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My take: Random ramblings from Surfaces 2017

January 30/February 6, 2017: Volume 31, Number 17

By Steven Feldman

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.46.11 PMAnother year, another Surfaces in the books. No. 23 for me. Amazing how the show never gets old. We all dread in the days leading up to the show the exhaustion that is certain to ensue, but somehow we become human versions of the Energizer Bunny until we board the plane ride home.

So here is what I was left thinking about after the three most important days in flooring:

Every exhibitor with whom I spoke was pleased (with the exception of those who lost their space for next year because of Surfaces’ first-come, first-serve policy). Some thought attendance was down slightly; if that was indeed the case, attribute that to the Shaw Flooring Network convention, which attracted nearly 1,000 retailers on the other side of the country and didn’t wind down until the opening day of Surfaces.

Speaking of Shaw, I’m putting my money on its return to Surfaces in some capacity next year. I just can’t see how they can keep ceding the stage to its biggest competitor. Speaking of that competitor, a.k.a. Mohawk, its Airo demos were the talk of the show. A revolutionary way of manufacturing carpet with PET face fiber and cushion fused together, some focused on the groundbreaking aspect of it; others were concerned the installation ease and speed could lend itself to DIY and thus impact profits for some retailers.

What else? If there were 700 exhibitors at Surfaces, then 699 were showcasing their own spin on WPC. By the way, this magazine from here on out will define WPC as WaterProof Category. It’s just easier. Also, there may be 699 WPCs on the market now, but there is only one COREtec. Piet Dossche has taught us all how to create a brand.

I don’t know about you, but every year I am blown away by companies like Provenza and DuChâteau. Relatively new to the hardwood flooring scene, they just get it when it comes to style and design. The same can be said for Raskin on the LVT side—innovative with high style.

Other thoughts: If I had to pick the one company that has come such a long way in the last decade, it’s Inhaus. Lots of buzz surrounding its new Sono product… Remember the book “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom? My version: “The Five People You Meet Every Single Night at Eye Candy.” …Weird seeing Mannington mainstay David Sheehan in his new digs at IVC. Congrats…While on the subject of Mannington, its booth is always clean, classy and jam packed with new products…Speaking of classy, year in and year out Stanton epitomizes the word—both in the manner in which it displays its products and the manner in which everyone presents themselves.

Interesting to see Forbo making a big push on the residential side. Soon when someone tells you she has linoleum in the kitchen, it actually will be linoleum and not sheet vinyl…I know it’s a busy show when I gamble less than 30 minutes for the entire week combined…When people ask me who the most significant player is in the LVT game, the answer could very well be Nox. Its private-label customers are too many to count, and the company blends experience with domestic production in Fostoria. Powerful.

It doesn’t matter what industry show you attend; there is always a crowd at the HF Design booth. The Flying Shaoulpour Brothers deserve all kinds of credit…I think we set a record for most parties attended at Skyfall Lounge (formerly Mix) at the top of the Delano…Kudos to Karndean and Metroflor for stepping up their annual parties with solid live entertainment…Why do Dustin Aaronson and I take the same 25,000 steps each day in Vegas and he loses weight while I gain?…Good to see old friend Bob Stone back in the game after all these years. Former Anso guy has resurfaced with Kaleen Rugs…Confucius say: Good company overcomes poor booth location.

Wickham, once one of the industry’s best-kept secrets, is a secret no more…Note to self: Next year to make a little extra cash on the side, I will bring translators to Vegas. I find it amazing how companies make the investment to show their wares at Surfaces but are unable to communicate with attendees…I’d like to see Tarkett back on the show floor.