If the established trend remains intact, more flooring professionals will participate in Surfaces 2003 and shatter the attendance figure set last year.

Floor covering industry professionals will walk among the bright lights of Las Vegas, Jan. 29-31, as Surfaces 2003 opens with more than 900 exhibiting companies ready to greet attendees and answer questions.

The show, sponsored again this year by Hanley-Wood Exhibitions and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), will feature the newest products and services as a preview of what the coming year will bring to the industry. Exhibitors will utilize more than 500,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Sands Expo & Convention Center to spotlight a variety of new product introductions.

Surfaces will showcase the latest developments in carpet, area and Oriental rugs, hardwood and resilient flooring, ceramic tile, marble and stone, software and training support, and equipment, accessories and sundries.

Event organizers promise the participation of new exhibitors and manufacturers in every product category, as well a new NAFCD Distributor Sales Self-Study & Certification Program. Also, for the first time in Surfaces’ history, a Red Carpet opening night reception will be hosted at the Venetian Hotel.

The reception will take place after the first day of the show, Jan. 29, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The soiree is designed to offer floor industry professionals a chance to mingle and network with others in the industry. Beverages and hors d'oeuvres will be available.

In another new development this year, Surfaces' comprehensive Conference Program has undergone an overhaul to feature new content and training information designed to help increase sales and improve productivity. The conference, sponsored by Mannington, follows five general subjects: marketing, business, sales, design, and installation.

Two pre-show workshops are scheduled for Jan. 28, running for a duration of three hours each, to offer a focused and in-depth view of business essentials within the industry. Open seminar sessions will run concurrently during show hours. Many of the 40 seminars and workshops available can be used to qualify for the WFCA's new certification program, which includes the Certified Flooring Executive (CFE), Certified Flooring Professional (CFP) and Certified Flooring Salesperson (CFS) designations.

Also new this year, a laminate showcase showroom will offer showgoers a view of different design installations from the WFCA Installation Competition. The competition, which is cosponsored by both National Floor Trends and Floor Covering Installer magazines, is a national speed-and-skill challenge in which the winners of regional contests will be flown to Surfaces 2003 to compete at the national level. The competition will be an ongoing event on the show floor throughout the duration of Surfaces.

Educational opportunities will abound at Surfaces 2003, with two pre-show workshops and 40 seminars scheduled for the edification of attendees.
Additionally, a new Innovative Retailer 2003 contest has been designed to showcase the best ideas of retailer from across the country. To this end, retailers are being asked to submit their best ideas for growing profit, reducing expenses and operating with greater efficiency online at www.SurfacesExpo.com by Dec. 13. The retailer whose idea is judged the best will win a trip to Surfaces 2003, including round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations, full registration to exhibits and the Surfaces Conference Program, and a $2,500 cash prize. Retailers who submit the second- and third-place ideas will receive cash prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively. To ensure that the ideas are seen from a full industry perspective, the judging committee will consist of representatives from leading flooring industry trade publications, including National Floor Trends magazine, as well as the WFCA. The top 100 ideas submitted for the contest will be available for the perusal of all Surfaces 2003 attendees. By using a special access code, attendees can visit the Surfaces Web site after the show and print or download the ideas. They need only to stop by the Armstrong, Mannington, Mohawk, or Shaw booths at Surfaces 2003 to obtain the code. Last year’s Surfaces extravaganza brought 35,312 attendees from 70 countries. Once again, Surfaces 2003 is poised to draw thousands of interested flooring professionals from around the world to Las Vegas this January to network, buy, sell, and learn from one another on a regional, national and international level.