Education, networking, products galore—this year’s The International Surface Event (TISE) show had all that and more! I was impressed with the amount of enthusiasm of both the attendees and exhibitors. The energy level was definitely evident on the show floor. It‘s been a while since I’ve seen so much traffic on all three days of the show. It’s a good indication that business is going well in the flooring industry.

For those of you who have never attended TISE, the show is held in Las Vegas toward the end of January. Let me just say, it’s a good time to be in Vegas if you live in a snow state! If you’re an installer, you may not think this show is for you, but there is so much about the show that is geared toward contractors. Once you attend, you’ll be back. The targeted educational tracks will help you build your business, and networking with other installers will give you an idea of how they operate their businesses. It’s also an opportunity to meet new friends that are there to learn, just like you.

As usual, I wasn’t able to see all the exhibitors I wanted to, as there just wasn’t enough time. From speaking with friends and colleagues, I found out their experience was largely the same, between meetings and trying to walk the show floor in three days. This year it seemed the buzz was about the WPC, SPC and other multilayer core products. Retailers, contractors and installers will want to make sure to stay up-to-date on these products as there are differences with the cores and installation methods.

TISE features tools, product demos and the latest for the upcoming year for stone fabricators as well as tile, carpet, resilient, laminate and hardwood contractors. Speaking of demos, the Installation Showcase is always a hit for contractors and retailers and as usual it was standing-room only. Attendees are able to see the proper installation techniques of various products and talk to the pros afterward.

This year’s show featured hands-on demonstrations and certifications from manufacturers and groups such as the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) and National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). Topics included Large Heavy Tile, Uncoupling Systems, Shower Backerboard Installations, KoolGlide Carpet Seaming, Technical Considerations for Mechanically Fastening Wood to Wood Subfloors, LVP Plank Installation and more. An installer could pretty much spend three days just at all the hands-on demonstrations!

The “Cage,” sponsored by the Stone Fabricators Alliance, is also always a big hit as installers are given the opportunity to fabricate right on the show floor. Additionally, the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) hosted a moisture testing certification and the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) held a certified inspector course.

The show gives me a chance to talk to people about what they’re seeing in their own regions of the country and even globally, as well as just having the opportunity to speak one-on-one to get their perspectives on the industry. The after-hours socials with friends and manufacturer-hosted events are a great way to unwind after a long day of meetings and walking the show floor, and it also builds relationships.

The timing of the show at the first of the year is always a good kick-start for all of us in the industry. It helps build excitement and momentum for the upcoming year. So for those of you who attended, I hope that you got your jump on the year. For those of you who didn’t have the opportunity to attend, make plans to do so next year for an experience that will propel your business forward. Here’s to a successful 2018!