The general consensus is that the flooring industry is hungry for innovative ways to win new business and battle back against a weak economy. Organizers for the joint Surfaces and StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2013 show, set for Jan. 28-31 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, hope the event will serve as the staging ground for the beginning of a long-term turnaround.

According to Dana Teague, Surfaces/StonExpo group director, the 2013 edition of the show will offer a wide range of opportunities through exhibits and events geared toward new product trends, the latest education and training updates, surveys of cutting-edge technology and forums on best practices for building business.

“Surfaces 2013 is a must-attend event for all floor covering professionals,” Teague noted. “From our intense education program to our world-class show floor, every retailer and installer can walk away anticipating success in the upcoming year.”

BNP Media’s Floor Covering Installer and Floor Trends magazines will both have large roles in the upcoming show, sponsoring numerous awards, show features and events. FCI will sponsor a greatly expanded Tool Alley, a themed area of the show floor dedicated solely to flooring tools and equipment. Tool Alley is set to feature advanced new tools, which will be put through their paces during live demonstrations. Additionally, Chris Grundy, host of DIY’s Cool Tools, will visit on Tuesday, Jan. 29, to tour the Tool Alley exhibits.

Floor Trends’ presence at the show will include co-sponsoring the New Product Marketplace with TILE Magazine, as well as two World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) awards.Additionally, FT will participate in the Technology Trends demonstrations and kick off the TrendSetter Award.

The New Product Marketplace is designed to serve as a sneak-peek of some of the most eye-catching products showgoers will be able to see inside the show. This year, attendees can choose their favorite new product in the Marketplace by texting in their vote. The award winner will be announced on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 30.

According to Amie Gilmore, associate show director, “The New Product Marketplace is tracking to be bigger and better than it has been in previous years. With the Marketplace moving into the lobby of Bayside, attendees will have easy access to view the greatest new product and trends in one central location.”

FT will be sponsoring WFCA’s annual Gold Standard Award and WFCA/Howard Olansky Memorial Affiliate of the Year Awards. The Gold Standard Award is given to a WFCA-member retailer that exemplifies the standards of the WFCA and has created a memorable retail experience. The winner, who will be announced at Surfaces, will receive a $5,000 check, a trophy, press recognition and a customized seal for his or her store entrance. The WFCA noted that there is still time for interested retailers to enter; entries close on Dec. 31.

The WFCA/Howard Olansky Memorial Affiliate of the Year Awards are given each year to the top small, medium and large affiliates of the WFCA in memory of Howard Olansky, co-founder of Floor Trends magazine. Michael Chmielecki, FCI editor and FT associate editor, will present the awards at the show.

The Technology Trends demonstrations are part of the show’s brand-new Business Enrichment Center. This area will feature an education stage, a social lounge with a focus on social media, and an attendee lounge for networking opportunities. The Technology Trends demonstrations are concise, 15-minute presentations of new technology-based products, running Jan. 29-31. FT will give demonstrations all three days for its Floor Trends+ app, which lets readers see special videos and animations by scanning the + icons in issues of the Floor Trends print magazine. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices.

The Floor TrendsTrendsetter Award recognizes individuals in the floor covering industry whose contributions, efforts and innovations have resulted in the betterment of their business, their industry and their community, improving the lives and prospects of those around them. Trendsetters are leaders, pacemakers who set the bar higher, do the job smarter and raise up everyone around them. They personify excellence; the Trendsetter Awardis just one of many ways Floor Trendsacknowledges the role these individuals play in and beyond the floor covering industry.


Major flooring companies ready for the show

Exhibitors are excited for the 2013 show, with many of them anticipating a higher turnout and more business than in previous shows. According to Ralph Boe, president and CEO of  Beaulieu of America,“It seems like consumer confidence is getting better and the builder segment is getting a bit better. That should mean more business in 2013.”

He said the company will roll out “a whole new line of introductions that’s different from the things we’ve shown in the past. These are things that we’ve kept under the blanket this year, so they really haven’t been exposed to anybody yet.”

Boe added that Surfaces serves as a great venue for the company. “You get to see so many people over a three-day period and engage with new customers. Also, our sales force gets charged up by going out there. They see the displays and how the products look on the floor, along with how the customers react to them, and come back so much more excited about selling.”

Lori Kirk-Rolley, Dal-Tile sr. marketing director, said the show “affords us the opportunity to showcase our extensive portfolio of new products and expanded product lines, as well as our exciting programs and technology initiatives.” She added that this year’s show will see Dal-Tile’s “largest new product offering in years.”

Betsy Amoroso, corporate communications director of  Mannington Mills Inc., called the show “the industry’s single largest event, which not only offers a great venue for face-to-face interaction with our customers, but demonstrates our continuing support for the flooring industry.” Along with showcasing new products, the company will bring back its Jay’s Bargain Basement area.

According to Steve Rausch, USG’s field marketing and technical manager, Surfaces is valuable because “all the different segments of the industry come together to learn about the new developments and methods to continue improving our industry.”

USG will be debuting several new technologies and product systems. Along with acting as a product showcase, Surfaces also serves another important purpose, according to Rausch. “The show sets the pace for how the industry will do. If attendance is high, as anticipated, that will show a very positive sign that we can expect a recovery of the housing improvement business in 2013.”



Our Experts Gear Up for Surfaces

Columnists from FCI and Floor Trends will once again offer their expertise and insights to show goers at Surfaces 2013. Presentations include:

Monday, Jan. 28: FCI columnist Jon Nambawith Proper Substrate Preparation for Hardwood, Bamboo and Laminate,11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; FCI columnist  David Gobis, and Mikeal Jensen, Crossville residential design dir., presenting Glass Tile: A Journey Through Design Trends, Colors and Applications,1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; FT columnist  Lew Migliore,with Avoiding Problems with Floor Covering – Getting the Right Product in the Right Place, 3:30 to 5 p.m.; and David Gobis, along with Mike Micalizzi,Custom Building Products technical services director, presenting Selection and Specification of Installation Materials for Ceramic Tile and Stone,3:30 to 5 p.m.