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My take: Best of Surfaces call for entries, judges

November 12/19, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 11
By Steven Feldman

I know many of you are wrapped up in your Thanksgiving Day plans as you read this, and some are focused on putting up their Christmas trees on Black Friday. But it’s also time to start thinking about Surfaces, because—believe it or not— we’re only two months away from the flooring industry’s premier event.

Future columns will focus on the most comprehensive education program (co-sponsored by FCNews) and exhibitor lineup that can’t be experienced anywhere but Surfaces. But for now I want to concentrate on Best of Surfaces, the competition we co-sponsor with Informa, owners and operators of the show. Now in its eighth year, Best of Surfaces has become a benchmark for product and program excellence. But the success of the contest cannot be achieved without the help of our readers—both our suppliers and retailers.

A little background for those new to the industry or in a coma for the past eight years: The Best of Surfaces awards recognizes those companies whose product, program, service, business practice or booth design are considered to be “best” in their class. But unlike other awards, which are typically handed out by product category, the Best of Surfaces awards are handled a bit differently. Winners are announced in four categories: Innovation, Sustainability, Style & Design and Technology. In addition, there will be two awards for exhibit space: Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet and over 1,200 square feet). The criteria is simple: Products must make their debuts at Surfaces. What’s more, there is absolutely no charge for entering.

For exhibitors, consider this a call for entries. Please enter a product, program, service, business practice or booth in the category you believe to be most reflective of the product’s primary attribute. Suppliers can have one entry per category; they cannot have multiple entries in one particular category. Best thing to do is contact Michelle Swayze at Informa at 972.536.6449 or michelle.swayze@informa.com for more information or to enter.

For the record, winning a Best of Surfaces award can truly drive product success on the retail floor. Winners will receive:

•Recognition on the Surfaces and FCNews websites through July
•A customized Best of Surfaces 2019 logo for placement on all advertising
•An exquisite, custom-engraved award presented at the booth by members of show management and FCNews staff
•Booth signage acknowledging the company was voted Best of Surfaces
•Coverage in FCNews

That takes care of the entry part. The next thing we need are retailer panel judges who will determine the 2019 winners. It’s a job you don’t want to take lightly because there’s a lot at stake for the manufacturers. If you are a flooring dealer—past or present—who has an understanding of what constitutes excellence in the Best of Surfaces’ four categories, we want to hear from you.

Some criteria: First, you have to attend Surfaces. Second, you must be willing to evaluate some of the submissions in the weeks leading up to the show. Third, you are required to share your thoughts with other members of the panel. After we decide the category for which you will be judging, you and your peers will be given some criteria on what to look for. You will then receive information on each of the entries. In some cases, it will be a description of the entry. The respective panels will then come up with their five finalists, which they will view on site on day one at Surfaces. By the end of the show’s first day, they will have informed FCNews of their choice.

Those interested in judging Best of Surfaces can contact me via e-mail at steve@fcnews.net.