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City of opportunities: Living and working in NYC

This column was written and sponsored by Outpost Club.

 

New York City is known as one of the greatest cultural hubs in America. Every year the city sees millions of young graduates and professionals move to the city with hopes of fulfilling an exciting career journey. Studies indicate that 25% of the city’s labor force is from outside of the United States. Following are a few things you need to know when considering moving to NYC for work.

Traveling. People who live in NYC spend nearly seven hours per week on travelling to and from work. Because of this, New Yorkers have the longest working week in America, which is almost 49 hours per week. Many travellers commute to Manhattan from the boroughs for work and this means the population doubles on a daily basis from 1.6 million to 3.1 million. People travel via the subway—which is the most common method of transportation—as well as by bus, train, ferry and kayak.

Average wage. A full-time worker in NYC earns about 16% more than the average full-time workers in other parts of America. Statistics show that Manhattan has a weekly average wage of $2,954.

Rent. Rent in NYC can be very expensive. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in NYC is $2,662 per month. However, you do have other options like co-living. You will find many apartments to share on the Outpost Club website. These apartments offer you the opportunity to live in a fully furnished apartment, with many great amenities (Wi-Fi, gymnasium, pool, etc.), at discounted prices. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new people and make lasting friendships.

Cost of living. It is not easy to live in NYC but it is also not impossible especially if you live on a budget. There are many ways you can save money and make your stay in the city more affordable. One of these is opting to eat at home rather than buying food daily.

Tips for expats. The following are a few tips from people who have moved to NYC and thrived in the city:

  1. Take the subway. Rather than buying a car, taking the subway is the most economical and saves you time that you would ordinarily spend in traffic.
  2. Get to know the city. There is no better way than exploring what the city has to offer. This way you can acquaint yourself with regular specials and be more knowledgeable of how you can save money on necessities.
  3. Invest in a good pair of shoes. This is important as you might find yourself walking a lot, especially in your first few weeks in the city.
  4. You should try to build up social contacts before moving. This will ensure that you have contacts in the city when you get there. You can reach out to them once you are in the city and they can help you adjust and settle in.

Embrace the change that NYC offers and be sure to take advice from people who have successfully managed to live and work in NYC from other parts of the world.

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Guest column: Inadequate software can ruin your flooring business

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Kelly Oechslin

 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, data is increasingly complex and harder to manage. Without integration geared to the way you do business, no amount of staff meetings, afternoon appointments with the CPA or physical inventory counts will tell you the nitty gritty details of exactly what is going on in your business, and certainly not in a timely fashion.

Data is arriving from more sources, in greater quantity and more quickly than ever before. This makes speed incredibly important to flooring firms managing and using their data. That’s why a flooring-specific, fully integrated software system is needed. A lack of the right technology will put you well behind the competition, not to mention keep you spinning your wheels just getting through day-to-day business operations.

Selecting generic software will create immediate and long-term issues because it is not capable of providing the type of data needed to support the needs of flooring companies. No matter how easy to use a particular software is or claims to be, it must be relevant to operations and automate every aspect of your business. Alternately, investing a few hundred thousand dollars trying to retrofit a system to the way a flooring business works is a waste of time, money and resources, and ultimately unnecessary with the choices on the market today—RollMaster Software being chief among them.

“I’m going on 20 years with RollMaster,” said Tina Dias, owner, Advanced Flooring, Rancho Cordova, Calif. “I don’t see how I could really know my business or trust the accuracy of reports without RollMaster.”

Another costly mistake: Not integrating your accounting with the rest of your business. This leaves you with an incomplete picture of your overall operations. You’ll also have less control of your critical processes, such as inventory valuation, transfers between branches, purchasing and receiving, cost analysis, sales commissions and more. Why not have all that information at your fingertips?

Dean Culp, owner, Carpet Barn, Spokane, Wash., currently uses industry-specific software. “We’ve had a lot of success over the last five years with RollMaster. We’ve increased sales and we’ve grown our business. A good portion of that has to do with RollMaster making us more flexible in the way we write and account for business.”

A third consideration is how a flooring software company carries out implementation of the software. Employee training is essential, and on-site training produces the best “go-live” results, not to mention helping to effectively transition to post-implementation support.

Off-site training is not the best way to start using a new system, as it limits discussion of your specific business processes. You benefit most when your implementation is effective and the software vendor becomes a partner.

Lastly, the better flooring software vendors are continuously developing new and better ways for you to run your business. Your software should utilize Application Program Interface (API) endpoints that are designed to create analytics for you to quickly analyze real-time data and integrate your data with other marketing and business development apps. These tools and integrations must continually evolve so owners and managers can detect patterns, automate decisions and generate job-related communications.

If you truly wish to run your business, and not let it run you, make the time to research the best flooring software fit for you.

 

Kelly Oechslin, a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in marketing, has spent her entire professional career in the flooring industry. Her early employers were Floor Coverings International and Carpax Associates; however, the majority of her efforts and achievements in the industry have been with RollMaster Software.

 

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Marketing mastery: Using technology to make life easier

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

When I first meet my clients, it’s not uncommon for them to tell me they’ve been putting in 50-70 hours per week. I’ve even encountered a few tortured souls whose average weekly hours on the job were north of 90.

As a flooring dealer you work very hard. You provide employment. You help people make their homes beautiful and inviting. You also shoulder the risk that goes with being an entrepreneur. You deserve to have an awesome life in flooring—to make a lot of money and have a business that’s rewarding.

However, if you want to have a great life in flooring, you must transition your business from being owner-dependent to system-dependent.

While I was at TISE earlier this year, I interviewed the leaders of two major flooring software companies—QFloors and RFMS—about technology’s role in helping dealers transition to being system-dependent.

“There’s a lot of confusion about the types of flooring-specific software,” said Chad Ogden, president, QFloors. “It’s important for dealers to understand there are four basic categories: estimation, room virtualization, CRM and ERP.”

Estimation software enables you to create job quotes quickly and efficiently, even right in the customer’s home (see page 24 in this issue). Room virtualization allows customers to see what different flooring types will look like in their home. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tracks the customer as they move through your sales and marketing funnel. Some CRMs also provide email and other marketing capabilities.

ERP, another popular acronym, stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. “It’s the software that does the heavy lifting of helping to systemize the daily operations of your business, such as calendaring, inventory, accounting, etc.,” Ogden said.

Knowing your numbers is also important if you want to grow your business efficiently. After all, that which gets measured gets improved. “It’s vital that your software be able to give you key performance indicators any time you need them,” said Fred Kotynski, chief information officer for RFMS. “For example, if your goal for the current year is to have overall margins of 40% or more, you need to be able to check regularly that you’re hitting that benchmark, break it down by salesperson and do it with a single click. Quickbooks and other generic accounting software can’t do that efficiently.”

It’s critical you take the time to educate yourself on the different software systems available. “Dealers shouldn’t necessarily rush into a buying decision when looking at software,” said Miranda Golden, administrative director, RFMS. “My advice is to explore the software and take the time to really understand what you’re buying.”

Finally, realize that software by itself will not make your business system-dependent. Software is not the system; software makes the system you already have in place—or the one you want to put in place—run more efficiently. For example, every flooring company needs a calendaring system. As part of that system you need to have a written procedure for scheduling appointments, communicating appointments to your staff, etc. This is true whether your calendar is done on paper or as part of your flooring software. The only difference is the software makes your system run more efficiently.

 

Jim Armstrong is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides digital and offline marketing services as well as coaching to help flooring dealers make more money, work fewer hours and get their lives back. Visit flooringsuccesssystems.com for more information.

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Al’s column: How to pick your next leader

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Keith Martino

 

Ron is one of the most polite individuals you’ll ever encounter. You’ll never feel intimidated by Ron’s presence. He answers your questions as smoothly and predictably as the captain of a cruise ship. Within minutes of meeting Ron, you’ll know why he was recently promoted within a large French holding company.

Ron is pragmatically aggressive. He picks his battles carefully and is only aggressive in business endeavors when he sees a clear course to the winner’s cup. Then, and only then, does he press full throttle ahead. Ron prides himself in preparation so, just in case, there’s always an adequate stash of life vests onboard.

But wait—before you rush out and hire Ron to be the captain of your ship, don’t forget to consider Rob. He may be just what you need.

Rob’s persona is larger-than-life. He works fast and loves trading sports cars. In a crowd of construction CEOs, he can come across as a big, lovable teddy bear. However, when a casual conversation with Rob turns toward business strategy, Rob will magically morph into a hungry grizzly. He’ll show you how to eat your competition for lunch.

Should your next leader be someone who proceeds circumspectively like Ron? Or are you looking for someone who is a natural born hunter like Rob? Hint: If you need Rob but hire Ron, you’ll likely be seriously disappointed. Your patience will be exhausted. On the other hand, hire Rob and you’d better hold on to your hat.

Rob will enthusiastically and methodically pass every other car on the track. He’ll interject an energy you didn’t know was possible into every employee who is able to hang on for the ride. At the end of the day, Rob will have created new business opportunities you never thought possible.

Sure, Rob will occasionally break something, but when he puts your stock car back together it will run so much faster than before that you will be among the first to forgive him. Rob takes aggressive chances and then makes smart decisions based on the way the market appears to evolve. His ability to plan and execute simultaneously is uncanny. He shifts gears without flinching and leans into the turns. Ron, on the other hand, intuitively reaches for the caution flag.

Although their names sound similar, their styles are vastly different on a practical level. They each get the desired results when matched with the appropriate assignment. That’s why absolute clarity about which style of leader your business will need is so crucial.

Here are a few questions to ponder that may help you consider various leadership styles:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish with your company?
  2. How important is creativity/innovation in your business?
  3. Which is more important to you: growth, stability or something else?
  4. Do your key processes need incremental improvement or a complete overhaul?
  5. How much risk are you willing to accept to achieve your top objectives?

Another thing to consider when changing/hiring leaders is knowing your corporate culture. You want your corporate values to be firmly entrenched when you pass the torch.

Bottom line: Consider not only the qualities of the candidates you’re interviewing and/or screening, but also look at the needs of your business, survey the current climate and anticipate changes that might impact you in the future. In short, don’t hire Rob if who you really need/want is Ron.

 

Keith Martino is head of CMI, a global consultancy that customizes leadership initiatives in the construction, renovation and remodeling industries. The author of “Expect Leadership,” he has a passion for helping contractors and family construction business owners achieve stellar results.

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Marketing mastery: Promote the things that make you special

February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

A dealer recently told me his close ratio is only 15%. “Our sales team is wasting time with people who wind up not buying,” he stated.

I told him it sounded like he was not answering the prospects’ unspoken question.

When I bring up the unspoken question, most dealers have no idea what I’m talking about. You see, every prospect who goes online looking for flooring, or calls you, or walks into your store, has an unspoken question: Why should I buy from you instead of your competitor? If you don’t have a compelling answer you’ll continuously lose customers or wind up selling solely based on price.

When I’m coaching dealers on how to get more customers, I’ll often pull up their website along with the websites of several of their top competitors and we’ll look at them side-by-side. Almost without exception, every website has the business name at the top, links to what they sell and contact information. Some have a room designer, a “contact us” form or teaser prices, but overall each site’s message is identical: here’s our name, here’s what we sell and here’s how to find us, etc.

I’ll then say to the dealer: “Cathy Consumer wants new floors. She goes online to find the right dealer. She’s asking herself, ‘Why should I choose you instead of your competitors?’ Does your website answer this question?”

Your website isn’t the only place where you need to answer the unspoken question. In fact, every touchpoint with your prospect should be engineered to answer the question, over and over again in different ways.

Let’s look at some examples of how you can make this happen.

Website. Feature testimonials as social proof. Offer a free report or white paper on how to choose the right flooring. Host videos that demonstrate your expertise by educating her on flooring products, care and maintenance.

Showroom. Keep it spotless and free of clutter. Use a curated approach—you don’t need 87 samples of beige carpet. Have a beverage bar and snacks available. Post testimonials where walk-ins can see them.

Print ads. Feature testimonials. Use risk reversal by highlighting your replacement guarantee and your lifetime installation warranty.

Phones. Make sure the person answering your phones sounds welcoming. Instead of saying, “Boring Flooring, how may I help you?” say, “Thank you for calling Jimbo’s floors, home of the lifetime installation warranty. How may I help you?” Instead of playing music when people are on hold, play recordings of client testimonials.

Restrooms. Keep them spotless. Decorate them. Spend a few bucks to impress your clients.

Social media. Stop posting mundane photos of your display racks. Instead, post pictures of your clients standing on their new floors, along with a testimonial.

In-home measure. Wear medical booties while in your customer’s home. This will communicate that you’re different, you care and you’re a total professional. Keep dog biscuits handy as a treat for the family pet.

These strategies create total differentiation from competitors, position you as a trusted advisor and, most importantly, answer the unspoken question multiple times in many ways.

How many more can you think of? Send them to support@flooringsuccesssystems.com and I may feature them in a future column.

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Lessons learned: Your first impression

February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19

By Tom Jennings

 

This past year I had the opportunity to visit a number of flooring dealers around the country. In nearly every case, I was seeing their showrooms for the first time, much like their own customers do. In doing so, I was reminded that one can learn volumes about how an operation is run three steps inside the front door before ever saying a word to anyone.

The overall best showroom layout I witnessed was completely wide open and welcoming at entry. There was at least a 10- to 12-foot area in all directions that was completely free of displays or merchandise, leaving one with plenty of room to acclimate to the surroundings. The store signage was proper and professional. The lighting was both dramatic and effective. The salesperson who rose to greet me was smartly attired. Not a word had been uttered, yet I felt both comfortable and confident that this store had its act together.

Contrast this with a showroom I had been in just a few weeks earlier. The first thing that greeted me was a pile of discontinued carpet samples offered for sale at $0.50 each. They were impossible to ignore, since one stack had toppled over and I had to walk around them. I noticed not all of the showroom lights were operational. When I was approached, the clerk had on an untucked golf shirt bearing the logo of a tool supplier.

Again, not a word had been spoken yet I felt totally different about the competency of this operation. The pile of samples screamed cheap. It may have been a good deal for a customer who needs a couple, but I think it was very expensive for the merchant. If he sold them all, he might have generated a hundred dollars. Contrast this to the potential cost of having to reduce margins on larger sales to offset the customer’s diminished perceptions. Remember, to a great extent it is you who sets the product’s value, not the customer.

In my experience, these samples would have generated far more value for this store if they were offered free to kindergarten teachers, Sunday school classes, etc. Plus, you can give them away in the warehouse, not in premium space by the entry.

The lights not being completely operational conveyed the impression this dealer either didn’t notice they were off or just hadn’t bothered to have them fixed. Either excuse would worry me. When I trust someone with a portion of my paycheck to perform work at my house, I want someone who pays attention to the details.

The golf shirt showed a complete lack of attention to detail as well. The shirt tail hanging out screamed “sloppy” and the distributor’s logo told me this guy was probably too cheap to buy a proper shirt. I am not talking about logo wear promoting your own business but rather a giveaway from a supplier. You will never walk into a nice automobile showroom to find a salesman wearing a shirt from the parts house down the street.

Many dealers mistakenly feel what they “have to say” will trump whatever the fancy store down the street may have to offer. What they fail to remember is if the customer’s initial impressions aren’t favorable, they may never get their chance to explain.

Most of the impressions that a potential customer may form come as a result of non-verbal communication. It’s usually no one thing that forms an impression but rather a compilation of many seemingly small things.

Tomorrow morning when entering your store for the first time that day, take three steps inside and stop to look around. Ask yourself: Would I be impressed with what I’m seeing?

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Installments: Factors that motivate quality flooring installers

February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19

By Paul Stuart

 

One of the most important questions we can ask in our industry is what drives quality installers? What really makes them tick? Not what makes them quality or great installers—that’s easy. Great installation, on schedule, dependable, on time, highly trained to work with and has all the products and tools necessary for a beautiful project.

These are the symptoms of being a quality installer, but if we can find what motivates them to be this way then there might be some nuggets of information that will help the industry as a whole in recruiting and retaining new blood and how to properly treat the current guys.

When I first started installing, I was 19 and blown away that I could make so much money. That’s what got me started but not what kept me in this industry. I found love in the finished product, which transformed into passion and a high level of respect for the mechanics and installers that I had the pleasure to learn from. Eventually, I built a crew and started subcontracting for several commercial contractors around the city, and then I started my full-service flooring company in 2003.

I have spoken to my installers and reached out to many others across the nation with the hopes of starting a conversation around this topic. Based on 100 installers’ replies and input, these are the things, in order of importance, that motivate installers.

  1. Taking pride in what they do and in their ability.Pride is only achieved through the experience of doing a good job, which is a result of training. Make sure your installers have access to good training. This produces quality work, which results in proud floor layers.
  2. The appreciation and admiration of the finished product.As flooring installers, we love the feeling of completing the project and providing the finishing touch. This is something that is inherent in each individual. I am not sure it can be taught, per se, but training certainly helps.
  3. Appreciation, notoriety and praise.This is where I think many managers, salesmen and employers get it wrong. I certainly have not been perfect at this, either. Craftsmen in any field want others to appreciate their work. When a job or project done well is noticed and rewarded, it really makes the person performing the work feel great. All people want to be appreciated; it is a basic human need. There is a tendency to think that since they are being paid that appreciation is not needed. However, this could not be farther from the truth. Money often ranks behind appreciation as a primary driver. Fair compensation is a given—a good installer knows he is going to get paid, he knows he can make money. However, the appreciation, notoriety and praise are not a given and much less common than the money. Think of a time when someone showed you sincere appreciation. That feeling is one of the biggest drivers that quality installers work for.
  4. Fair pay.Of course, we all have to eat, and installers love steak. Obviously, everyone works to provide for themselves and their loved ones, but isn’t it interesting that this is not factor No. 1? Being paid well is important and nearly a guarantee for the high-quality installer, but the good installers know it is just a by-product of doing great work, being dependable and having a good attitude and work ethic.
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Al’s column: Consumers who play contractors

February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19

By Scott Perron

 

As our industry evolves and the playing field continually changes, our leadership team tries to predict the future outside of the world of statistical analysis. In the wake of a new breed of customers intent on becoming their own contractors of sorts, we see unique perspectives on a daily basis and an increasing challenge with failed installations.

Interestingly enough, the consumers we see most often fall into one of the following two categories:

The academic or tech-savvy consumers. These folks spend countless hours, days and sometimes even months researching online in an attempt to find an angle that will allow them to bring all three characteristics of any flooring job into play—good, fast and cheap. The latter is the operative word as more inexperienced consumers feel they’re going to be capable of reducing the cost of a flooring project by posing as their own contractor. In a few cases they are successful as this particular endeavor requires finding a quality installer who will not overcharge, steal money or simply do a lousy job.

The construction-savvy customer. Aside from the professional builders who most often focus on their profit margin, this consumer is usually much easier to close as they speak a similar language. They tend to negotiate prices less than the academic but focus more on the process and desired result. In addition, they typically research the cost of a project, budget for it and execute once they begin to shop within seven days.

During the last week of January we saw two of these home contractor failures, which will likely result in the two customers spending a collective $21,000 to fix issues caused by improper installation. Both customers found their pros on Craigslist and did not research them other than calling the value-priced advertiser. In one of these cases, the so-called cheaper route actually cost the customer 20% more than we would have charged for the same job at full margin through our full-service entity. (Now their floor must be replaced.)

The other person hired a “bucket-and-trowel” contractor to put vinyl plank floors in several rooms of her home. All the rooms are running in different directions, the materials have started to separate due to improper installation of the tongue-and-groove system and the installer put an unnecessary sealer over the top of the vinyl material, embedding debris in the surface.

As retailers it may sound like sour grapes when we discuss these challenges with our customers during the shopping experience. However, we must do our best to provide documentation and pictures of these failed installations so we can assist them in understanding how much liability they’re assuming and the incredible price tag this may come with.

In the years to come, we’ll all see a dramatic increase in younger consumers entering the market. As a result, these challenges will likely become a bigger concern as they oftentimes take the online word as gospel without understanding the mechanics of construction or the installation procedures that accompany most products. This uninformed consumer becomes yet another target for unqualified installers or online purveyors who skirt liability in the pursuit of a quick sale.

My advice is to train your salespeople to tactfully broach these challenges with consumers during the sales process, utilizing statistics or anecdotes to support their case.

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Guest column: Your next business opportunity awaits

February 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 18

By Lisa Niswonger

 

(Disclaimer: This is not an offer to sell a ProSource Wholesale franchise, but is for informational purposes only. No offer to sell can be made in any state that first requires registration or notice as provided by applicable law until compliance with such applicable law occurs.)

ProSource Wholesale redefined the flooring industry 28 years ago with the development of a business model focused entirely on supporting the needs of the home improvement trade professional. Today, 404,091 trade pro members trust ProSource with their clients’ projects from flooring to complete kitchen and bath remodels.

ProSource Wholesale has taken this same commitment and continues to develop ways to maximize the earnings potential of their 145 showrooms. “As a ProSource franchisee of six showrooms, I am in business for myself, but not by myself,” said David Fuerst. “ProSource understands what trade pros need and how our showrooms need to serve them. ProSource also discovered new growth categories beyond flooring such as kitchen and bath, and my showrooms have experienced huge sales increases.”

The ProSource business opportunity is designed specifically for entrepreneurs and investors looking to tap into the growing home improvement industry. ProSource franchise owner Tom Brewer and his family started out as a Carpet One Floor and Home owner, a sister brand to ProSource Wholesale. When they saw the success of the ProSource franchise model, they decided to expand their business portfolio. Today they own six ProSource showrooms as well as multiple Carpet One retail locations.

The Brewers opened their first ProSource showroom in 1997. One of the key aspects to their overall company success is the fact they were able to experience growth within the home improvement industry. “We were able to expand beyond retail and work within the commercial and wholesale business,” Brewer stated.  “Also, since we already had a good footprint of Carpet One retail stores, starting the ProSource brand and its members-only type of showroom allowed us to be the first to market in our area.”

With average showrooms sales at $5.3 million per year, ProSource continues expansion with eight new showrooms opening this year. ProSource, which doesn’t offer installation services or have accounts receivable issues, is built to save franchisees time and money. For those who choose to become a franchise owner, ProSource is there to provide a host of services, including support in opening stores, specialized staff training, results-oriented marketing and industry-leading products and merchandising.

To learn more and receive a free market analysis, visit franchise.prosourcewhole.com/free-market-analysis or call 844.729.4861.

 

Lisa Niswonger (Baker) is director of marketing programs for CCA Global Partners, which operates ProSource Wholesale. She has more than 24 years experience in marketing and advertising, including positions with franchises and buying groups. 

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Lisbiz strategies: How to make the most of TISE after the show

February 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 18

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Surfaces is a great time to catch up with friends and customers. It makes me aware of how important people are in my life even if I only see them once a year. Thank goodness for social media.

This year I decided I would take away information from Surfaces that will be useful until next year. That means new people, new products and new ideas.

I picked up as load of magazines and sent them home. Keeping up on new products is difficult; I’m interested in trends and what architects and designers are thinking. The concept of “aging in place” is a tremendous opportunity for our industry. I hope you are attending local classes.

There is another designation called “Age Safe America.” I just took the class; it is very insightful. It’s important you know what kinds of flooring are safe for customers who are planning on staying in their homes long term. If you want to know more about it, reach out and I can give you a course discount. I will be teaching a course on “aging in place” in Albany in March.

When I found out I didn’t have to walk miles to get my badge I was elated. Could this be any easier? The layout with the speakers and the press made it easy to network and talk with people. The meeting rooms were close by and the rooms had sofas and chairs in the front row. It was like talking with people in my living room. Normally I would be spending my time looking for my meeting room and rushing around. I had less stress and more time to meet and talk—my favorite things. Hats off to Katie Thompson, senior content and project manager, The Design Group | Global Exhibitions and all those at Informa for making it easier to navigate the education sessions.

This year I took photos of certain displays and posted them on social media and asked friends what they thought. There were lots of comments from attendees and others who just follow my posts. I forget that flooring is very fashionable, and who doesn’t like fashion? Since I’m teaching a class for realtors and retailers, “The Value of Historic Homes,” I spent time looking at products that could be suitable for period homes. I live in a historic area in Albany, N.Y., called Hudson Park. My neighbors are always asking me what flooring and paint colors they should use in their homes. Reach out to realtors and ask if you can show flooring at one of their internal trainings.

Many of the floors in period homes are old and elegant so sand and finish or screen and recoat is often the solution. If there is extreme damage, a new floor is called for. I found some perfect “historic” flooring and will bring some samples to class. By the way, if you’re in the Albany area and want to attend any of my realtor classes, just let me know and get my schedule. I teach an all-day product knowledge class that is well attended by realtors. This is a great place to network. Teaching these classes has made me more aware of flooring fashion as well as the technical aspects. I am also teaching the “Historic Homes” class in Rochester, N.Y., on March 27. If you live in New York and would like to host one of these classes, let me know.

Despite the long days on my feet, TISE never ceases to amaze me. Thanks to the industry and how hard everyone works to make TISE a success.