Featuring more than 1,200 exhibitors, Coverings 2002 returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Custom-made ceramic tiles like the ones pictured above will be featured in Coverings' new Avenue of the Artisans display, which showcases the work of artisans with revenues of less than $250,000 per year.
Sandwiched annually between Cevisama and Cersaie, Coverings 2002, the International Tile & Stone Exposition (ITSE), promises to deliver the newest trends and innovations in tile and stone upon its return to Orlando, Fla. at the Orange County Convention Center on May 6-9.

Far more than just filler between the extensive Spanish and Italian tile extravaganzas, the 2001 edition of the show in New Orleans attracted more than 1,200 exhibitors from more than 41 countries and included 11 national pavilions.

This year, the National Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), the American Institute of Architects, (AIA), the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the Construction Specifiers Institute (CSI), the Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), and the Terrazzo, Tile & Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) have thrown their support behind the Coverings expo as co-sponsors.

In addition to changing locations, Coverings 2002 will feature new educational and business opportunities for retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and designers. But perhaps the biggest change in Coverings' format this year is the introduction of the International Flooring Exposition (IFE), a new annual event produced by the NAFCD. Event organizers will attempt to bring together floor covering sellers and buyers. NAFCD sought an established trade show venue that was both compatible and easily accessible to suppliers and retail customers, said association President Hoy Lanning.

Designed for artists involved in the production of limited-run and custom ceramic tiles, the Avenue of the Artisans will also premiere at Coverings 2002. The display will allow artisans with revenues of less than $250,000 per year to showcase their work together.

Vision 2002, Coverings' educational series, returns to Florida with more than 70 seminars and roundtable discussions that cover management skills, business strategies, design, and stone. Like last year, the series will offer simultaneous Spanish translation services at more than 10 seminars.

Coverings 2002 expects to draw large numbers this year with the Vision 2002 Educational Series.
BothNational Floor TrendsandFloor Covering Installermagazines will participate in Vision 2002 by moderating panels.Floor Covering InstallerPublisher Dan Lipman will lead Dave Gobis of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), Chris Daffer of Beretta Tile and Jim Walker of International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) in a discussion entitled, "Installation as Competitive Advantage: Why the Installer Should be the Retailer's Best Friend."

National Floor Trends Publisher Jeff Golden will moderate a discussion on "Winning Ways to Keep Your Store Profitable in Tough Economic Times" with Design Flooring Distributors' Wayne Cotton, CMH Floor Products' Hoy Lanning and Wheeler Inc.'s Scott Wheeler.

Slated speakers for the Vision program include writer Frank Pacetta, U.S. Air Force fighter pilots Jim Murphy and Bob Branyon, writer Steve Lundin, former NBA player Bill Walton, and design experts including Larry Laslo, Mario Buatta and Leatrice Eiseman.

The education series will also place an increased emphasis on stone education with sessions on fabrication issues, fabrication shop design and stone trends for the coming year. The Vision series will also provide continuing education units (CEUs) for members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the design groups within the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC).

As it returns to its traditional stomping ground, the American ceramic tile exhibition has successfully adapted to a flurry of changing technologies, trends and tastes in the world of tile and stone. Flexible and fluid, Coverings 2002 promises to be more relevant and stronger than ever.