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My take: Best of Surfaces entries that just missed

February 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 18

By Steven Feldman

 

This issue celebrates the Best of Surfaces winners, the awards competition co-sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions, owners and operators of The International Surface Event, for the past seven years. The competition highlights innovation, technology, sustainability, style and design, and best large and small booths on display at the industry’s premier event.

It is structured in such a way where only the judges’ consensus choices are featured. But that doesn’t mean other products and companies were any less deserving. With no honorable mentions or runners-up, the competition fails to acknowledge products that almost made it, in the judges’ conversations to the very end. In fact, in some cases, more than one judge may have chosen a product that did not win because of a 5-3-1 scoring system. So I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to some of those products here.

In the style and design category, won by Emser Tile’s Lakewood and Lakehouse, Mannington’s AduraMax Apex generated much consideration. The judges were deliberating over the waterproof product’s on-trend looks, contemporary colors, natural wood grains and finely detailed surface textures. The planks offer multiple widths with a visual not seen anywhere else on the show floor.

In the technology category, captured this year by Magnetic Building Solutions’ MagneBuild, Mohawk’s Omnify was discussed in depth. Omnify is said to be the flooring industry’s only omni-channel solution that connects online, in-store and product experience. The idea is to give retailers the content, tools and reporting to take their digital marketing to new levels with integrated social search, reputation management, website optimization and lead management.

The other product discussed heavily here was a room visualizer called Roomvo. How it works: A shopper can upload a photo of her room through her phone and see her flooring choice in high quality without the need for an app to download. Customers interact with the visualizer intuitively in seconds. Manufacturers and retailers integrate Roomvo with their existing websites, enabling it for desktop, tablet and mobile phone shoppers. While it may take room visualizers to another level, the judges felt it was not new compared to an innovation such as magnetic flooring.

Mohawk was also discussed in the innovation category, won by Raskin Industries’ Ceramix, a product billed as the industry’s first loose-lay LVT with built-in, authentic grout lines. Mohawk’s RevWood, its rebranding of its laminate collection, was the product, and one judge called it “laminate on steroids.” Mohawk calls it revolutionary laminate wood because of its waterproof nature. RevWood is also scratch and dent resistant, and features All Pet Protection. A few of the judges felt it was more about marketing than product, but the waterproof claim almost put it over the top.

In the sustainability category, won by Congoleum’s Cleo Home, a couple of other products caught the judges’ attention. First Marmoleum Click CinchLOC from Forbo was obviously discussed as linoleum is arguably the most sustainable product out there. Linoleum is naturally healthy, water resistant and made primarily from renewable resources, including linseed oil, wood flour and pine rosins. These natural ingredients provide Marmoleum Click CinchLOC with inherent anti-static properties to repel dust and dirt, making it easy to clean, thereby reducing exposure to allergens and contributing to better indoor air quality.

The judges also talked about Air.o, Mohawk’s 100% recyclable carpet. Air.o’s fibers are made from 100% polyester and don’t absorb moisture, helping to prevent the growth of allergens. It’s latex-free, odor free and produces no VOCs. A worthy candidate indeed, and a Best of Surfaces winner in 2017 for Innovation.

This year boasted a most deserving group of entries, providing the judges with a tough task indeed.

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Best of Surfaces honors innovation, booth space design

February 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 18

By FCNews staff

 

Las Vegas—Six manufacturers were voted best of class in the 2018 Best of Surfaces competition, a contest sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions, which owns and operates The International Surface Event. The awards program, now in its seventh year, has become the benchmark for new product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.

The winners, which announced on the show floor at Surfaces, are as follows:

  • Innovation: Ceramix from Raskin Industries
  • Style & Design: Emser Tile
  • Sustainability: Congoleum
  • Technology: MagneBuild from MBS
  • Best Booth Design (over 1,200 square feet): Anderson Tuftex
  • Best Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet): Arte Mundi

The judging was initially conducted by a panel of floor covering retailers who were tasked with poring over the scores of entries in each category to come up with six finalists by the start of Surfaces. Specifically, they were each asked to explore all submissions and select their top six picks that they believe best represented the category in which they were entered. The most popular selections by consensus in each category made it to the final round, which were viewed on the first day of Surfaces—in some cases by the original judges as well as select retailers who agreed to offer their time and input.

The category winners are as follows:

Innovation
Raskin Industries
After taking home the Best of Surfaces award for innovation six years ago, Raskin returns to form this year with a win for Ceramix, billed as the industry’ first loose- lay LVT with built-in grout. Ceramix provides dealers with an alternative to ceramic tile and porcelain that can be installed in a day or two. While there have been other products with grout lines attached, none have achieved the level of realism that is inherent with this product line.

“Winning Best of Surfaces in the Innovation category for the second time is a great accomplishment for our entire organization,” said Michael Raskin, CEO. “It means so much to be recognized as unique in a highly competitive market.”

Raskin also paid homage to his late father, Gerald Raskin, who was an innovator in his own right. “I am honored and take great pride in knowing my father would be very proud if he was alive today,” he said. “He devoted his career to developing products since the early ’60s. As such, I think it would be appropriate to dedicate this award to my father, because he always strived to innovate with new products that had style and would stand out amongst the crowd. If it wasn’t for him I would not have had the opportunity to forge my own path in the flooring industry.”

Style & Design
Emser Tile
Emser Tile created Lakewood and Lakehouse as an ode of sorts to the beautiful biodiversity of aged trees. The realistic, head-turning products are offered in long 8 x 34 glazed porcelain planks. Lakewood is marked by distinct wooden tones that evoke rich detail and texture, while Lakehouse acts as an accent motif with bold color variation.

“It is an honor for Lakewood and Lakehouse to be recognized in the category of style and design,” said Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing. “Emser Tile consistently looks to bring a fresh approach to design, and these wood-look tile series defy boundaries by offering customizable installations with striking detail.”

According to Emser, Lakewood and Lakehouse offer a unique opportunity for retailers to sell and designers to specify complementary collections. “By breathing new life into wood-look designs, we believe we have created two series that will resonate with our customers in a lasting manner,” Haaksma stated.

Sustainability
Congoleum/Cleo
For Congoleum, the new Cleo brand represents a new era in sustainable flooring. The mineral composite core is a truly unique, eco-forward base that combines 85% locally sourced limestone with a 100% PVC-free binder that eliminates all plasticizers and chloro-chemicals, the company stated. Every layer of the product’s construction is completed in the USA, establishing an exceptionally small carbon footprint.

But that’s just part of the story. Cleo also delivers high marks on the aesthetic front. The product offers virtually unlimited style and design visuals that have an exceptionally high number of unique and non-repeating patterns—as high as 60 in certain designs. This is accomplished through an innovative direct-to-base digital printing process that uses 100% solvent-free inks. The vibrancy of the visual is further enhanced with a ultra-clear, high-performance 100% solids urethane coating that is VOC-free and delivers uncompromising protection from scratching and fading.

“The introduction of Cleo and subsequently winning the Best of Sustainability Award at the Surfaces show is a tremendous achievement and honor,” said Chris O’Connor, president and CEO. “Cleo is truly different in every way and simply put, there is nothing like it in the market today. The patented construction features a PVC-free and waterproof mineral composite core, high-fidelity digital imaging and ultra-clear protective coating that put Cleo in a category by itself.

“Chemical embossing for sheet vinyl and the introduction of the world’s first groutable LVT are great examples of how Congoleum has delivered meaningful innovation to the flooring industry for more than 130 years,” O’Connor added. “It is this commitment to challenging the status quo that has enabled us to bring Cleo, the next generation of innovative and sustainable flooring to life, and we are grateful for the recognition.”

Technology
Magnetic Building Solutions
After generating a ton of pre-show buzz, the new MagneBuild line from Magnetic Building Solutions (MBS) lived up to its billing. The innovative magnetic installation system was created by a joint collaboration between industry leaders and experts in the field of space and military technology.

MBS pushes magnetic capabilities to new heights, providing the industry with an easily interchangeable interior surface solution. How it works: The underlayment system of MBS utilizes magnetic technology as the foundation for all types of floors. To install, users simply roll it out over any smooth and clean dry subfloor surface. A key benefit of this new technology is that it alleviates many installation issues as floors no longer need to be bonded, making seams a non-issue.

Thanks to the innovation, a larger group of cost-conscious consumers can push past the limits of the need to be neutral, allowing for more adventurous interior design options, according to the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), which unveiled the product and conducted demonstrations at the show.

The unveiling was more than enough to inspire dealers to cast their votes for the product in the technology category. “As a newly launched product, we are thrilled to receive this award and to be recognized as the recipient in the technology category,” said Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA. “MagneBuild is a game changer for our industry. There is nothing like it in the world and its applications are endless.”

Freida Staten, WFCA vice president of marketing communications, agreed. “Being recognized with the Best of Technology Award provides us with an amazing sense of validation. The experts who recognized us with this award confirmed our belief that the MBS system can, and will, make a difference. They saw an installation system that works with every flooring category and extends the reach of floors to include walls.”

Best Booth
(>1,200 square feet)
Anderson Tuftex
Combining the Anderson and Tuftex hard and soft surface brands under one banner not only makes common sense (because this is how people live in their homes, company executives explained), but it also presents a unique opportunity to double down on new ways to market and merchandise mid- to upper-end hardwood and soft surface products.

“We have reconceptualized both brands, updated the merchandising along with a new website so everything is fresh,” said Katie Ford, director of brand strategy. “It’s on trend with everything our consumer is looking for. She’s not thinking about hardwood or carpet; she’s thinking in terms of how the overall room is going to come together.”

Dealers in attendance at Surfaces recognized and appreciated this strategy, which is one of the reasons why they voted Anderson Tuftex—which made its debut in a two-story space—for Best Booth in the large category. “We were beyond thrilled to receive the award for Best Large Booth Design from the retailers that attended the Surfaces show in Vegas,” Ford said. “As we designed our booth, the words we kept in mind were: authentic, thoughtful and approachable. We knew we wanted to provide show-goers a breath of fresh air in our space and an opportunity to take in the intentionality and craft inherent in Anderson Tuftex products.”

Best Booth
(<1,200 square feet)
Arte Mundi
Arte Mundi’s booth was designed as a visual tribute to its mission, serving as a physical extension of its primary goal: to infuse life and art into living spaces. To that end, the company’s Surfaces presentation played off the modern architectural structures and shapes inspired by contemporary art museums. The intended ambience is one of minimalism to impact the attendee experience in letting its products, its art pieces, speak for themselves.

The Arte Mundi booth was compartmentalized in a way that presented the company’s full spectrum of products. This included current running lines, new products for 2018 as well as conceptual products. And let’s not forget one of the biggest highlights of the space: brilliant Swarovski crystal element floors.

John Lee, the company’s president, appreciated the honor. “Arte Mundi is humbled to say that our U.S. debut at the Surfaces show was honored to win the Best Booth award. The intended inspiration for our exhibit was for it to be a direct reflection of our company mission and our corporate beliefs. Both our marketing and design teams worked tirelessly to demonstrate the capabilities of Arte Mundi. We are beyond grateful to be recognized by the panel of judges, some of the most respected professionals in the industry, and in turn are motivated and encouraged to continue to pursue this standard of greatness.”

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Best of Surfaces deadline fast approaching

November 27-December 11, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 13

 

Hicksville, N.Y.—Time is quickly running out for manufacturers to enter the 2018 Best of Surfaces competition. The deadline is Dec. 29, and there is no cost to enter.

Now in its seventh year, the competition—cosponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa, owners and operators of The International Surface Event—has quickly become a benchmark for product and program excellence.

The Best of Surfaces awards are designed to recognize those companies whose product, program, service, business practice or booth design are considered to be best in class. What separates Best of Surfaces from other awards programs is categories are not segmented by product type; rather, they focus on attribute. As such, the Best of Surfaces awards will cite products and programs in the following categories:

  • Innovation
  • Sustainability
  • Style & Design
  • Technology

In addition, there will two awards for exhibit space: Booth Design under 1,200 square feet and Booth Design over 1,200 square feet. This allows exhibitors to compete on equal playing fields.

Contest rules are simple: Manufacturers and suppliers can nominate one product, program, service, business practice or booth per category by Dec. 29. Note: A company may not have multiple entries in one category. As well, a particular product may not be nominated in multiple categories. There is no fee for submitting a nomination.

Best of Surfaces award winners will receive:

  • Recognition on the Surfaces and FCNews websites for a period of six months (February through July)
  • A customized logo for placement on all advertising, recognizing the company as a Best of Surfaces 2017 award winner
  • 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 in the particular category
  • A press release announcing the winners

Seeking panel judges
In six short years, the Best of Surfaces awards have become the benchmark of product and program success at The International Surface Event, the floor covering industry’s most important trade show. As such, FCNews is once again seeking a panel of retailers to judge the competition. If you are a flooring dealer—past or present—who has an understanding of what constitutes excellence in the Best of Surfaces’ four categories—style and design, innovation, technology and sustainability—we want to hear from you. (There are also two awards for best booths.)

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 must be willing 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 individuals interested in judging Best of Surfaces can contact FCNews publisher Steven Feldman at steve@fcnews.net. For more information or to enter the Best of Surfaces competition, call 972.536.6449 or email michelle.swayze@informa.com.

 

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Best of Surfaces honors product, booth excellence

February 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Number 18

By Steven Feldman

Las Vegas—Six companies were voted best of class in the sixth annual Best of Surfaces competition co-sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa, owners and operators of the International Surface Event. The awards have become the benchmark for new product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.

The winners were:

  • Innovation: Mohawk’s Airo
  • Style & Design: Provenza’s Colour Nation
  • Sustainability: Wirebrushed from Satin Flooring
  • Technology: Inhaus’ Sono
  • Best Booth Design (over 1,200 square feet): Armstrong Flooring
  • Best Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet): NCC/Goton Tiles

The judging was initially conducted by a panel of retailers who were tasked with narrowing the many entrants in each category to six finalists by the start of Surfaces. Specifically, they were each asked to explore all submissions and select their top six that best represented the category in which they were entered. The most popular selections by consensus in each category made it to the final round, which were viewed on the first day of Surfaces—in some cases by the original judges and this year, for the first time—by select retailers who agreed to offer their time and input.

The category winners were:

Innovation
Airo from Mohawk
While manufacturers came to Surfaces with innovative products in droves, at the end of the day the judges agreed none was more innovative than Airo from Mohawk. Why? Because they agreed with Mohawk’s claim it had launched a new subcategory for carpet: Unified Soft Floorcovering.

Airo is a unified soft flooring product made solely with PET recycled content. “Airo is important to retailers because it offers a simpler-to-install, easier-to-maintain, better performing and more sustainable soft surface,” said Tom Lape, president of Mohawk Residential. It is also hydrophobic and absorbs zero moisture, liquid and odor.

Part of Airo’s easy installation stems from how the product is made. Unlike other types of soft flooring, Airo features a simple, two-part design unified by a single polymer. The PET fiber is constructed on a premium cushioned backing using an innovative, tension-free process. Airo is not stretched during production. Rather, it is belted and relaxed, freeing the product from tension. It requires no additional cushion, tack strips, power stretching or iron seaming.

“The development of Airo represents us looking at soft flooring from the consumer backwards instead of the manufacturing plant forward,” Lape said. “We want to look at what the consumer values and run with that.”

Technology
Sono from Inhaus
While the entire flooring world was introducing their respective spins on the waterproof flooring category, the judges found Inhaus’ Sono to be fundamentally different than the WPCs currently on the market as it is a homogenous product made in a one-step manufacturing process featuring Inhaus’ patented Ceramin technology.

According to Derek Welbourn, CEO, Ceramin produces a homogenous product where the core is formed with ceramic powder and polyolefin without extrusion—and that’s it. The manufacturing process has been uniquely designed to use low-pressure heat rather than chemicals to create a finished core. That results in a product that has no internal pressure that needs to be controlled; it is naturally stable. The main advantage is there are no plasticizers or phthalates of any kind, and the product does not contain any formaldehyde. The resulting product is waterproof, highly stable with both heat and humidity.

“It has been a long time in development for Sono, and we are proud of the work we have done,” Welbourn said, adding receipt of the award was highly appreciated by the entire Inhaus team. “To see the value of what our people created is very rewarding.”

Inhaus believes Sono caught the eye of judges for its technical characteristics combined with the fact that it simply resonated with attendees. “The thing that made Sono exciting is the visuals just look better,” Welbourn said. “We have the one-two punch of high definition printing complemented by a transparent lacquer system. To our knowledge there isn’t a product out there with these visuals.”

Style & Design
Colour Nation from Provenza
It seems with every Surfaces that passes, manufacturers are continually raising the bar on their products’ visuals, no matter the category. This year was no exception; categories that replicate others are narrowing the gap between faux and the real thing, while innovation in wood and tile looks are reaching new heights. But when the dust cleared this year, the judges agreed they had never seen anything like the Colour Nation Lighthouse Cove collection from Provenza. The line features multi-color, multi-layered paint options in a variety of colors, handscraping, aging and weathered techniques in a wide plank European oak.

“Winning the award was a fantastic surprise as we have been doing this for years,” said Ron Sadri, president. “We always do our best to make the most exciting floors possible, but this year I think we knocked it out of the park. We’re very appreciative and excited.”

Sadri believes the judges selected the Colour Nation Lighthouse Cove collection due to its unique look and historic inspiration. “It’s a one of kind product that has not been seen before. The inspiration came from 100-year-old floors from Europe where homeowners used to paint their floors and change the colors every year. They would put red paint on top of the white, then blue on top of the white and so on. We set out to replicate that look.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 9.33.54 AM

Sustainability
Engineered wood from Satin Flooring
Entering the Best of Surfaces competition for the first time, Satin Flooring took home the hardware for Wirebrushed, part of the Generations engineered wood collection. The judges particularly liked the fact the product was treated with Satin’s proprietary, non-allergenic, formal-dehyde-free Eco-Last finish with UV protection and an anti-microbial finish, which prevents bacterial and fungus growth. The line is made in Canada and uses only North American wood.

“Winning the award means a great deal to us,” said Dennis Mohn, director of U.S. sales. “Satin Flooring only uses lumber from well-managed North American forests, and as a leading user of one of nature’s most precious and inspiring resources, we have a special responsibility not just to our environment but also to each other.”

The fact that Satin Flooring places such a strong emphasis on sustainability played into the judges’ selection, the company surmises. “Nothing goes to waste at Satin Flooring,” said Ingrid Mancini, senior marketing manager. “We use virtually all parts of the lumber in our wood flooring products. A great example is our proprietary SolidFused technology, which is used in our engineered flooring production. All our lumber is used in the substrate; wood chips left over in production are ground into sawdust, which in turn is used to generate heat for our drying kilns and to warm our plant.”

Best booth over 1,200 square feet
Armstrong Flooring
Armstrong came to Surfaces for the first time as an independent, stand-alone company under the Armstrong Flooring banner. Aside from showcasing its latest product innovations, the judges cited the clean, well-designed space that was both engaging and airy. Two demo areas, with screens televising the action, showcased industry-leading performance and installation solutions. Amstrong also was focusing on providing tools and programs for retailers to create consumer demand, including new merchandising solutions.

“In our first Surfaces as an independent company, our booth was both a productive selling space and bold celebration of our continued commitment to innovation,” said Ebeth Pitman, director, brand marketing, Armstrong Flooring. “The booth was buzzing with excitement around new and innovative products, including first-of-its-kind PRYZM waterproof luxury flooring, residential vinyl sheet with patent-pending Diamond 10 Technology and the latest beautiful, high-performance wood designs. As always, we are focused on building deeper connections with our distributor partners and in our commitment to serving aligned specialty flooring retailers with our high impact Elevate program.”

Best booth under 1,200 square feet
NCC/Goton Tiles
Rick Gray, sales manager for Goton Tile, said the company’s objective for this year’s booth at Surfaces “was to create a good flow pattern that would allow customers to view our new products, even with several customers in the booth at the same time.”

Judging by the booth traffic during the three-day event, Gray can safely say it was mission accomplished. “We were honored to be chosen for best booth design. Surfaces is a great venue to gauge what will be the hot sellers for the upcoming year. In particular, we received great feedback on our Coastwood and Saddlewood introductions.”

NCC owns and operates a state-of-the-art porcelain tile production facility in Foshan, China, which produces upwards of 100,000 square feet of product per day, the company said. Goton Tiles is NCC’s distribution arm in the U.S., based in Fullerton, Calif.

 

More than 120 companies entered a product or booth in the Best of Surfaces competition, easily surpassing the prior record set two years ago.

 

 

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FCNews seeks panel of judges for Surfaces’ Best

December 5/12, 2016: Volume 31, Number 13

In five short years, the Best of Surfaces awards have become the benchmark of product and program success at The International Surface Event, the floor covering industry’s most important trade show. As such, FCNews is once again seeking a panel of retailers to judge the competition. If you are a flooring dealer—past or present—who has an understanding of what constitutes excellence in the Best of Surfaces’ four categories—style and design, innovation, technology and sustainability—we want to hear from you. (There are also two awards for best booths.)

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 must be willing 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 publisher Steven Feldman at steve@fcnews.net.

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Surfaces contest deadline looms large

November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-38-22-pmHicksville, N.Y.—Time is quickly running out for manufacturers to enter the 2017 Best of Surfaces competition. The deadline is Dec. 30, and there is no cost to enter.

Now in its third year, the competition, cosponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa, owners and operators of The International Surface Event, has quickly become a benchmark for product and program excellence.

The 2017 International Surface Event, which includes Surfaces, StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas and TileExpo, is the floor covering industry’s premier trade show. It is slated for Jan. 18-20 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The Best of Surfaces awards are designed to recognize those companies whose product, program, service, business practice or booth design are considered to be best in class. What separates Best of Surfaces from other awards programs is categories are not segmented by product type; rather, they focus on attribute. As such, the Best of Surfaces awards will cite products and programs in the following categories:

  • Innovation
  • Sustainability
  • Style & Design
  • Technology

In addition, there will be two awards for exhibit space:

  • Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet)
  • Booth Design (over 1,200 square feet)

The products do not necessarily have to be new. However, they must have been introduced to the market within the past year. Of course, products making their debut at Surfaces 2017 are also eligible.

Contest rules are simple. Manufacturers and suppliers can nominate one product, program, service, business practice or booth per category by Dec. 30. A company may not have multiple entries in one category. As well, a particular product may not be nominated in multiple categories. There is no fee for submitting a nomination.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-40-16-pmBetween now and Dec. 30, FCNews will be forming the panel of judges who will be evaluating each entry on the criteria that has been established for each respective category. That arduous task will begin the following week and continue until the start of Surfaces. The judges will then have the opportunity to view their finalists on-site at Surfaces, where they will also have the chance to ask manufacturers any questions they may have regarding the product, program or practice. The judges will obviously be evaluating all best booth design nominations on the first day of the show.

Winners will be announced on day two at Surfaces and be provided with the appropriate designation to display in their space for all to see during the second and third days of the show.

“This program truly exemplifies a ‘Best of Surfaces,’ said Steven Feldman, publisher and editorial director of FCNews. “First, as illustrated by some of the winners in the contest’s first five years, a smaller company has as much a chance of winning as a larger company. Second, there is no nomination fee as a barrier to entry. Third, winners are determined by an impartial panel of judges. Fourth, the judges will have ample time to review all nominees.”

Feldman added that this partnership with Surfaces parallels the magazine’s goal to add value to the industry. “A good example of this is FCNews’ sponsorship of Surfaces’ free Educational Conference in 2017 for the seventh consecutive year. This is the most comprehensive offering of its type in the industry. And educating retailers is one of our core values. While we continue to co-sponsor the flooring component of the conference, the Best of Surfaces competition is a value-add for exhibitors. These companies spend extensive resources developing products and programs that provide solutions for retailers. This is a way for them to receive some well-deserved recognition, which hopefully will provide some market momentum.”

Best of Surfaces award winners will receive:

  • Recognition on the Surfaces and FCNews websites for a period of six months (February through July)
  • A customized logo for placement on all advertising, recognizing the company as a Best of Surfaces 2017 award winner
  • 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 in the particular category

  • A press release announcing the winners

For more information or to enter the Best of Surfaces competition, call 972.536.6449 or email michelle.swayze@informa.com.

 

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Best of Surfaces awards honor top products, booths

Judges recognize excellence across six categories

February 16/23, 2015; Volume 28/Number 17

Las Vegas—Six companies were voted best of class in the fourth annual Best of Surfaces competition co-sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions (formerly Hanley Wood), owners and operators of The International Surface Event (TISE). The awards have become the benchmark for new product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.

The winners were:

  • Innovation: Mohawk SmartStrand Forever Clean
  • Style & Design: Johnson Hardwood Alehouse series
  • Sustainability: W.F. Taylor TruRenew Bio-Renewable Adhesive
  • Technology: Spray-Lock RugLock Non-Slip Rug Grip in a Can
  • Best Booth Design Over 1,200 square feet: Bedrosians Tile & Stone
  • Best Booth Design Under 1,200 square feet: Wickham Hardwood

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.38.34 PMThe judging was conducted by a panel of experienced industry figures who were initially tasked with narrowing the many entrants in each category to five finalists by the start of Surfaces. Specifically, they were each asked to explore all submissions and select their top five that best represented the category in which they were entered. The most popular selections by consensus in each category made it to the final round, in which judges viewed each finalist on the first day of Surfaces.

“The Best of Surfaces awards gives exhibitors another thing to be excited about when they come to the show,” said Amie Gilmore, director of TISE. “In planning for their booths, or figuring out what products to showcase, they want to put their best foot forward. Maybe a company stepped up its booth this year instead of next year because there’s a competition, for example.”

Informa continues to partner with Floor Covering News for industry initiatives, creating a unified, influential voice. “Joining forces with Floor Covering News on Best of Surfaces really makes it an industry event because you’ve got the show and the exhibitors, you’re putting everything in front of retailers and other attendees, and you also have a major publication behind it all. It’s not jut one entity putting it out there; Best of Surfaces comprises a massive group of industry representation.”

Innovation

SmartStrand Forever Clean from Mohawk

Launched in early December, SmartStrand Forever Clean has been the talk of the industry in recent months. With its inherent cleanability and durability, many believe Mohawk has reached the ultimate solution in maintaining carpet over long periods of time.

David Duncan, senior vice president of marketing and sales operations for Mohawk, said the company’s win for Innovation is particularly important as “hundreds of flooring companies participated in the competition where this award was open to all innovations across all flooring categories. For SmartStrand Forever Clean to beat out all hardwood, laminate, LVT and other categories demonstrates the extraordinary innovation Mohawk brings to the carpet category.”

Best of Surfaces judge Paul Frederichsen, president of the marketing and branding firm BrandBiz, said Forever Clean “ups the game in the whole carpet industry.” He noted that the name hits home, as cleanability is the No. 1 concern with consumers. “People love carpet because of its softness, warmth, etc., but there is always that concern of ‘Can I keep it clean? How difficult will it be to do so? Is it healthy for my family?’ I think Mohawk has done a terrific job naming and positioning Forever Clean so the consumer can really understand it.”

Sheri Gorman, vice president of marketing and A&D for commercial contractor RD Weis, also saw winning qualities in Forever Clean, making it ideal for both commercial and residential use. “Coming from the maintenance business, it is nice to see there’s a product on the market now that makes it easier for all people to maintain carpet, even if it is the consumer or end user doing it on her own.”

Style & Design

Alehouse series from Johnson Hardwood

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.40.28 PMJohnson Hardwood launched its popular English Pub series at Surfaces two years ago. Ever since, the line and its new additions have gotten phenomenal feedback, inspiring a “premium version.”

The Alehouse series was an immediate hit among Surfaces attendees this year, in sync with today’s desired reclaimed look. With this series Johnson aimed to enhance the naturalness of the maple and oak rather than mask it with stains and finishes. The result is a product with random, light wire brushing to soften the character grains with beveled edges for a timeworn, vintage look, available in planks 7½ inches wide up to 7 feet long.

“What makes all the difference is the detail we put into it such as the triple hand-staining process to create this inner glow that darkens toward the outer plank edges,” said Veronica Ventimiglia, marketing manager.

Gorman said she voted for Alehouse because of its “rich colors and great textures. The collection is just aesthetically appealing and very usable.”

David Keegan, COO of Bamboo Hardwoods, added, “The Alehouse series is warm and tasteful. It is easy to imagine these products would make a house a home. I could hear the fire crackling in the hearth as my eyes enjoyed the tones and textures of the line.”

Technology

RugLock Non-Slip Rug Grip in a Can from Spray-Lock

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.42.21 PMAccording to Fred Land, president and CEO of Spray-Lock, the decision to be an exhibitor at Surfaces was completely on a whim. After receiving a Best of Surfaces award for the RugLock Non-Slip Rug Grip in a Can, he agreed that exhibiting was certainly worthwhile.

“It’s nice to stand out in a big crowd. We’ve invented a product that has potential to make a big change in the rug and mat section of the industry.”

Launched commercially in August of last year, Spray-Lock’s RugLock Non-Slip Rug Grip in a Can is an adhesive that guarantees to keep area rugs, carpets and mats in place. What makes this product unique are two outstanding attributes: its aerosol format and emphasis on being “squeaky clean,” Land said. “We have fewer VOCs in the can than you’d find in a single cranberry. We believe the aerosol format is the best way to deliver and allows us to use 80% less products than the traditional technology.”

Keegan said, “It’s an ideal solution for manufacturers to suggest as a way to help keep customers’ carpets in place without anti-slip mats that discolor or change the floor. We will be trying this product.”

Sustainability

TruRenew Bio-Renewable Adhesive from W.F. Taylor

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.42.59 PMJack Raidy, Jr., president of W. F. Taylor, said his company’s focus has been on sustainability for many years. “We’re really proud to get the Best of Surfaces award for TruRenew; we worked hard for so many years to come out with a bio-renewable adhesive. As a California-based company we were looking at these issues much earlier than most of the country, and we were able to put an adhesive together that’s environmentally responsible.” TruRenew is very similar to existing adhesives except the polymer comes from a bio-renewable source as opposed to a petroleum-derived polymer, which many companies are using today.

Since its introduction last October, TruRenew has received tremendous feedback from flooring contractors as well as the A&D community. “To be able to match a Cradle-to-Cradle-certified adhesive with a Cradle-to-Cradle-certified floor covering really closes the loop,” Raidy said.

Keegan explained, “For me, sustainability and the environment are close to the heart. I am impressed when innovations occur in sustainability. In this case, sustainability means sustainable air and water quality which are as important as it gets.”

Friedrichsen also raved about TruRenew. “With a lot of adhesives, grouts and glue, one of the chief concerns in the back of everyone’s minds is how friendly it is to the environment. Taylor starts with the premise of bio-friendly, so it’s a win-win for all.”

Best Booth over 1,200 square feet

Bedrosians Tile & Stone

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.41.48 PMBedrosians team members put a lot of time and effort into designing and building a prominent, eye-catching space on the show floor.

“Surfaces is something we worked on for about four to five months with a team of 10 to 20 people at a time,” said Eddie Bedrosian, marketing director. “Also, our whole creative team comes out with all of our new lines at that time, so it’s our launch for the year. It really is a year’s worth of work. Winning the award is an honor because not only our booth but also our products were shown off, representing that we are more of a design company than just a tile company.”

Keegan was taken with the Bedrosians booth. “I greatly appreciated the artistic creativity and playful nature of Bedrosians’ booth design. Business should be fun. The flooring industry lives and dies by aesthetics, and Bedrosians demonstrated their prowess in that area very well.”

Best Booth under 1,200 square feet

Wickham Hardwood

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.41.15 PMThe hours of labor that go into making a stellar booth can be difficult at times, but end up being worth it in the end, at least for Randy McCullough, territory manager for Best Booth winner Wickham Hardwood Flooring.

“At about 3 a.m. the day before the show I ask myself every year the same question: Why do we do this? But then we have a successful show and we fill the booth with people because they see how we’ve gone through the trouble to construct a beautiful booth and show our samples in an attractive way. We know how important it is with the costs [related to exhibiting] to go and knock it out of the park, or else it would be a waste of time. I’ve heard comments that other vendors want to be close to us because they know we attract a lot of people.”

Gorman said the winning space was “a clean, tasteful, simple booth that displayed the Wickham product assortment very well.”

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12 top companies take home prestigious 'Best of Show' awards

SurfacesDallas — The International Surface Event recognized 12 leading companies with the prestigious “Best of Show” awards held Jan. 27-30 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Participating exhibitors competed for the top honor in eight categories: Booth Design (1200 sq.ft. or less/1201 sq.ft. or more), Booth Design (400 sq.ft. or less/401 sq.ft. or more), Innovation, Style & Design, Sustainability, Technology and Best New Product.

“The Best of Show awards recognizes companies that are at the forefront of introducing new products, tools and technologies and demonstrate cutting-edge designs that continue to enhance the industry,” said Dana Teague, vice president, Hanley Wood Exhibitions.  “The companies that received awards at TISE 2014 were very deserving of this industry recognition.” 

Best of Surfaces

The Best of Surfaces awards were presented in the following categories: Booth Design (1200 sq. ft. or less/1201 sq.ft. or more) Innovation, Style & Design, Sustainability and Technology.  A panel of judges comprised of industry experts were tasked with reviewing more than 50 submissions and selecting one winner in each category.

The winners for Best of SURFACES 2014 were:

  • Booth Design (1200 sq.ft. or less) – Horizon Floors
  • Booth Design (1201 sq.ft. or more) – Mannington 
  • Innovation – Armstrong for Architectural Remnants
  • Style & Design – US Floors for CoreTEC Plus
  • Sustainability – Mohawk for Everstrand Soft Appeal
  • Technology – Schluter Systems for Ditra-Heat

“We are pleased to recognize the products that reflect best-in-class illustrations of design, innovation, technology, sustainability and booth design on the Surfaces show floor,” said Steven Feldman, publisher of Floor Covering News and sponsor of the Best of Surfaces awards. “Now in its third year, this competition has become the benchmark by which new products and booth designs are judged.  I’d like to personally thank all the industry experts who participated in the Best of Surfaces judging, both in the preliminary round and on-site at the event.”

Best of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas

The Best of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas awards were presented in four categories: Booth Design (400 sq.ft. or less), Booth Design (401 sq.ft. or more), Innovation and Technology.

The winners for Best of StonExpo were:

  • Booth Design (400 sq. ft. or less) – Omni Cubed
  • Booth Design (401 sq. ft. or more) – Miles Supply Co.
  • Innovation – MStone Stone & Tile for Historical Floors
  • Technology – Omni Cubed for the Pro-Dolly HD2

 “We are honored to sponsor the Best of StonExpo / Marmomacc Americas awards to recognize companies for outstanding innovation,” said Alex Bachrach, publisher of Stone World magazine.  “There was a lot of enthusiasm from the judges on the number of contenders in each category.  The competition was tough as there were many deserving companies at this year’s show.”

“We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of our 2014 ‘Best of Show’ awards,” Teague said. “We look forward to continued growth of this program as these awards add abundant value to the show and exhibitors’ experience.”

Best of New Product Marketplace

Thousands of new product introductions and technologies are unveiled for the first time each January at TISE. Attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite new product featured in the New Product Marketplace by texting their votes from the show floor. The companies receiving the most votes for Best New Product SURFACES and Best New Product StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas were:

Best New Product of SURFACES 2014:  900XT Pro Tile Saw by Q.E.P. Co., Inc.

The 900XT Pro Tile Saw features a powerful 2.25 HP, 15 amp motor that easily cuts through ceramic tile, porcelain and stone. This saw has a large cutting capacity to perform rip cuts on 24 inch tiles, diagonal cuts on 18 inch tiles, as well as having the ability to cut large tile or pavers up to 3-3/4″ inch thick.

Best New Product of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2014:  The Leatherhead by Blick Industries

The Leatherhead allows fabricators to use a CNC router, CNC bridge saw or manual machine to brush, hone or surface polish stone. It comes with Frankfurt shoes and a unique set of snail lock adaptors that allow utilization of four, five or six inch snail locking brushes and parts.

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Time running out to enter Best of Surfaces competition

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 11.31.12 AMHicksville, N.Y.—Time is quickly running out for manufacturers to enter the 2014 Best of Surfaces competition. The deadline is Dec. 27, and there is no cost to enter. Now in its third year, the competition, cosponsored by Floor Covering News and Hanley Wood, owners and operators of the International Surface Event, has quickly become a benchmark for product and program excellence. The 2014 International Surface Event, which includes Surfaces, StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas and the debut of TileExpo, is the floor covering industry’s premier trade show. It is slated for Jan. 28-30 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Continue reading Time running out to enter Best of Surfaces competition

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Surfaces honors companies

Dallas—With more than 700 exhibiting companies from all over the world introducing their newest products to thousands of attendees, singling out the best new products at SURFACES | StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas was not an easy task; however, at the end of the first day of the show, ten companies and their products were selected and awarded the top honor. Best of SURFACES was sponsored by Floor Covering News for the second year, while Stone World sponsored Best of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas in its inaugural year. Continue reading Surfaces honors companies