The entrance to the exhibit hall at the Flooring America Convention.

In the first major gathering of its membership since the buying group was acquired by Carpet Co-op of America and merged with its Amercia's Carpet Gallery subsidiary, hundreds of Flooring America retailer affiliates convened in Dallas last month to be brought up to speed on the various products and programs now available to them under the new organizational structure.

In all, 670 member attendees turned out for the "Revolution 2001" convention at the Dallas Wyndham Anatole Hotel to hear President Evan Hackel and COO Sands Woody lead exhaustive presentations on resources now available to them through the revamped buying group, and to peruse the product exhibits of 90 Flooring America suppliers.

The reviews of participating retailers, who had endured a period of anxious uncertainty while the previous owners of Flooring America went through bankruptcy proceedings, were overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

The convention also featured a full slate of educational seminars and the unveiling of product programs -- including the exclusive, private-labeled Downs Decade, Lydian, Bedford Mills Home Collection, Heatherfield, Patterns Unlimited, and HomeStyles carpet lines -- now available to Flooring America members. Also addressed were a slew of merchandising and co-op advertising initiatives.

The 350-member strong Flooring America group operates more than 460 retail locations in 48 states. The group also includes America's Carpet Gallery and Carpet Max franchisees.