Starnet Worldwide celebrated the flooring contractor network’s silver anniversary at its annual spring meeting in Carlsbad, Calif., with 705 members and vendors in attendance, up from 668 last year.
“It’s remarkable to celebrate 25 years,” said Jeanne Matson, president and CEO of Starnet. “We continue to see tremendous increases in attendance and a lot of that’s driven by our vendor community. Most of our vendors are bringing larger teams to these meetings and some are coming early to do their own meetings. We also have more special guests and more people from member companies. It’s all three sources.”
On the eve of the group’s gala celebration, Matson said she was optimistic about Starnet’s growth potential. “We have tremendously committed members. We have been able to expand our membership strategically, so we are covering all our markets. We have tremendous vendor support and have had some tremendous consistency in our vendor network.
“I believe we answer a need in the industry, and that need is to ensure that a beautiful product produced by our vendors become a beautiful floor. Working with our members from the beginning of the project to the end I think is the way to ensure a quality installation.”
The Starnet spring meeting traditionally focuses on education. This year’s lineup featured workshops on creating a leadership model for family businesses, conflict resolution, reviewing and managing contracts, and flooring failures and issues—which focused on the issues members are seeing with new products in the field.
“Our members are facing a lot of challenges,” Matson said. “Some of the moisture problems they deal with in new construction, some of the issues in terms of installation and labor and getting the right resources there. I think members count on this network to resolve some of those issues and to be able to reach out to other members. It’s tremendous the talent they have.”
Members also had the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with vendors before the conference trade show.
“We have some very aggressive growth goals, which we worked on last year when we developed our vision for 2020,” Matson said. “We are looking to add new members strategically, and we have a clear picture of which markets could benefit from new members. We are looking to grow in revenue. We aren’t growing our vendor network. We feel committed to the vendors who are in our network and we are wanting to grow with them, but the real opportunities are growing our members’ vendor purchases internally. These are the vendors that support us and we want to encourage our members to purchase through them. That is the number one priority.”
The meeting also featured another anniversary, 60 years for J+J Flooring Group, one of Starnet’s preferred vendors. Matson presented J+J President David Jolly with a commemorative plaque, and Jolly returned the favor with a commemorative bowl to mark Starnet’s milestone year. The meeting concluded with a gala and an awards ceremony where Howard Chapman of Bonitz Flooring Group of Greenville, S.C., was honored for his retirement.
The Starnet Board of Directors welcomed two new board members and elected officers to serve the 2017-2018 term. This year’s board officers include Chairman Cheryl Acierno, Acierno & Company, Denver; Vice Chairman Chuck Bode, CB Flooring, Columbia, Md.; Treasurer Leonard Zmijewski, Mr. David’s Flooring International, Itasca, Ill.; and Secretary Dan Ulfig, Master Craft Floors, Plymouth, Mich. New board members include Dan Sliwinski of Sliwinski Floor Covering Services in Huntingdon Valley, Pa.; and Jim Vanhauer of Commercial Flooring Systems in Omaha. Other board members include Paul White of Paul G. White Tile Company, Inc., Portland, Maine; Pete Larmore of Bonitz Flooring Group, Concord, N.C.; and Les Lippert of Lippert Tile Company, Menomonee Falls, Wis.