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Al's Column

By Al Wahnon

HARBINGER: Despite the recent bailout of Greece and the still struggling European economy, Cersaie 2010 seems unaffected by the surrounding fiscal problems and is already fully booked. How great is that? The ceramic tile show, staged in Bologna, Italy, runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 and already there are more than 800 exhibitors signed up, about 20% non-Italian companies. The 28th edition of the show will feature exhibitors from 29 countries, including 415 ceramic tile companies, 259 Italian and 156 non-Italian. As for country participation, Spain was first with 107, then Germany 20, and Turkey and Portugal with 17. The event will take place in the Bologna Exhibition Centre and to learn more about it, visit cersaie.it after June 1.

WOOD IS GOOD: President Obama’s Home Star program, commonly called “Cash for Caulkers” has been amended to include wood products, announced by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). The program is designed to kick-start the homebuilding industry and create green jobs through rebates for energy-saving home improvements. The amended legislation is receiving support in both the House and the Senate, but final passage is expected to take some time. Having the wood provision in both bills is a positive first step for the wood industry and is supported by the Hardwood Federation, a coalition of more than 30 associations, including the NWFA and its more than 3,500 members worldwide.

SURVEY: Interior Design magazine recently published its annual Universe Study on Design, a compilation of more than 3,500 responses to a survey, and found that design firms specify more than $46 billion worth of design products, only 16% of which comes from architecture companies. Individual firms specify an average of $2 million worth of products per year. Office is the dominant project category with 76% of the firms involved; residential is second with 52% of the companies participating, and hospitality is third with 47% taking part. Designers typically spend 11% of their time researching products on the Internet, 7% meeting with vendors and 5% researching in their library. Geographic- ally, the West and the South/ Southeast each have 28% of U.S. designers, the Northeast 25% and the Midwest 19%.

ADDENDUM: The Interior Design study also found that the top 12 brands mentioned included InterfaceFlor and Shaw Contract. The second dozen of the most popular included Armstrong and Mohawk. The publisher listed the top 10 reasons a brand becomes a designer favorite: 1) Beautiful, timeless design. 2) Multifunctionality that lets a designer’s imagination run wild. 3) Exceptional quality, always upheld. 4) Variety in colors, finishes and sizes. 5) A genuine initiative where sustainability is concerned. 6) Timely sampling and quick delivery. 7) Knowledgeable and responsive representatives. 8) Reliable customer service and follow-up support. 9) Reasonable pricing and good value. 10) Staff members who are designer friendly.

READY FREDDIE: The Remember When photo on page 4 in our last issue was sent in by Jon Pierce of Pierce Flooring & Design and three of the 17 men in the picture were unidentified. Well, Fred Shehadi called and in a flash provided the missing names. The former chairman of the board of B. Shehadi & Sons; who is retired, called from Naples, Fla., and recognized the third man from the right in the back row as Ken Metrick of Elte Carpet Co. of Toronto. And, seated third and fourth from the left are Bill Kauffman of B. Shehadi & Sons, East Hanover, N.J., and Carl Franzella of Sun Interiors of New Orleans, La. He not only supplied the names but gave the affiliations. Then, Peter Feldman of Prestige Mills checked in to cast a vote for Ken Metrick. Thanks guys.