Carpet One Floor & Home members and managers gathered at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, for their annual winter convention. Under the convention theme “Own It,” members shared best practices on how they are owning the customer experience in their stores, online and in their customers’ homes and offices.

Members were introduced to new products and attended in-depth sessions focused on growing the hard surface side of their businesses. The group launched a new line of luxury vinyl tile (LVT), named InvincibleXT, and members attended a series of three product breakouts to dive deeper into the LVT product category, the trends in hardwood, and the issues related to proper preparation of subfloors for hard surface installations.

“LVT has continued to grow at a faster pace than anyone predicted at the beginning of the year, and it increased over 23 percent during 2017,” said Charlie Dilks, chief product officer, CCA Global.

The cooperative’s premier carpet brand — Relax, it’s…Lees — is also being relaunched with a new product assortment, updated display graphics and fresh advertising.

Part of owning the customer experience is focusing product sales on core vendor programs, said Eric Demaree, president of Carpet One Floor & Home. A core vendor focus can help retailers increase profit margins, reduce consumer price shopping and help to set themselves apart in their local marketplaces.

“We are only selling core products and exclusive brands,” affirmed David Smith, vice president of Skaff Furniture Carpet One in Detroit, in a presentation. “Ever since we joined Carpet One, we saw this as a strength of being in Carpet One, and so, over the last few months, we have been really focused on making that a real strength.”

Carpet One Floor & Home’s marketing team introduced the co-op’s 2018 promotional strategy and new programs aimed at supporting members through promotional assets and digital marketing.

The team also focused on helping members “Own It” with lead management. Presentations stressed the importance of managing leads well and provide tools and ideas to help members convert more leads to sales.

The event opened with both American and Canadian National anthems sung by Daniel Rodriguez, known as the “Singing Policeman.” As a Brooklyn police officer and first responder, Rodriguez saw first-hand the horror and devastation on 9/11. American Idol alum, Jax, provided music and inspiration during the second day opening session.

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills presented the closing keynote presentation. Travis was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2012. He is one of five servicemen that survived their injuries as a quadruple amputee. Carpet One Floor & Home was first introduced to Travis in 2014 as part of their partnership with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and their Building for America’s Bravest program. Now, as a “Recalibrate Warrior” Travis inspires others as a motivational speaker.

To close out the convention, Carpet One Floor & Home members were treated to a musical mash-up featuring Broadway stars in “A Tribute to Hamilton,” which complemented the annual awards presentation.