Members of the Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA), which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, have voted to dissolve the association no later than the end of this year. In its decision, the group cited accomplishment of its primary mission “to legitimize, enhance and improve the overall image and professionalism of the floor covering installation segment”as distributors and manufacturers of installation supplies products.

“This is a very appropriate move at the right time,” stated Doug Ray, FIANA president and CEO. “Our board has made a courageous recommendation and membership overwhelmingly concurs. Much has changed in these past 20 years. The association is currently in a strong position yet understands the need to not rest on its laurels but to look forward to the new challenges of the industry.”

Reached by phone, Ray added, “FIANA accomplished everything it wanted to. When FIANA first started the industry was very different. No one paid attention to installation supplies, and we promoted professionalism and put a lot of importance and focus on that segment of the industry. That was our essential goal, and we accomplished it. We don’t want to sit back now and just be a social club, nor do we want to try and reinvent ourselves and look for a new mission. It’s time to move on, and everybody is leaving with their heads held high.”

Ray noted he was extremely proud of the association and what it has accomplished. “We did a lot of soul-searching, and realized this was the right thing to do. Whatever our final decision, we wanted to be sure to end FIANA on positive terms, not because we were forced out due to a financial situation or lack of membership. Neither of those things are the case, and the membership overwhelmingly agreed with our choice.”

He commented that with installation supply distributor companies expanding their influence through acquisitions and mergers, the need for an industry association focused solely on that segment becomes diminished. “When companies start getting that big, the synergy changes. They can speak for the supplies industry on an individual basis. These larger, multi-faceted companies are very capable of continuing emphasis on the importance and vitality of the supplies portion of the flooring business.”

Ray said he spoke with past presidents Jim Lee and Gary Verhey about the decision to end FIANA. “The era of FIANA may have ended, but the friendships we have all made in this industry sure haven’t. I hope to always stay connected with the flooring industry because it remains a major part of my life. It’s bittersweet, but it’s time.”