February 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 18
By Ken Ryan
Flooring industry executives are decidedly mixed in their response to Hannover Fairs’ plans to launch a Domotex USA trade show in Atlanta next February (FCNews, Jan. 8/15). Some executives who exhibited at Surfaces said there is “no demand” for another trade show and would continue supporting TISE; others, particularly those with operations in the Southeast, said they plan to attend both shows in 2019 and then make a decision as to which one to support. Still others declined comment or stated it was too soon to decide.
Hannover Fairs chose Atlanta, contending that 75% of the U.S. population is located in the eastern half of the country. As well, the majority of flooring companies would be within driving distance of such an event.
Ray Bianchi, vice president, events and business development, Hannover Fairs USA, told FCNews the group conducted extensive research prior to its decision to launch Domotex USA in Atlanta next February. “The industry told us they are excited about the new show and absolutely see this as a must-attend showcase and gathering place. Many of our leading floor covering manufacturers already exhibit at Domotex in Hannover and welcome the addition of the U.S. show to the portfolio.”
The first iteration of Domotex USA would begin Feb. 29, 2019, at the Georgia World Congress Center, with show dates for 2020 to shift into mid-February. The goal is to hold the three core Domotex shows within four to six weeks of each other to make it easier for the industry to conduct business across the portfolio of flooring shows. “Our goal is to build a Domotex USA trade show in the U.S. that is by and for the industry,” Bianchi explained.
Suppliers like Phenix Flooring, based in Dalton, is considering the option of attending the Domotex USA show but has not made a decision yet. In principle, the company said it would be very difficult to support both shows if they were scheduled in conflict with one another due to the considerable amount of time, money and resources required to participate in both events.
“At this point we have committed to participate at Surfaces 2019; beyond that we will see how this thing plays out,” said Mark Clayton, president.
At the same time, Phenix executives believe the East Coast location for Domotex USA is appealing. “We know that [Hannover Fairs] puts on a great event so hopefully they can provide the same opportunity here in the U.S. and accomplish this while controlling show expenses for exhibitors and attendees,” Clayton noted.
Other vendors who have exhibited at Surfaces also plan to stay put. Case in point: Mohawk Industries, which returned to the show two years ago with a massive presence. “We came back to Surfaces at a time when the industry had a lot of questions about the future,” said Seth Arnold, vice president of residential. “We increased our footprint to show our commitment. Our customers told us they really enjoyed coming to the show, and we will go where our customers ask us to go and Surfaces is where we have such demand.”
Shaw Industries, which has enjoyed success with its regional shows, has not been an exhibitor at Surfaces for more than a decade. However, its Anderson Tuftex brand—and its USFloors division—exhibited at Surfaces 2018. “We are always evaluating opportunities to spend time with our customers,” said Carrie Edwards Isaac, vice president, Anderson Tuftex. “We are also listening to our customers to better understand what shows are meaningful to their business, what are they looking for from us and how each event aligns to our business objectives.”
Mannington has long been a staunch supporter of Surfaces and has no plans to change allegiances. “Surfaces is the premier flooring show in the U.S., and we plan to continue to support it,” said Ed Duncan, president. On whether the industry can support two major events, he added, “That’s just it—we don’t feel the industry can support, or needs, two major shows. It makes more sense to put all our efforts into one large show rather than split up our resources for two shows. The numbers don’t work.”
Flooring retailers may be conflicted as well. “I hear the shows in Shanghai and Hannover are incredible—especially in hard surface—and I would love to experience that,” said Nick Freadreacea, president of The Flooring Gallery, Louisville, Ky. “On the other hand, I would be disappointed to see anything happen to lessen Surfaces. This past year was the most positive I have seen Surfaces in a long time. Most dealers would not attend both, so you could have a diluted audience at each show.”
Informa, which organizes TISE, could not be reached for comment by press time.