With this issue, Floor Trends marks its 70th anniversary. We couldn’t do without you—the nearly 18,000 subscribers to the eMagazine and more than 90,000 audience members across our digital platforms.
I’ve had a lot of joy sifting through our archives—70 years of flooring news and insights—and what strikes me time and again is that many of the issues we are dealing with today aren’t all that different than what retailers, manufacturers and designers were facing decades before. Styles change, technology accelerates, and the economy fluctuates, and we are excited about what the next 70 years will bring.
A Look Back
Steve Brody, a man with a unique vision for the floor covering industry, founded Western Floors magazine in 1952. After one year, the publication had 3,000 floor covering dealers as subscribers.
Brody hired Howard Olansky as managing editor in November 1955 and taught him the industry. We’ve learned that Olansky entered the flooring industry by happenstance. Following his graduation from the University of Iowa, he served in the U.S. Navy working in communications while stationed in San Diego during the Korean War. Soon after, he began his career as a journalist with the California Real Estate Journal and then joined Western Floors magazine.
In 1960 Brody gave Olansky the opportunity to acquire equity in the company and the right to buy it upon his death or retirement. Brody died much too young, in his early 50s, in 1964, and Olansky became publisher.
Later, Olansky, with a new business partner, Harold Arkoff, expanded Western Floors and added Installation Specialist, Eastern Floors and Floor Covering Installer magazines. In 1997, the two partners sold the company to Business News Publishing (now our publisher BNP Media). Western Floors and Eastern Floors combined into National Floor Trends. Olansky stayed on, serving as the publication’s senior editor.
Olansky, a respected journalist and publisher, devoted his career to the flooring business and is widely credited with advancing the industry in a number of areas. His involvement in the industry dates back to a time when only a handful of companies were making tufted or woven carpet. As the industry grew, he quickly emerged as an energetic and articulate advocate of all types of flooring.
His influence reached beyond National Floor Trends and the other magazines he helped publish. Long active in industry associations, he was instrumental in the establishment of national and regional associations including the Western Floor Covering Association (now the World Floor Covering Association), the Carpet Manufacturers Association of the West (now part of CRI), NAFCI (predecessor of the FCICA), National Association of Floor Covering Distributors (now North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors) and the Floor Installation Association of North America. He was instrumental in opening up the installation of wood floors to the floor covering industry. He also helped make it possible for carpet cleaners to incorporate the word “steam” in descriptions about their service and he established the name “installer” instead of “mechanic” to designate the craft.
A Look Ahead
While the look back is always entertaining, we’ve devoted much energy to the future of flooring. We’ve invited industry leaders to give us a perspective about what’s next for our industry. We hope you’ll gain some insights through interviews and columns, and I invite you to send me your perspective on what you see coming for our business in the coming decades.