Kicking things off on Jan. 25, Dan Westcott and Jack Dean of INSTALL presented a one-hour installation-focused education session on the exhibit floor's live stage. The presentation focused on the importance of installation certification. Later that day, FCI columnist Jon Namba hosted a panel discussion on “Common Causes and Corrections for Installation Failures.” Panelists included Gerald Sloan, technical director of the National Tile Contractors Association; Don Conner of the National Wood Flooring Association; and Jim Walker, founder and ceo of International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI). Attendance for the 90-minute session was standing room only, as the panelists fielded questions from the audience covering installation of carpet, wood, ceramic and resilient flooring.
Although the new venue took some readjustment from veteran show attendees, everyone seemed to agree that it was a considerable improvement over the previous venue.
“This year’s Surfaces/Stone Expo show event was an event times 2, and the signage around the show floor displayed just that with the S2 logos,” said Jon Namba. “With the addition of Stone expo the show had more to offer the attendees than in years past. A new venue, the Mandalay Bay created a lot of renewed excitement for many who have weathered the storm of the economy.”
“I felt that the change to Mandalay Bay, along with adding Stone Expo and its seminars, gave a person a great value for being at Surfaces,” said installer Roland Thompson. “Surfaces and the vendors did an outstanding job by putting together a lot more live demos on how their product was to be installed along with new product demos. It made me feel that the show was not just for retailers but everyone in the industry. The layout was easy to follow to find the products you were looking for.”
“Surfaces is always a great show because of the people involved,” said Jim Walker. “The Hanley Wood staff does an outstanding job of preparation and follow through so the rest of us can enjoy it. The seminars were well attended and I heard from those who visited with us at the CFI booth that they greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend them at no cost. There’s enough education at this event to assist everyone for the year ahead. It appeared that many took advantage of this information.”
While overall attendance for the three-day event was decidedly mixed, attendance at the educational events was strong, with some events filled to capacity.
“The educational events were great, not only with the added seminars of both show events but the fact that they were free if the attendees registered early,” said Jon Namba, who has been a presenter at Surfaces for many years. “The response from the attendees in regards to the free education and selection of seminars was tremendous. Turnouts in several seminars were well over 150 attendees. I had the opportunity to moderate common causes of installation failures with Don Conner, Jim Walker, and Gerald Sloan. The seminar was a panel Q&A with questions from the audience that filled the 90 minutes without any problems. I also conducted a substrate preparation for Hardwood, Bamboo, and Laminate on Wednesday afternoon. The attendance was well over 100, far exceeding my expectations!”
The S2 main stage, which was referred to in the past as the installation showcase, was another successful venue. There were sessions showcasing stone product maintenance, new adhesive technology for tackstrip and transitions, woven carpet, laminate repair, large format tile installation, moisture testing, requirements for installation certification, and inspectors working with retailers.