Mohawk CEO Jeffrey Lorberbaum addresses retailers during his keynote address.

Mohawk’s three-day Solutions convention, held last month in San Antonio, drew close to 750 ColorCenter Elite and Floorscapes dealers. The event was the first Mohawk convention that included both Floorscapes and ColorCenter members.

“We wanted to reach as many of our customers as possible, and a smaller show format limits the number of reps you can have at a show,” explained Manny Llerena, Mohawk’s vp retail marketing. “Additionally, the savings from doing this is being reinvested in training.”

Training was a focus of this year’s convention, with voluntary Mohawk University classes in five topics: “Closing More Sales,” “Planning the Future of Your Business,” “Highly Successful People,” a class about employee and consumer personality types called “Understanding the Difference,” and “Monday Morning Implementations,” a class that explored ways retailers could immediately take what they learned at convention and implement it into their businesses.

The company is also planning targeted training throughout the year for Mohawk dealers. Beginning Feb. 1, the company will offer 24 sales modules taught by author and motivational speaker Don Hutson, over a period of 48 weeks. In March and April, Mohawk will offer a “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” course in 14 cities. In the summer, the company will concentrate on financials and benchmarking with its dealers. Finally, in the fall, Mohawk will host a two-day course on coaching and employee performance in 14 cities.

During his keynote address to the retailers, Mohawk CEO Jeffrey Lorberbaum said training was an integral part of Mohawk’s business plan for 2010. “Our primary focus is providing you ideas for change. This is going to be a year-long process.”

The convention was also the launching pad for several product introductions, including new EverStrand carpets and Wear-Dated SoftTouch carpet with Soft Fusion technology, a Hardwood Collection display system that includes female-targeted signage featuring HGTV personality Taniya Nayak, a laminate flooring line featuring GenuEdge pressed bevel technology, and Delanova ceramic tile made using Ink Jet printing technology.

Ken Patel, owner of Carpet & Tile Junction in Apache Junction, Ariz., said he was at the show looking for “new ideas.”

“I want to see what others are doing during this downturn, and find out what’s working and what isn’t,” he said. “We might not have all the answers [separately], but together we might.”

Richie Ballance, owner of Richie Ballance Flooring in Wilson, N.C., said he was excited about the renewed focus on training.

“I look forward to the training every year,” Ballance noted adding, “We always leave these classes with new ideas.”

Ernie Cavender, owner of Cavender’s The Interior Co. in Cookeville, Tenn., echoed those sentiments. “The education is always helpful, and so is just talking to other dealers.”