The afternoon slate of Pre-Surfaces Workshops that concluded today left attendees enthused, enlightened and energized to hit the showroom floor at the Sands Convention Center in the morning.

In Creating Your Own Marketing Materials, Kay Pegram looked at one of the most important tools for success, marketing materials, and how to get the most out of them by understanding the basics of copywriting and design, whether in desktop publishing or outsourcing, and producing copy that has impact. The session included designing dynamic brochures; newsletters; advertisements; direct-mail pieces; and logos.

The Pricing Strategies for Profits Plus! workshop that business consultant Tom Shay oversaw instructed attendees on the techniques to determine a general price image of their business; to detect items that can be "blind priced"; to figure out which items should carry a "everyday sale price"; and how to create an overall strategy to increase their margins. Shay's presentation allowed attendees to recognize how consumers will see their business as competitively priced, while continuing to increase their bottom line.

CFI Executive Director/CEO Jim Walker led the way through Identifying Professional Installation Techniques, driving the point into attendees that the best time to question professional installation techniques is before the work commences, not after it's complete. Walker presented a number of suggestions for hiring qualified installers who will be representatives of the company they work for, and who will provide the customer with an installation they will be satisfied with for years.

Janice Froelich,, ASID, took workshop attendees on a tour of the red-hot tile market, and helped them examine whether or not they had the information to compete in today's marketplace. Designing With Tile explored applications for a multitude of tile types, including glazed wall tile; ceramic mosaics; quarry; pavers; terra cotta; and ceramic murals. Attendees learned about tile trends and design options on walls, countertops, floors, sidewalks, pools, fountains, and other areas in both the home and business arena.

NFT staff contributed to this report.