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Quick-Step equips retailers for success at Surfaces

Shown is Quick-Step's 2016 Surfaces booth.
Shown is Quick-Step’s 2016 Surfaces booth.

Dallas—Quick-Step plans to bring the same excitement, high degree of style, effective product presentation and clear selling messages to its 2017 Surfaces booth (5603) that the Quick-Step brand brings to retailers’ showrooms throughout the year.

“Our 2017 Quick-Step
booth is designed to effectively
showcase new products, engagingly present their
accompanying selling stories and
serve as an exciting social meeting
place on the show floor for
customers,” said Paij Thorn-Brooks, vice president of brand
marketing for Mohawk Flooring, North
 America. “After visiting
the Quick-Step booth, we want our
distributors and retailers to feel
equipped to engage in conversations back home with their own customers about Quick-Step’s exciting new products and selling stories. Everything in our Surfaces booth ties back to the overriding goal of equipping our retail partners for success—all year long.”

Quick-Step’s booth will be located prominently on the Surfaces show floor at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Jan. 18-20.


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Quick-Step to exhibit at Surfaces 2017

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-9-43-26-amDallas—Quick-Step, a style, design and innovation leader in flooring, will again be an exhibitor at the upcoming Surfaces flooring tradeshow at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Jan. 18-20. During the show Quick-Step will launch new 2017 products, merchandising and digital programs (booth #5603).

“[Quick-Step has] designed an inspiring booth with effective product presentation, unique activity, impressive visuals, creative imagery and innovative technology,” said Paij Thorn-Brooks, vice president of brand marketing for Mohawk Flooring, North America. “We place great importance on launching our new products, merchandising and digital programs each year at Surfaces.”

According to Thorn-Brooks, Quick-Step is an avid Surfaces participant. “As the flooring industry’s largest tradeshow, Surfaces is ‘the’ meeting place for all of the industry’s key players: manufacturers, distributors, retailers, vendors and media,” he added.

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Stanton Carpet to highlight new styles at Surfaces

Stanton brand's Rhythm from its Contempt collection.
Stanton brand’s Rhythm from its Contempt collection.

Syosset, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet Corp. will highlight various new styles at Surfaces (Booth 6455). According to the company, the lineup of innovative products will set standards for style, durability, performance and luxury across all four of its brands and the flooring industry.

From its Stanton brand:

  • Cottage collection is made from premium wool and polysilk fibers and consists of three styles: Bungalow, Hillside and Sullivan.
  • Contempo collection boasts a juxtaposition of delustered wool and high luster polysilk and includes Rhythm, Art Deco and Mouveau.
  • The company’s popular Atelier Marquee collection has expanded to include four new nylon carpets: Muse, Brick Lane, Primrose Hill and Parliament Square.

From its Crescent brand:

  • Tailormade collection offers a tailored tweed theme that brings the classic, timeless looks from men’s fashion into the home. It includes three styles: Tattersall, Ticking Stripe and Bentley Tweed.

    Crescent's Tattersall from Tailormade collection.
    Crescent’s Tattersall from Tailormade collection.
  • New to the Brittania collection is Irvine which stands besides the pre-existing popular styles of Prestwick and St. Andrews.

From its Rosecore brand:

  • Privee collection consists of 100% handloomed Tencel fibers in cut pile presentations and includes the styles Perla, Pristine and Soiree.
  • Duplexity collection features Duplexity Dash with Stanton’s Tenlon fiber, a new trademarked fiber.

From its Antrim brand:

  • Horizon features rustic textures achieved through the interplay of thick and thin wool yarns, and offers bold and impressive stripe effects in three neutral colors.
  • Inspired and designed by Mother Nature, Antrim introduces three more hand-loomed styles: Minka, Vitality and Utopia.





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Al's Column: TISE offers certified training in tile

December 19/26, 2016: Volume 31, Number 14

By Scott Carothers

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMDo you have at least two years of experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis? In our definition, experience refers to having full responsibility for substrate prep, layout, coordinating with other trades along with properly installing underlayment, tile, grouting and sealant materials.

If the answers to those questions are yes, then you should consider becoming a Certified Tile Installer (CTI). The CTI designation identifies the professional installer who has reached a level of proficiency to independently and consistently produce a sound tile installation that displays good workmanship. Certification is the validation of the skills and knowledge of the men and women who presently are installing tile successfully in the United States.

The CTI program includes two separate tests. The first is an online, open-book exam taken at home or the office as the installer’s schedule allows. The second is a hands-on test that is conducted at regional locations across the United States. The hands-on portion of the test begins at 7 a.m. and must be completed by 4 p.m. Installers should arrive at 6:30 a.m. in order to get their tools set up and be ready to start at the appointed time.

The CTI program is strictly a test of the installer’s skills and knowledge and offers no instructional classes. However, many installers who have completed the CTI tests have said that reading and studying the written materials was very valuable and also assisted in the completion of the hands-on test. Installers have also said the CTI Manual provided the correct methods for tile installation, which may not have been the way they installed tile in the past. It’s worth noting that the CTI program is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge recognized by the tile industry.

The CTI hands-on test is being offered at The International Surfaces event (TISE) 2017 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 18, and Thursday, Jan. 19. It is sponsored by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry.

CTEF also offers the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). In order to take the ACT certification tests, an installer must be pre-qualified by either being a CTI or a journeyman tile setter who has successfully completed the apprenticeship program conducted by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC).

ACT certification in each area is granted upon successful completion of a written online test designed to measure the installer’s understanding of applicable ANSI specifications and TCNA recommended methods, and a field test conducted by trained, third-party evaluators who assess the installer’s skills under real life conditions.

Registration is easy: Simply visit, select the test date of your choice, make your payment and wait for your study materials.


screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-07-28-pmScott Carothers, a 36-year ceramic tile industry veteran, is director of certification and training at CTEF. He is responsible for creating the Certified Tile Installer program and is involved in creating the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers program and providing training to others. He has served as president of the NTCA, chairman of the NTCA Technical Committee and was named NTCA Tile Person of the Year in 2005 and Ring of Honor recipient in 2013.




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Campaign for Wool introduces the Wool Specialist at Surfaces 2017

sheepscaled_world_header_logoBradford, England—The Campaign for Wool (CfW) will attend The International Surfaces Event (TISE) 2017 with a declaration launched by The Prince of Wales outlining the international standards of the wool industry in caring for sheep and the benefits of choosing real wool for interiors and fashion.

Additionally, the company will pilot its new platform, which positions wool to both consumers and retailers. Quality wool retailers need to achieve the “Wool Specialist” accreditation which will be available online later in 2017. Carpet retailers will be required to participate in a short test program and show they represent a number of quality wool brands to register.

“The Campaign for Wool is focused on promoting the performance assets of the fiber and building better understanding of those at retail level,” said Bridgette Kelly, interior textiles director, The Campaign for Wool. “Our aim of inspiring and educating ensures that the story of wool reaches consumers and they are informed about the long-lasting benefits of choosing wool for the home.”

Visit The Campaign for Wool at Booth 6353.

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Al’s Column: Informational tours on tap for Surfaces 2017

December 5/12, 2016: Volume 31, Number 13
By Lisbeth Calandrino

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMFloor covering retailers are invited to participate in several special events that will be held in conjunction with The International Surface Event (TISE) educational program, which is slated to take place Jan. 17-20 in Las Vegas.

One event involves a tour of the Zappos factory. (What woman wouldn’t love a place with an endless supply of shoes?) In my initial discussions with Informa Exhibitions—the organizer of Surfaces—regarding a potential off-site venue for retailers to visit, Zappos seemed logical. With almost no advertising, they produce in excess of $2 billion in revenue annually. While no one in our business sells shoes, we can still learn a lot about Zappos because what they’re really selling is great customer service.

Retailers can get a glimpse into the Zappos culture and learn from their hiring practices and customer loyalty program during the Retail Culture Tour Experience scheduled to take place Thursday, Jan. 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during Surfaces 2017 (off-site). The 90-minute presentation includes a Q&A session with Zappos representatives. Flooring retailers can get an inside look into everyday work life on the Zappos campus to learn how they can improve the culture in their own stores, many of which are small to medium-sized firms.

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-9-43-52-amZappos’ successful formula is based on CEO Tony Hsieh’s “happy people” philosophy. In his book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose,” Hsieh states that businesses focus on profits. But he stresses that happy people are more likely to make customers happy than unhappy ones. Floor covering retailers will have the opportunity to see this philosophy firsthand during the factory tour. Note: All attendees must have a valid state-issued photo ID to attend. Furthermore, retailers are encouraged to register early as space is limited.

While at Surfaces, retailers are also encouraged to sign up for the Speed Trending Tour: An Eye on the 2017 Trends as seen at TISE. Scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., the program—which includes breakfast (coffee and light pastries)—will bring the latest in variety surface products directly to retailers and designers looking for what’s hot in flooring and design. The program focuses on the process of creative design and aims to help retailers make informed decisions.

The product categories covered in the Speed Trending Tour presentation span soft and hard surfaces, color and technology. A bonus is the self-guided tour following the presentation in the Trends Hub. Here, participants may engage with the designer behind the Trend Home and join her for several mini-discussion sessions. See schedule online at for topics and times. Note: RSVP required for this event.

The Trends Chat in the Trends Hub will feature five different influences expected to shape design choices in 2017. Hear about the concepts and inspirations behind the trend selections directly from the designer. Each session will feature a different theme during scheduled times throughout show days. Participants are encouraged to visit each of the five chats in one day or over multiple days.


Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.56.12 PMLisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. Register for Surfaces at to hear her presentation, “10 Ways to Attract Customers,” on Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at



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Bostik re-introduces Hydroment Vivid at KBIS 2017 and Surfaces 2017

bostikWauwatosa, Wis.—Bostik will re-introduce Hydroment Vivid, a rapid curing, premium grade, cement-based grout for the most demanding kitchen and bath projects, at The International Surface Event on Jan. 18-20 in Las Vegas (booth #4506), and at KBIS 2017 in Orlando, Fla. (booth #S5246).

Hydroment Vivid offers consistent color technology with enhanced stain and efflorescence protection. It is fiber reinforced for increased crack resistance and non-sag properties. Hydroment Vivid’s rapid curing trait makes it ready for foot traffic in just four hours. Additionally, Hydroment Vivid exceeds requirements of ANSI A118.7 and contains Bostik’s patented Blockade Antimicrobial Protection.

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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


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Al’s Column: Five proven LinkedIn tools at your fingertips

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

By Rebecca Vertucci

View More: has turned into one of the world’s strongest networking tools. But in my years of working for LinkedIn, it seems many of the platform’s best features go unnoticed. Ultimately, I feel this is due to the overwhelming nature of LinkedIn. There is so much to do that it can be hard to know where to focus.

I am part of the “customer success team” at LinkedIn, and I am also a career coach with Vertucci Career Academy. Every day I help clients hire people while helping people find jobs.

Following are some of my favorite LinkedIn tools that many people don’t know about.

Pro Finder. For freelancers, this one is key. In a nutshell, Pro Finder—a new service—connects service-based providers with people who need services. (Search LinkedIn Help ProFinder.) How it works: You can bid jobs and get connected with people who are looking for your area of expertise. It’s a great lead generation tool operating in the background for you.

LinkedIn rolled out a soft launch of Pro Finder in late 2015, and it’s still in the process of being released to all members. Pro Finder is currently only available in the U.S and not yet in every city. However, if you do have access to it, be sure to check it out.

Veterans Tool. LinkedIn is committed to helping service members and veterans succeed in transitioning from their military role to working in the private sector. This particular tool is designed for networking among fellow veterans. Specifically, it’s designed to help connect members coming out of service with veterans who have already found civilian work.

In addition to helping fellow veterans get connected, LinkedIn also has a veterans landing page, which offers a free one-year subscription to a premium job seeker account and to any eligible military and veteran members.

Volunteer Marketplace. Have you ever found yourself wanting to volunteer your skills to local nonprofits but weren’t sure of where or how to start? LinkedIn has you covered. Nonprofits can now publicize skilled volunteer needs. Perhaps they need legal counsel or marketing assistance on a voluntary basis. Well now they can be matched with local legal or marketing professionals looking to volunteer their time and skills to worthy causes.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMI often advise people looking to develop new skills to consider volunteering first. Nonprofit organizations can be a great place to help you build your experience or portfolio of projects.

LinkedIn for Students. Although this resource is designed for students, it has applications for anyone and everyone looking to learn more about LinkedIn. Want some great tips on creating your profile? Looking for advice on what to say when networking? Need some job search advice? Users can view videos, tip sheets and articles to find the answers.

When first starting out on LinkedIn, this is an excellent resource regardless of whether or not you’re a student. And when you are ready for advanced tips and tricks, always remember the Help Center has you covered.

The point of LinkedIn is to grow and nurture your network. Utilize these helpful resources to help you identify easy ways to do exactly that.

I hope you found some useful resources you might not have known about before.


Rebecca Vertucci is an expert on recruiting, hiring and all things LinkedIn. Her presentation, “Building Your Online Professional Brand,” is scheduled to take place at The International Surface Event on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Visit for more information. Vertucci may also be reached via e-mail at She offers free career consultations for all FlexJobs members.

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Al’s Column: How to market successfully after the sale

November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11

By Greg Incardona

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-11-39-12-amAccording to a Small Business Trends report in 2016, 85% of a retailer’s new business comes from referrals. Most small businesses know it is easier to sell to a referred customer. Despite these statistics, many businesses send only thank you notes and never contact their customers again—unless they have a sale. Their commitment to customers gets lost after the initial transaction.

Is sending a thank you note enough for a customer who has made a purchase from your business? Will it keep her coming back to your store for her next purchase? How will you get consumers to remember or refer you unless you are constantly connecting with them?

These are clearly rhetorical questions. In order to build your referral database, you must stay in front of your customers so they will remember the customer service and follow-up they received. This won’t happen by accident; it will only happen with a well-planned marketing strategy.

Furthermore, independent industry research says 35% of foot traffic will buy on the spot and 65% leave to “think about something” or “talk to someone” (we often refer to these consumers as “be backs”). The real issue to consider is the 65% who leave to “think about it” are buying flooring somewhere. Since it’s possible customers who leave without buying are likely shopping your competitors, it is wise to think of ways to get them into your database so you can connect with them in a timely manner. This may eventually divert them from purchasing at the competition.

I get it—everyone is busy and following up can be sometimes difficult. But it has to start with a plan. How should you segment your database? How do you determine how often to send communication? Should you send emails, cards, postcards, invitations or newsletters? Perhaps a combination thereof? What do you say in your correspondence?

To answer these questions, I strongly recommend you come up with a road map, an action plan to market to your customers. As you develop that plan, keep the following goal in mind: You should want a customer for life. Many times, the only way to achieve that goal is to build a trusting relationship. You’ve heard it before: People buy from those they know, like or trust. They know you because they bought from you, but you must work to get them to like and trust you and turn them into a customer for life.

Before you sit down to devise an after-sale marketing plan, you need to first determine your target customers and why they are important. For example, determine what traits they must have before you can consider them a prospect. After further evaluation, you will understand the importance of your prospect as they are the real targets for increasing your business. Turning your prospects into customers—and then staying in touch periodically with those customers—will go a long way in securing that coveted referral business.


Greg Incardona is vice president of Follow Your Customer, a marketing strategy firm. He is scheduled to deliver a presentation at TISE titled “Case Study: Why After-Sale Marketing Will Save Your Business” on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Visit