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My take: Not all shows are created equal

March 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 19

By Steven Feldman

 

As March nears its close, so, too, does show season. The grueling road trip begins for many with the Shaw and Mohawk regionals in early January, followed by Carpet One/Flooring America, Surfaces, Abbey Carpet, CarpetsPlus/Color Tile, Fuse Alliance, FCICA and who knows what else I’m failing to mention. NWFA, Starnet, National Floorcovering Alliance and FCA Network are all that remains next month. It’s not uncommon to engage a conversation with someone on the manufacturing side lamenting that he has been to 17 shows in the first two months of the year, or another who sighs that he hasn’t been home in two weeks. Home-cooked meals become mere memory.

For me, 17 shows greatly exceed my early 2018 itinerary, although I can say I have adorned about eight name badges so far this year. I’ve seen innovative products, listened to some impressive speakers and probably interacted with hundreds of individuals. Each event is top shelf, but what most are not is remarkable.

Some of you may be familiar with a book written by Seth Godin called “The Purple Cow.” It was a New York Times best seller in 2003. Basically, the premise surrounds transforming your business by being remarkable. Godin says the key to success is to find a way to stand out—to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins. And remarkable does not necessarily mean great; it means doing something or being someone that will be “remarked” about repeatedly.

Surfaces is always remarkable, if only for its sheer size, importance and bevy of new products. The retail group and regional events are impressive, but only the products and/or speakers change from year to year. In fact, in the absence of product and programming, there might not be many discernable differences between them all. Think Delta, United and American.

CarpetsPlus seems to be the exception. This group is just different. Let’s be clear here; I am not saying they are the best or better than any other group. I’m saying they are remarkable because there is a lot to remark about.

First is the energy on the part of Ryan Dunn, co-COO and vice president of sales. Ryan is a rah-rah kind of guy, a former semi-pro baseball player who currently coaches kids on the side. That may not be for everyone, but it certainly works for  members. They respond to him.

Second is the family feel amongst members and management. There could be many reasons. Most of the members are one-store, family businesses with husband and wife, or parent and child, involved. They all seem to relate to one another, including management, a team that consists of Ron Dunn and Jon Logue and their sons, Ryan and Kevin. Heck, Ryan was even carting around his son, 14-year-old RJ, as the future generation.

And third is just the little things. Every group has a Gold Rush, Steals and Deals, whatever, where manufacturers offer specials, usually on the eve of the regular trade show. But CarpetsPlus hosted its Rush Hour vendor showcase outside, against the backdrop of the Tucson Mountains, providing a completely different environment than the traditional ballroom setting. One vendor told me he sold more at Rush Hour in two hours than he did during another group’s entire trade show. What’s more, rather than serve what I would call typical buffet dinner fare, CarpetsPlus provided buses for members and vendors to go downtown and dine on their own in groups, to network off site.

Last but not least, management put its money where its mouth is when it comes to member inclusion in key decisions. The Dunns and Logues actually had a vote by show of hands as to the location of next year’s convention. Austin, Texas? Tepid response. Vegas, a few days before Surfaces? No response. Hollywood? Silence. Hill Country in San Antonio? Resounding applause. Guess where the 2019 convention will be held.

At the end of the day, not all groups are for everyone. CarpetsPlus targets a certain type of retailer. There are close to 400 of them these days. And judging by the few with whom I was able to spend time, it was well worth the investment.

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Las Vegas Market, Surfaces partner for 2018 shows

Las Vegas—Las Vegas Market and The International Surface Event have partnered for their upcoming 2018 shows to benefit the retail and design community. The partnership between these two entities will facilitate cross shopping by buyers in related home product categories and run concurrently in Las Vegas. The Winter 2018 Las Vegas Market runs Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, at World Market Center Las Vegas, and The International Surface Event runs Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

“The International Surface Event is pleased to offer a partnership with the Las Vegas Winter Market,” said Amie Gilmore, show director, The International Surface Event. “This partnership will offer the widest breath of product offerings and inspiration for interior designers and retailers. We understand that time is valuable to every business professional, and offering this opportunity to expand the buying and sourcing possibilities concurrently between the events in Las Vegas will optimize the experiences and benefit both event’s attendees. We look forward to hosting Las Vegas Market attendees at TISE 2018.”

Each organization will cross-promote the partnership to its attendees, including interior designers, as well as retailers who sell or specify flooring, stone, countertops, surface materials, and home furnishings.

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Hannover Fairs USA to launch Domotex USA

Chicago—Hannover Fairs USA will debut Domotex USA, focused on the American residential flooring industry, from Feb. 28-March 2, 2019 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Domotex USA will consist of exhibition space, conferences and education, featuring flooring and flooring innovations.

Exhibitors will display the latest machine-made carpets, wall-to-wall carpeting, textile floor coverings, handmade rugs, resilient flooring, design flooring/luxury vinyl tile and laminate flooring, parquet and wood flooring, as well as application and installation technologies designed for the residential flooring marketplace.

“Many industry representatives have been asking us for years to launch the DOMOTEX brand in the North American market, as there has not been a flooring trade fair in the Eastern U.S. that demonstrates the quality and breadth of the world’s leading carpet and flooring show, the Domotex Hannover,” said Andreas Gruchow, member of the management board, Deutsche Messe AG, Hanover. “In addition, given the strong economy in the U.S., much is being invested in commercial real estate such as offices, hotels and shops. The number of residential properties is also growing considerably. These are good conditions for the sale of floor coverings in the United States.”

Domotex USA will be organized and managed by Hannover Fairs USA (HFUSA), the U.S. subsidiary of Deutsche Messe. “With the introduction of Domotex in Atlanta, we will showcase residential flooring innovations from the center of North America’s floor covering marketplace, adding another vital Deutsche Messe event to our North American portfolio of shows,” said Larry Turner, president and CEO, Hannover Fairs USA.