Surfaces 2012, co-located with StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, saw a 10% increase in attendance from 2011, the largest attendance number since 2008 according to show organizers. Thousands of floor covering professionals packed both floors of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Jan. 24-26.
“2012 is going to be defined as a turning point for Surfaces and hopefully for the industry as a whole,” said Amie Gilmore, Show Manager, Surfaces. “Leading up to the show the news headlines were becoming more and more positive and you could definitely see and feel that optimism and energy on the show floor. Everywhere we went we would hear conversations about how great the show was going.”
Surfaces featured 546 exhibiting companies in more than 295,000 net square feet of exhibit space. Once again, the event attracted a wide range of new exhibitors including 130 manufacturers. The show also drew more than 100 international exhibitors from countries such as Italy, Germany, Spain and Taiwan as well as attendees from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and the United Kingdom. This international presence represents approximately 18% of the overall participation.
“We were selling booth space on Monday, the day before the show started,” said Gilmore. “Companies understand the significance of being in the show and how it can impact the future of their business.”
“We believe it was our best show in the last 4-5 years,” noted Ed Duncan, Mannington. “We had a blast. Our sales force and customer base are as optimistic as they have been in quite a while.”
“You shouldn’t be content with just seeing what the distributors bring to you in your location,” explained Bill Gardner, Walker’s Carpet One. “At Surfaces, you see everything. Also, when people see me here, I feel like they know I’m serious about what I’m doing. I’m still in business. I’m a player in the industry.”
“The mood and spirit of attendees and exhibitors at Surfaces 2012 was remarkably upbeat and optimistic,” stated D. Christopher Davis, President & CEO, World Floor Covering Association. “While the number of attendees appeared to be comparable to the previous year, exhibitors told me quality clearly trumped quantity and serious business was conducted. There were plenty of new product offerings to see and get excited about. All in all, everyone I spoke with said Surfaces 2012 was an exceedingly positive and worthwhile experience.”
This year’s Education Program was stocked full of in-depth information and proven strategies to benefit floor covering professionals. Surfaces also introduced the S² Masters Certification program at the show this year, allowing education program participants to qualify for a “Master” status in any of the eight tracks offered in the program. Attendees had to take a minimum of eight hours to receive a certificate plus mention on the Surfaces website and a ribbon to attach to their badge at next year’s show.
"The educational sessions are what bring me to the show,” said Jay Zurn, CFI Coverings Precision Hardwood Surfaces. “I can take everything I learn back with me to use and share on the job. I take part in as many sessions as I can because they’re completely worth it."
Surfaces also added new show floor features including Tool Alley, S² Main Stage, Trends Hub and the Connections Pavilion and Demonstration Stage. Additionally, Surfaces brought back the New Product Marketplace which featured a sampling of the newest products for attendees to browse through before making their way to the manufacturer’s booth for additional information. National Floor Trends, Floor Covering Installer and TILE Magazine sponsored the New Product Marketplace and awarded the Best New Product 2012 to Beaulieu for their Created product line.
Show organizers are already gearing up for Surfaces 2013, which will take place Jan. 29-31 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada USA and will once again co-locate with StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas.
StonExpo also called a success
StonExpo also welcomed thousands of show goers. “There was definitely an enhanced atmosphere on the show floor,” said Amie Gilmore, Show Manager, StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas. “Booths were busy and people were engaged in serious business discussions. The stone industry is off to a great start, professionals are upbeat, and we’re thrilled to share in the momentum.”
Gary Distelhorst, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Marble Institute of America, commented, "This year's StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas was fortified with a positive spirit about the near future of our industry-a feeling of excitement that has, quite frankly, been missing the last couple years.”
A strong showing of stone industry professionals walked through the exhibits and visited with 120-plus diverse exhibitors sourcing out the latest stone products and machinery. Fifteen percent of exhibitors were new companies.
With more than 75 total sessions, and 25 specifically geared toward advancing the knowledge of the natural stone professional, this year’s Education Program was stocked full of in-depth information and proven strategies. Similar to Surfaces, StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas introduced the S² Masters Certification program at this year’s event.
"If you’re in the industry, you should be here,” stated Jeff Waterivs, Park Industries. “There are costs involved, but it’s very important to maintain that presence."
For more information on Surfaces and StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, visit www.Surfaces.com or www.StonExpo.com or follow the shows on Twitter at @Surfaces_Show and @StonExpo.