FCA Network kicks off 2023 annual convention

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FCA Network 2023Scottsdale, Ariz.—Floor Covering News is here for the start of the FCA Network 2023 annual convention, the 25th edition of the event. “Networking Rising … A Force for Change 2023” is the theme for this year’s event, which is being held at The Scott Resort.

Olga Robertson, president of the FCA Network, told members this year’s convention represented a “milestone” for the group; the future looks very bright. With that, Robertson introduced five new members and provided them with certificates for joining the group. Andrea O’Connell, owner of Graham’s Flooring & Design, Loveland, Colo., for example, was one of the new members.

FCA Network 2023

Elizabeth Hurley, vice president of retail and national accounts for Shaw Industries, delivered the keynote address on Monday. Hurley told retail members at the FCA Network 2023 event that change in business is occurring at a rapid rate and that rather than than avoid it, dealers should embrace it, and be part of it.

“We have to change if we want to win,” she said. The penalty for not changing is becoming obsolete. Hurley asked members who owned a Nokia phone? When no one answered, she replied, that’s because Nokia didn’t change.

Hurley also addressed the importance retaining your best employees so they can become “ambassadors for your business,” and the growing influence of AI. Citing a Statista figure showing the AI software market would reach $126 billion by 2025, Hurley said, “AI is the future and we have to be prepared digitally.”

FCA 2023

Kaye Whitener, director of operations for the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) addressed retail members at the FCA Network 2023 event during Monday’s opening general session.

Whitener spoke about the progress being made with technical college accreditation, with six schools now on board with curriculum pertaining to flooring installation. FCEF provides scholarships for beginner classes.

Day 2 kicks off

Supplier-retailer interactions is the theme of day 2, with a roundtable discussion between retailers and suppliers followed by a trade show on the agenda. During a break in the action, Buddy Mitchell (left), co-owner of Simply Floors in Denver, and his wife, Karyn  Mitchell (center) catch up with Pami Bhullar, vice president of business development for The Dixie Group.

During the convention select suppliers were given a chance to pitch products to retail members. Making the case for RevWood was Kelly Oberschlake, vice president of national accounts, who noted that laminate sales for Mohawk are up double digits thanks to RevWood. In addition, RevWood collections offer better margin opportunities for dealers than luxury vinyl, in part, because there are fewer players in the laminate space.

Shaw Industries’ Ann McDermott, VP of national sales, spends time with Don. Lovato of Carpet Source USA (left) and Steve Knisely of Wholesale Carpets of Fox Valley.

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