FCI Editorial Comment

There are those who mark the passage of time by counting the number of ritualized holiday voyages to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Some prefer to watch Dick Clark drop a giant ball in the Big Apple, while deduction-junkies target April 15 each and every year.

Then there is the floor covering industry, the thousands of stalwart souls whose very existence is often determined by the success or failure of one thing. Calendars in offices across the land sport large, red “X’s” in the middle of the week.

Three days.

At the end of January.

In Las Vegas.

It’s here.

What is that out there, shining like a beacon in the night? Could it be the North Star, guiding those gone astray back into the fold? More than likely, it’s the 20 kajillion kilowatts blasting out of the tip of the Luxor hotel at the end of the Strip, focusing into a beam of light so intense as to illuminate a black hole.

Surfaces 2001 works for a variety of reasons. Its size and diversity make it invaluable to industry players both new and old. The January date allows it to claim status as the first truly sizeable show of the year in the United States, a unique locale to unveil the latest creations from the folks toiling away in R&D.

What else? If December was any indication, most of the country is in for an arctic winter. While not the sweltering oasis it becomes in the summer, Las Vegas in wintertime has a certain balmy allure to those recently removed from the 6-foot snowdrifts on the sidewalks of Milwaukee.

Year after year, the show continues to grow in both size and stature. Truly the yardstick against which other floor covering exhibitions are measured, Surfaces is experiencing a behind-the-scenes facelift this year. Hanley Wood LLC, a business-to-business information provider for the residential and commercial construction industry, holds the keys to the castle after purchasing the show from the World Floor Covering Association in early 2000. While wandering the show floor, it should be interesting to see what, if any, changes make themselves apparent to the casual observer.

Last year gave us former 49er Steve Young and inline skating. What will this year hold? At this point, nobody’s talking, but I’m crossing my fingers for Charo and the Lawn Chair Drill Team. You never can tell.

And that’s part of the Surfaces excitement. The show is big enough and diverse enough to not have every turn and twist that an attendee might happen upon already mapped out for them. It leaves something to the imagination.

And that’s what makes the journey so enjoyable.