Page 29 from my Surfaces diary

Home Column Page 29 from my Surfaces diary

Dear Diary,

And just like that, it was over almost as fast as it began. Surfaces is quite the phenomenon. After months and months of buildup, the excitement reaches a crescendo at 9 a.m. on day one and then it’s balls to the wall for three consecutive 18-hour days. How can something be so exhausting yet so exhilarating? Such is Surfaces.

One thing I can tell you, dear diary: Having Surfaces on top of KBIS (kitchen and bath show), IBS (builder show) and World Market (furniture/ rug show) creates problems. Add that to a hardware show and mattress show, and no wonder I had to fly to Vegas through Seattle. Not so bad if you live in Montana; not the most direct route if you live in New York. And if the most popular non-flooring topic last year was how we’re done with COVID-19, this year’s topic du jour was how much each of us paid for our plane tickets.

So, what do I want to write about the show? Remember, dear diary, how I told you everyone was asking me for six months what I thought Surfaces would be like? Did I think it would be well attended? Remember how I kept saying this show would be better than 2020? You remember my four favorite words, right? I get to use them now. I. Told. You. So. Attendance surpassed 2020. Exhibitors told me they were writing more orders than any other Surfaces. How good was this show? Rumor has it that it will return to its 5 p.m. quitting time next because exhibitors still had booths full of people at 4 p.m.

Here’s my next takeaway from Surfaces, dear diary: If there ever was any doubt, we can put it to rest here: The FEI Group party at Skyfall on opening night has become THE event at Surfaces. The lineup of people walking through the door is a who’s who of the flooring industry. It’s like an Oscars or Grammys afterparty. And as usual, Eye Candy was packed to the rafters.

What’s another entry into this diary without answering the obligatory question: What did you see at Surfaces? Well, I saw a lot. Better question: What will I remember? In no particular order as thoughts randomly pop into my head… Everybody seems to be introducing a laminate. What is this, 1999? Laminate is making the biggest comeback since Lazarus… I thought the Riva booth and merchandising concept was spectacular. This is a company that dares to be different… There’s a company out of Canada, Triforest Flooring, that is going to be very significant. Mark my words.

Owner Joyce Zhang was working it from start to finish… If you don’t know the brand SLCC you surely will now. The company has formed a Dream Team of ex-Raskinites Ted Rocha  and Vinny Circosta, along with Chris Dillon, formerly of Create.

This SampleApp tool from Carole Cross is getting rave reviews as a real solution… Expecting big things from Southwind and new CEO Drew Hash…Three sure things in life: death, taxes and an impressive Daltile booth… Two people I love catching up with every year are Michel Vermette and Christy Schofield… When it comes to technology, it’s hard to separate Valinge, Unilin and i4F. Those companies are so much more than the locking systems for which they are known… I remember my first Surfaces in 1995 and how the Mannington executives were among the few still at the booth when the show closed. Nearly 30 years later, leadership has changed (except for chairman, Keith Campbell) but they’re still singing “Show Me the Way to Go Home” at the closing bell…

The FCNews Live at Surfaces videos were phenomenal. Kudos to Eliud Custodio and Meghan Dominie for a job well done. And thanks to the Surfaces folks for giving them added exposure. Speaking of which, I don’t think the team of Dana x2 get enough credit for everything they do to make the show the success it is… Next year’s show is a week earlier and Wednesday through Friday. Should I stay (for the weekend) or should I go (home), with apologies to The Clash. (You millennials will never get that one.)

Great seeing you all and can’t wait to do it all again.

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Feb. 6/13, 2023

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