We are two weeks removed from our annual Awards of Excellence dinner and awards presentation, where we had a record number of attendees at the Garden City Hotel from across the industry. We hosted a number of first-timers and we had our fair share of regulars, too.
This year we had 25 winners, which included a few multiple recipients. When you see the coverage on pages 28-29, you only see those who came out on top of the voting. But despite counting nearly 1,000 ballots, there were some extremely close contests. In fact, a bunch were decided by 10 votes or fewer. So, as I do every year, I want to call attention to a few companies that came very close to getting an invite to our soiree. Of course, that and 2 bucks won’t get you a subway ride, but hey.
First, let’s talk about Best Overall. We asked the voters to choose either Shaw or Mohawk in 10 different categories. How close was it? Mohawk won six of them: innovation, design, ease of doing business, professionalism of sales force, training/education and digital tools. Shaw captured service, handling of claims, on-time delivery and credit terms. Only once did a company garner more than 54% of the vote (innovation). And Mohawk won digital by a razor-thin margin. This proves there is little that separates the industry’s two behemoths.
Next, let’s talk about the categories that weren’t close. Daltile continues to win Tile A every year in a landslide, this time commanding 67% of the vote. Also, this year we introduced a new category, Mouldings, and Versatrim immediately proved its dominance with a 62% share of the vote. Other decisive winners were Stanton in the Decorative Carpet category (33% of the vote), Mannington in the vinyl sheet category and Mirage with a comfortable 80- vote margin of victory in the Canadian Hardwood competition. Aladdin also won handily for Main Street for the fourth year in a row.
Now let’s unravel some of the competitive races. It seems every single year Leggett and Carpenter go toe to toe for Cushion/Underlayment honors, and this year was no exception. Leggett took home top honors by less than 10 votes, its fifth consecutive victory in the category.
A few years ago we extended the Rigid Core category to three divisions, and this year Beauflor came out on top. The margin of victory was seven votes over Bella, which came out of nowhere to grab more votes than they ever have. In the minds of retailers, Both Beauflor and Bella are benefitting from new leadership.
Speaking of Rigid Core, Karndean has captured the B category six years running. This time around, the supplier that prides itself on style and design faced a battle with another company— Karastan—that prides itself on the same attribute. Relatively new to resilient, Karastan’s LuxeCraft proved formidable competition for the perennial winner.
When you have close to 1,000 ballots and the margin of victory is under 10, that is an extremely close race. But what about when the margin is five votes or fewer? Well, that happed three times this year. Last year we split Hardwood into four sections, with Hallmark taking home the hardware in the Asian Import category. Hallmark repeated this year by just five votes over Provenza.
Here’s something I found very interesting. Engineered Floors won Best Overall Under $5 Billion by a pretty sizeable margin. However, the Carpet A margin was razor thin with it edging Karastan by five votes.
Lastly, in the closest contest of the year, Broadlume, RFMS and QFloors went head to head in the Technology category for the second year in a row. Five votes separated all three at the finish line. After multiple recounts, Broadlume emerged victorious by two votes.
The point I am seeking to make with this column is that while this issue of FCNews recognizes the winners, all of which are well deserving, there are a bunch of other companies out there helping retailers become more profitable in various ways. All deserve to be recognized, because that’s what we are all here for.