Sonna Calandrino, a fixture in the flooring industry for more than 30 years, died May 23 due to complications from breast and bone cancer. She was founder and publisher of Fabulous Floors magazine, and president of Peachtree Communications, a consulting firm specializing in advertising, PR, merchandising and training for the flooring industry.
Her friends, family and colleagues remember her as a tireless advocate of the industry. "She continued to work right up to a few days prior to her hospitalization. Though struggling for many months, Sonna rebounded after the New Year and took the helm of the spring issue of Fabulous Floors; her influence and contributions in this issue are obvious. In retrospect, her partners and staff believe Sonna knew this would be her farewell issue," her family said in a statement.
Calandrino was a fixture at industry events, keynoting conventions and seminars, crisscrossing the country with her positive messages of education, profitability and the excitement of fashion presented by flooring of all kinds. She was open about her love for the flooring business, the people, the products, and the challenges of being able to have a positive impact on an industry that was moving from commodity and price to one of fashion and margin.
Calandrino’s client list is a who’s who of the industry. Among other achievements, Calandrino was the initial architect of Mohawk University’s course structure and later spent nearly a decade creating and launching Mohawk Floorscapes on behalf of that corporation.
Despite her high profile, Calandrino was a very private person. At her request, there will be no funeral or other arrangements. Though she loved flowers, it is requested that donations in her name be given to: The Floor Covering Industry Foundation, 2211 E Howell Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806.
Additionally, her gardens will be maintained at the 200-year-old family farm she restored in Upstate New York. An open house for family, friends and business associates will be held at her home from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 4. For more information, contact her longtime associate and friend, Margo Locust, at Peachtree Communications: (518) 828-3200.
Calandrino is survived by her business partner of more than 13 years and husband of nearly two years, Richard Howland. She is also survived by a sister, Lisbeth Calandrino.