Atlanta, Ga. -- More than 60 vendors rang in the first week of the new year at the Southeast Flooring Market, held at the Cobb Galleria Centre, January 3-4. Hundreds of flooring buyers from the region came to check out 2018 introductions and network with their local sales representatives. Mohawk and Shaw exhibited in their own spaces, kicking off a month of regional shows for the manufacturers.

Click here to view a gallery of photos from the event

There was a general consensus of optimism among attendees. Nick Melnyk, vice president of Cain and Bultman, a flooring distributor in Jacksonville, Fla., said he is beginning to see some uptick and business from insurance claims coming from the Hurricane Irma, which hit the state in September 2017. He projected that the company will make up the 10% of business it lost during the hurricane.

Randy Shoates, the Dalton sales manager for Southwind Carpet Mills, said 2017 was the best year he’s seen in his 40 years in the flooring business. “Hard surface has really taken over,” Shoates said. “Business is completely different now than when I started, but now I’m selling to everyone’s grandkids.”

Mannington district sales directors Ron Chapman and Travis Alan Knotts said they decided to exhibit at at the SE Flooring Show, formerly the Cobb Flooring Show, after scouting the event last year and realizing many more of their customers were attending the regional market instead of Surfaces.

Lexmark exhibited its Living Select display, which features 30 pins and 16 of the company’s top-selling products. “We had tremendous growth in 2017—double digit growth—with 1,300 new displays placed,” said Vice President Darryl Locke. He said 2018 will be a “year of harvesting” as they company opts out of Surfaces this year in favor of a road show and sales team development. Kathy Cline, director of residential marketing, said the company is also focusing on developing its rug program and planning quarterly promotions that are aimed to duplicate the success the Lexmark had with the “It Takes Two” promotion in 2017.

In the Shaw space, Anderson Tuftex unveiled its rebranding, new displays, 17 carpet designs and seven new hardwood styles. Katie Ford, director of brand strategy, said the target consumer for Anderson Tuftex is a woman in her mid 40s with a great sense of style who believes that her home’s style is a reflection of herself. She acts as her own interior designer and general contractor, researching design ideas and organizes the installers who bring her design aspirations to life.

Karen Mendelsohn, senior vice president of marketing, unveiled Mohawk’s theme “Activate the Future,” showcasing four product heros that were surrounded by 360-degree campaigns that create stickiness for the consumer, building trust between them, the flooring retailer and the brand. The first product hero, SmartStrand Silk Reserve, features all pet protection, which was launched at the end of 2017. A Solid Tech expansion also features all pet protection introduced with new finishes and longer, wider planks. Mohawk unveiled its consumer launch of the Airo soft flooring system, featuring hypoallergenic benefits. Additionally, the company has repositioned its laminate as Revwood Plus, calling it a “revolutionary wood without compromise” with a waterproof feature. “We are hitting a sweet spot for the consumer with this product,” Mendelsohn said. The Mohawk team also showcased updates to its Omnify platform.

For more information, see upcoming stories on Talk Floor and in the February issue of Floor Trends.