The Sands Convention Center the night before the big show.

Winter in Las Vegas is something of a misnomer. The early morning view from the 20th floor of the Treasure Island Resort and Casino shows a shimmering jewel of a city, the sun shining brightly off the miles of glass, steel, and terrazzo that make up the world famous Las Vegas Strip.

Jan. 30, 2001. It's a beautiful day in the desert.

Surfaces 2001, the largest exhibition and trade show for the floor covering industry, opens for business tomorrow at the Sands Expo & Convention Center. More than 35,000 visitors are expected to cross the threshold to view the latest innovations in flooring technology and product development, as well as hear from a number of industry experts in a variety of educational seminars, during the three-day event.

Today, however, is a day of preparation. Throughout the 500,000-square-foot convention center, throngs of union laborers and tradesmen perform a well-scripted ballet, moving nimbly among the forklifts, cables, ladders, and lumber as they prepare the show floor for its unveiling Wednesday morning. The WFCA's National Installation Contest is being laid out, the competitors are arriving, and the viewing area is being prepared for one of the most exciting annual events Surfaces has to offer.

Tuesday is also the time when those visitors searching for a little extra knowledge beyond what the seminars held during the show provide will find it. Hanley-Wood LLC, the new owners of Surfaces, produced a series of pre-show workshops, eight three-hour educational offerings in all. The topics ranged from Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business to Designing With Tile. One of most well-attended workshops was Weaving Dollars From Woven Carpet moderated by David Hunt.

The night before the show officially opens usually finds the first of a number of manufacturer-hosted receptions for their clients, the media, and other invitees, and tonight will be no exception. Surfaces offers one of the more intensive networking opportunities available in the floor covering industry, and to not take advantage of it just doesn't make for good business.

NFT> Online will continue to provide updates of the goings-on at Surfaces 2001 during the next three days. Check back soon and see what else has developed as the show unfolds.