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CTEF to hold CTI, ACT demonstrations at TISE

Pendleton, S.C.—The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry, will be conducting ongoing demonstrations of the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) testing programs during The International Surfaces Event (TISE) in Las Vegas.

These demonstrations will include step-by-step procedures for both the installer taking the test and the evaluation process. CTEF Regional Evaluators (REs) will conduct CTI program demonstrations while also training new REs onsite. Additionally, CTEF will be presenting all aspects of the ACT large format tile and substrate preparation test and evaluation process.

Throughout the show hands-on demonstrations will be presented covering: substrate preparation, layout considerations, mortar coverage, grout installation, sealant joint application and forensic analysis of installed tile.

“It is incumbent on the CTEF to provide good solid information about the tile industry standards and best practices to the thousands of show attendees,” said Scott Carothers, director of certification and training at CTEF. “Likewise, it is imperative that manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and contractors become aware of the necessity of having ceramic and porcelain tile products installed correctly the first time by qualified labor. We have all seen the horrific work that has been done by ill-trained and unqualified tile placers—we can’t call them installers because they do not possess the necessary skills. Tile is a beautiful and long-lasting product which, when properly installed, lasts a lifetime.”

To learn more, visit CTEF at Booth #4727 during TISE 2018.

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TISE educational sessions arm retailers with tools to succeed

January 8/15, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 15


The International Surface Event offers the most comprehensive education program in the industry. With the flooring sessions sponsored by FCNews, the courses cover everything from product and installation to digital marketing and business improvement. Here are just some of the highlights.

Monday, Jan. 29

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

State of the Industry Report in the Residential and Commercial Markets
The Farnsworth Group will present data to highlight current and expected activity within the residential new construction and remodeling markets as well as insights on commercial. The presentation will include key industry drivers such as housing starts, household formations, rentals and consumer confidence and will also address labor, channel behavior and contractor expectations.

Hunting for Big Game
Tired of spending a small fortune in advertising and wondering if any of it really works? Have a headache from hitting your head against the wall of objection every time you try to attract new customers? Afraid you will never see the same level of sales prior to the recession? If you answered “yes” to any or all of the questions, this is a must-attend session.

Millennials in the Mix: Leading a Multi-Generational Workforce
Companies today can have as many as four generations making up their workforce with highly variable values and beliefs among them. Millennials are currently the largest of four generations making up the workforce and will become 75% of the total by 2025. This session takes a closer look at some of the emerging trends companies are facing and offers several paths forward to help them navigate the multi-generational workforce.

10:50 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Take a Break From Tradition – #CleanYourShowroom
Start your year off with a dose of retail inspiration and tips to make your showroom the talk of the town. Learn from a flooring retail expert ways to update and improve your showroom displays, efficiency in merchandising, what are the must haves in any retail store and much more.

Color Narratives – Future Savvy
Become “Future Savvy” with color. Colors inspired, narratives revealed, directions determined. Discover the macro trends of the “what’s and whys” of emerging color, design and pattern. You’ll get a preview of what’s up for design and decoration and how it will emerge in residential and commercial spaces.

12:20 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.

What’s New in Flooring Materials
New flooring materials and ancillary products are being introduced to the marketplace on a daily basis—from luxury vinyl tiles and planks and WPC products to underlayments, adhesives and moisture mitigating materials. Learn what you will need to know to use them correctly and to keep trouble at bay.

1:40 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

How to Maximize Your Online Marketing Presence
A panel of flooring retailers, moderated by Jay Flynn of Creating Your Space, will provide an overview of online marketing tools being used in their business. The panel will provide examples of what they have done, their results and budgets for achieving those results. Flynn will then provide direction on how attendees can formulate a plan based on their market, competition, goals and budget.

Legally Speaking: Important Tools for Collecting Payment
The session will address the importance of having a proper contract, including one between a manufacturer and dealer, a dealer and his customers, and both consumer and commercial. Jurisdictional and other questions involving interstate transactions will also be covered.

3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Recruiting, Training & Retaining Employees
This session is an update from 2017 on recruiting, training and retaining qualified employees in sales, front office staff, installers, etc. Is it challenging to recruit and retain staff in an economy at low unemployment? Are you looking for answers? Turn to industry veterans who have had proven success in this area.

How to Turn People into Your Secret Weapon
Presenters will share strategies and tactics for optimizing people resources (customers, staff and business partners) for a competitive advantage. Participants will learn and share execution strategies in large-group discussions and small-group scenario exercises. Creation of a LinkedIn group will enable sharing of best practices among participants.


Tuesday, Jan. 30

8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

How Does Your Social Media Measure Up?
In this session, we will conduct a live review of several different popular social media sites. Attendees will create an account, walk through proper page set up, content review and instructions on how to set your social media apart from others in the industry.

Transforming Your Floor Covering Store into a Shop That Pops!
Throughout its history, the key to retail success has been, “product, product, product.” Get ready to change your thinking and join researcher Pam Danziger, author of “Shops that POP! 7 Steps to Extraordinary Retail Success,” as she breaks down the new retailing experience based on “people, people, people.” Today flooring retailers need to understand how to personalize the in-store experience—from the products to the people approach —and learn why success in retail today is less about “what” you sell and more about “how”  you sell it.

9:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

The Latest Flooring Trends
Companies with the hottest trends preview what’s on the horizon for showrooms in 2018. Don’t miss this unique and fashionable display of floor coverings. View the beauty, design philosophy, contemporary role of color, texture, finishes and other relevant trends in floor coverings.

10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Proven Strategies for Growing Your Business
Because the majority of your customers are women, business strategies that focus on meeting the wants and needs of today’s female customers are likely to be your most successful strategies and give you a competitive advantage. Presenters will share research into consumer buying habits, strategic implications to your marketing, selling and staffing, and actionable techniques for your business.

Strategies to Win in a Changing Economy
While the current economy has returned and exceeded pre-recession levels, this has been the slowest improvement on record from a recession. Business continues to change and challenges every company with the rapid changes in technology as well as the changes in customers from baby boomers being dominant to the millennials rising in influence. This session will look at 10 key aspects of what we need to evaluate in our business. Components to be examined will include staffing, marketing, competitive analysis, financial control and business strategy.

Noon – 1 p.m.

Small Business, Big Content: Wide Reach Marketing Strategy Scaled to Your Size
Harness the digital marketing practices of large companies to grow your small business. This workshop will teach the process for aligning sales goals and marketing through a strategic content and social media plan. Lessons will be shared from big players in the surface industry and show how to apply them to your small business.

 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Maximizing the CEU Program & Using Local and Regional Trade Shows to Grow Your Sales
One of the best ways to gain exposure for your company is through local and regional trade shows. These venues allow companies to demonstrate their expertise to customers, contractors and decision makers. This session will discuss the best avenues for finding architects, designers and construction professionals. Leave the session with a plan to increase productivity and profitability.

3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Immigration Reform: Are You Ready?
With the election of President Trump, flooring retailers, contractors and installers need to begin preparing for increased enforcement of the immigration laws. Employers can expect an increase in audits to ensure employers have accurately completed and maintained Form I-9s, which attest the legal status of employees. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) can also raid your workplace. In addition, the potential impact on the installation workforce of increased immigration enforcement will be explored.

Super Ads: What Were They Thinking?
How can you get the best return on your marketing and advertising investment? Effective marketing campaigns and ads have solid strategies, well-defined creative briefs and messages that appeal directly to what target customers want and need. In this workshop, you will learn key strategies for developing effective messages and ads. Participants will also be given an opportunity to submit their own advertising examples for feedback from the presenters and participants.


Wednesday, Jan. 31

8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Hiding in Your Books: What Your Accountant is Not Telling You?
You may get all the proper forms and taxes completed on time. You probably have never had your business audited. Yet, there are many things that you should know about the accounting aspect of your business. Your accountant may know most of them. This session will share 14 key aspects of financial management that you should be aware of in your business.

The Five Commandments to Creating a Customer Centered Culture
The future belongs to companies that create messages that resonate and experiences that drive loyalty out of a mutual respect for each other. This presentation will address the intangibles that consumers value and how they relate to your business. We’ll discuss how/why your success depends upon becoming a customer centric resource.

The Coaching Edge: Building a Successful Team
Research from The Corporate Executive Board Company shows that “sales reps who receive just three hours of coaching a month exceed their goals by 7%, boosting revenue by 25% and increasing the average close rate by 70%.” If you don’t coach, people lose motivation to meet their sales goals. Learning how to coach your sales team can have huge returns for a company.

Noon – 1 p.m.

Market Trends and New Material for Modern Design
This seminar examines the market trends in today’s market. Three distinct generations are in the workforce and buying consumer products. Market trends encompassing contemporary design, green building, and technology is covered, plus sustainable green building codes, recycling, re-purposing and reclaimed materials along with an update on current standards.

3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

What’s New in Flooring – A Look at Luxury Vinyl
This course will introduce attendees to a new platform for installing a variety of products. Luxury vinyl tile and planks will be the primary product demonstrated using this new platform. Attendees will leave this session with a new perspective on the possibilities that can be obtained using LVT and an array of other products. Learn about the ease of application with mixed-used products, adaptability to walls, backsplashes and floors.

The Laws of Luxury
The rich are different and so are high-end products. Selling the latter to the former requires a different set of rules. This session will help you better understand how to market to affluent consumers; redefine what your brand is and how it fits in the mind of best prospects; and better understand the concept of luxury and how you can achieve success.

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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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Stanton sets standards for style, performance, luxury across all brands

Syosset, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet is gearing up to highlight its new styles at Surfaces 2018, booth 6047. These innovative products aim to set standards for style, durability, performance and luxury across all four of its brands.

Following are some of the manufacturer’s newest products.


  • The manufacturer’s newly built B2B site,, allows its customers to easily place, reserve and track orders around the clock from your phone, tablet or computer. The site is complete with revolutionary functionality including a Create-A-Rug feature that allows image friendly automation of the rug fabrication ordering process. This feature enables users to quickly choose the style, color, binding, finishing and size for an instant quote. In addition, the B2B site offers the ability to view invoices, search for products and promotional items, check real-time stock, place orders, pay online, etc.


  • Lanark is a wool and tencel blend enhanced by chunky, cable cut yarns in cut pile. The tencel adds refinement and an air of distinction and elegance with the added luster of the tencel fiber to the wool.
  • Morris is a wire wilton-wool blend in a wood grain look design. This style features varied levels of high/low loop structure that add a textured, cutting edge stylized look.


  • Nexus tweed is 100% nylon type 6,6 and offers a herringbone design re-imagined. Usually saved for classic woolens, the manufacturer has reinvented the look in gleaming, polished nylon using a neutral color palette.
  • Nexus squared is 100% hand-loomed nylon type 6,6 with an oversized and weighty, cut and loop design. The large cut pile windowpane square design is emphasized with cut pile defining the square, and a low, distinctive tight loop pile in the background. Rich solid colors ground the look with a new Macaw blue that steals the spotlight.


  • Archipelago is 100% wool in a hand loomed linear flatweave design. Its random linear striations are unpredictable and provincial. In basic mid-tone on tone colors, we have added coastal shades of pink, slate and citron for a modern and contemporary look.
  • Enlighten is a polysilk and cotton blend all loop corded hand loomed design. Space dye yarn in beautiful tone on tone shades is enhanced by a high interlocking ribbed and corded loop. Highly stylized and dramatic texture is created by the changing of yarn types creating an engaging and dynamic look.


  • Homestead and Colony feature premium natural un-dyed wool that is hand-loomed into simple yet elegant patterns. A neutral color palette adds to the organic feel of these styles.
  • Branford displays machine tufted natural and dyed wool featuring high and low loops to create dimensional interest. Soft tones and a linear pattern create versatility and allow for use in any space.
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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 For more information or to enter the Best of Surfaces competition, call 972.536.6449 or email


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Metroflor to highlight new Engage Genesis looks at TISE

PastedGraphic-8Norwalk, Conn.—Metroflor has expanded its Engage Genesis LVT line with on-trend narrower, longer, wider-width and multi-length plank formats and a new “painted” accent bevel that heightens definition and authenticity. The company will also introduce its first Engage Genesis tile collection in the 16 x 32 format during The International Surface Event in Las Vegas, Jan. 30-Feb. 1.

“Metroflor is fortunate to have a design staff that is continually pushing the envelope on not only color and design, but also with our plank and tile formats,” said Gary Keeble, director of marketing. “With the new additions to our Engage Genesis portfolio, we have multiple plank formats and large format tiles that provide retailers with a seemingly limitless array of options to present to consumers. These unique formats provide a canvas for Robert Langstaff, director of design, to create the industry’s best styled and most authentic looks designed specifically to enhance the format’s distinctive characteristics.”

New to the Engage Genesis 1200 Vol. 2 series are 7.48 x 47.64-inch planks with multiple embossings including in register and enhanced grain, and a “painted” accent-bevel for more realistic plank definition than micro-bevel. The bevel is painted a complementary color for heightened plank definition and realism. Also new is a narrow, 5.59 x 47.64-inch plank in a new nominal 6-inch width. Natural timber embossing and a painted accent-bevel complement the product color to achieve heightened realism.

The Engage Genesis 1200ML Multi-Length series extends the narrow plank format featuring new 5.75-inch wide planks in varying lengths of 23.82 inches, 35.43 inches and 59.45 inches to achieve more dimension to the floor, complemented by the Natural Timber embossing and a painted accent-bevel.

For the Engage Genesis 2000XL Vol. 2 series, the 8.66 x 59.45-inch planks feature in-register emboss and the new painted, accent-bevel to bring dimensionality and interest to the floor.

The new Engage Genesis 2000T collection features a tile format in a 16 x 32-inch size, with linen emboss or rough concrete emboss (varies with SKU) and micro-bevel edge.

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Al's Column: Teamwork is the key to success

October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10

By Christopher Grubb

Christopher Grubb

Many homeowners want to be do-it-yourself designers, but much can get lost in translation. Projects can contain hundreds of details that can easily be misunderstood when a client attempts to verbally describe her wants to the contractor. Having a designer in the mix makes the process go far more smoothly. And when it comes to filling in those important details, a retailer can make the purchasing process a seamless one, resulting in a successful project for all involved.

At The International Surface Event in January, I will present “Contractors, designers, and retailers: Forging partnership for success.” Through an interactive discussion, I will explain how cultivating and maintaining relationships with other industry professionals can be mutually beneficial for all involved. By working together to create unforgettable design experiences for the client, designers, contractors and retailers can easily elevate their own success through long-term partnerships.

Over the course of my career, I have successfully cultivated relationships across the supply chain. I have shared my creative insights and design tips as a featured guest on various national special series, internationally syndicated shows and local news programs that have aired on ABC, NBC, HGTV and the Hallmark Channel, among others. During my presentation, I will explain how these solid working relationships provide many benefits to the overall project, often saving time, hassle, money and the contractor’s reputation.

I believe an interior designer cannot only help a contractor in producing a precise construction bid, but he or she can also prevent the contractor from morphing into a client’s designer, avoiding unnecessary project conflicts. Designers can have better access with retailers when it comes to tiered pricing. An interior designer can help clients select products and finishes, as well as discuss material costs or any product issues or concerns. This leaves the contractor free to focus on building and constructing the project.

Christopher Grubb, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning interior designer, is the president and founder of the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based firm Arch-Interiors Design Group. His presentation will take place Wed., Jan. 31, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. 



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Al's Column: Avoiding the pitfalls of poor estate planning

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

By Roman Basi


Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMIn my previous column, “Estate Planning: Leave it to the pros,” (FCNews, Sept. 11/18), I explained—citing several recent real estate tax cases—how unqualified advisors can potentially cause a host of problems for their clients. Despite having expertise in other areas, some attorneys, accountants and other professionals that do not specialize in estate planning can do more harm than good. In this installment, I will cover some of the financial repercussions of poor estate planning.

Choosing an unqualified person or firm to handle your estate planning can result in unforeseen financial consequences. The IRS has recently stated that for all 2017 cases attorney’s fees awards will remain at $200 per hour. This may or may not seem like a significant amount to some; however, the ramification is that if someone brings an action against a professional, that person may be subject to paying the attorney’s fees of the claimant at a higher rate than what they were paid to have the work completed in the first place.

And yet, while we caution everyone on proper planning, it does appear that our current system works well for encouraging charitable contributions. A report recently stated that over 2,600 estates with a net worth of approximately $61 billion made charitable contributions in their estates. This amount was a tax deduction for the estates and the government did not receive taxes in the range of $27.4 billion. It appears the estate tax law does in fact provide a substantial means by which charitable organizations can be funded. This is one key reason why charitable organizations do not want the estate tax to go away. If the estate tax did not exist, it appears that the donations to these organizations would decrease substantially as there would be no incentive to give as estate taxes would not be lowered.

Estate planning is very important to all of us as long as the estate tax law is in existence in the U.S. As a matter of fact, the IRS has recently released information about how important the estate tax is to the U.S. Over 11,917 estate tax returns were filed in a recent year. Of the taxable estates, 13.5% did not owe taxes, but the remainder owed estate taxes such that the total amount produced income to the U.S. Treasury of $17.09 billion. (And this is only for one year.) An interesting breakdown of the assets on the tax returns showed that traded stock, state and local bonds, cash and closely held stock and real estate—other than a personal residence—amounted to a total value of $60.12 billion.

Bottom line: Don’t put off creating an estate plan. And once you have created one, be sure to keep it current as your situation changes and as laws pertaining to estate taxes change. More importantly, use qualified professionals who specialize in estate planning. Remember, the Center has specialists that stay current with the tax laws and specialize in estate planning.

Be sure to attend my presentation on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at TISE, where I will discuss different ways to reduce your taxes and protect your assets. Following my session, I will be available for free, 30-minute consultations.


Roman Basi is an attorney and CPA with the firm Basi, Basi & Associates at the Center for Financial, Legal & Tax Planning. He writes frequently on issues facing business owners. For more information, please visit

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Al's Column: Top 10 tips for tile, stone maintenance

September 11/18, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 7

By Rod Sigman


Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMIn the nearly three decades that I have been in this industry, there have been tremendous advancements in technology, techniques and craftsmanship. Yet with all the progress that has been made, many problems still exist, including issues and failures directly related to the lack of knowledge and understanding of how critical a role proper care and maintenance play in both insuring a successful installation and maintaining a products function and beauty for the long term.

To this point, ASTM C1528 –02 does a great job of framing this issue as it relates to natural stone. However, many of the same challenges and issues also apply to tile. As the standard states: “In a high proportion of the cases, failure of a natural stone in service is a result of improper application, rather than the inherent properties of the stone. Placing stones in unsuitable environments, faulty fabrication, installation or construction practices and incompatible associated materials are frequent causes of stone system failures…”

This means it is not typically the stone’s (or tile’s) fault but rather our lack of understanding and knowledge about the material; what it will do; how to install or fabricate it; etc., that is leading to failures and problems. Therefore, if we take the time to educate ourselves, employees, customers, etc., then we stand a much greater chance of success.

While there are ANSI and TCNA standards, guidelines and best practices for virtually all aspects of installation from surface prep to grouting techniques, none exist for sealers, maintenance, problem solving and prevention. That being said, it is critical to attend educational sessions—such as those available at TISE—to become aware of the potential pitfalls and challenges and how to avoid them. Topics that will be discussed at TISE include: when to pre-seal tile or stone vs. using a grout release; how hot/cold and or wet surfaces affect the use and performance of sealers; what the function of a sealer is; how using, selling or specifying proper maintenance products and programs can prolong the sealer, the function and performance of the installation itself; and knowing which tile, stone and grout should be sealed.

While this is very understandable up front, most find problems on the back end of the removing grout haze and staining, sealer residue, stains from other trades, hiring restoration contractors to refinish the stone and in some cases ripping out the installation only to have it reinstalled properly the second time. What is seldom planned are the direct and indirect costs (both time and money) associated with not discussing or implementing a good care and maintenance program. Countless meetings, finger pointing and potential lawsuits are all real consequences. The damage to yourself and or your company’s reputation and referral business is never monetized and factored in.

The International Surface Event offers a multitude of classes and opportunities to improve your knowledge, understanding and bottom line. This class is a must for those who are looking to give themselves and or their company an edge over their competition and increase customer satisfaction. We look forward seeing you Jan. 29, at 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., session code MN02. Register today at to review a complete list of programs and activities.


Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 3.05.38 PMRod Sigman is business development manager at Custom Building Products, based in Huntington Beach, Calif. The company specializes in floor preparation products and tile and stone installation systems for residential and commercial projects.





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Lisbiz Strategies: Put Surfaces on your must-attend list

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Lisbeth Calandrino


Lisbeth CalandrinoThis year I was invited to be part of the educational committee to determine the seminars to be offered at TISE 2018. I have always wondered how the seminars were decided. This year I would not only participate in the process but would learn more about the industry.

Weeks before our arrival, Carol Wilkins, educational director of TISE, sent participants the evaluations of the presentations from the last year as well as the new submittals. We were asked to rate the new ones prior to arriving in Dallas. I must admit at first the task looked overwhelming, so I decided I needed to get right to it. The submittals encompassed all aspects of the industry, including installation, sales, marketing and showroom design—to name a few. This year there was also a submittal for a design competition to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150-year anniversary.

It was great to see all facets of the industry represented as well as experts whom I rarely get to see. After our welcoming dinner the first night, I realized the process was going to be very enlightening. Since there were no “shrinking violets,” there was bound to be plenty of energy and opinions in the room. We all have our area of expertise, but I quickly realized I’m not informed on everything in the industry.

Most impressive was the passion expressed by everyone in the room. I started to wonder, How would we ever get this task done in one and half days? Better yet, How would we know what to use and what to eliminate? There were several newcomers to the industry who came with a different slant. There were a couple of storeowners who gave us firsthand views on what they are experiencing in the industry.

The process went smoothly and the conversation was exciting. The depth of the 2018 seminars is amazing. So what does this mean to retailers?

  1. Stop making excuses for not attending. This is your opportunity to learn from experts in our industry. Look at the seminars and decide which ones are relevant for your business.
  2. Share the education seminars with your staff before you go. You will probably get some useful information from your staff about what they think would be useful for your business.
  3. Bring a store manager, salesperson or trusted advisor. Have them attend as many seminars as possible and share the information when they get back to the store.
  4. Attend seminars with your suppliers. Many retailers depend on their suppliers to help them make decisions. Why not bring one of them to a seminar on trends or redesigning your showroom? You need to know what is going on outside of your trading area.
  5. Choose education over partying. I don’t mean to sound like your mean mother, but you won’t have an opportunity like this for another year. Sure, you like being romanced by your suppliers but if you don’t know how to maximize the products you buy, what good are they?
  6. Learn from other retailers. Many of the seminars include a question-and-answer section, which will allow you to get good information from other retailers.
  7. Attend at least one technology and design seminar. Technology is always changing and some technology is very pertinent to our industry. You can learn what’s working for other retailers as well as how color plays an important part for our consumers.


Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at