on being customer centric, so we really try to include our customers in everything we do. This is the best event that we do and it’s all for our best customers.”
SFN retailers agreed wholeheartedly. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the new releases and designs for the new year,” said Tony Hoover, owner of Town & Country Carpets, Pelham, Ga. “Shaw Floors is the best.”
For others, it’s about the networking opportunities. “We’re looking forward to seeing and meeting all of the wonderful people we have worked with all these years,” said Amy Jacobino, owner of Tom’s Floor Shop, Childs, Pa.
Others come for the steals and deals, as well as the opportunity to enjoy time with the family members who tagged along. “I’ve grown up going to these events and now I’m taking on a larger role in the family business,” said Josh Detalente, owner of Benny’s Flooring Design Center, Warwick County, Ind.
Kyal Wilson, CEO of Nampa Floors & Interiors, Nampa, Idaho, said he remembers coming to SFN as a kid. Nearly two decades later, he’s running the family business—and also a member of the SFN Dealer Advisory Council. “Shaw is truly a great partner to its retailers,” he said. “They put the retailer first in everything they do.”
(Look for more on the SFN 2023 dealer conference in upcoming editions of FCNews and via our social media channels.)