Surfaces 2005 is already breaking records, according to show organizers Hanley Wood. This year's show, in its 16th incarnation, will feature more than 1,000 exhibitors from all areas of the floor covering industry. Previously the largest number of exhibitors was 950.

In addition to an expanded roster of exhibitors, Surfaces 2005 will also provide a comprehensive menu of educational programs. The program sponsored by Mannington Mills will feature new courses, to help attendees hone their skills and get a leg up on their competition. The program is split up into six tracks - Marketing, Business, Sales, Design, Installation and, new for this year, Window Coverings. A wide array of experts in the industry will be presenting, including staff members from National Floor Trends, Floor Covering Installer and TILE Magazine.

These courses include"Live By Price, Die By Price; Live By Fashion, Thrive By Fashion," presented by NFT Senior Editor Howard Olansky, along with Dan Hussey, president of B&L Flooring America and Sam O'Krent, president of O'Krent's Abbey Flooring Center; "Tileology," and "Euro-Influence on Fusion Design," presented by Patti Fasan, who writes for TILE Magazine; and "Tips in Avoiding Floor Installation Failures/Problems," presented by John Moore, editor of FCI and TILE, along with Christopher Capobianco, NFT and FCI columnist, Jon Namba, FCI columnist, and Tim Cole, Forbo Linoleum director of support services.

The Conference Program has been running since Surfaces 2001. "We looked at the needs of the industry and realized that floor covering professionals wanted and needed education," said Michelle Troop, senior show director for Surfaces. "Since we are trade show people and not experts in floor covering, we created an advisory committee of retailers, installers, designers and others to ensure that topics were the most important and timely."

The Window Coverings track was added because, as Troop says, "it coincides with retailers' demand for knowledge on how to expand the product offerings in their stores. Retailers are looking for new profit centers, and window coverings are providing a way to satisfy both retailers and their customers."

Through the window covering courses offered in the Conference Program, retailers can learn how to maximize profits through in-store presentations, as well as gain tips on working with manufacturers, installers and consumers, Troop says.

Attendee reaction to the Conference Program has remained consistent, according to Troop. "Most comment about how important it is to stay informed, and that Surfaces provides them a forum to get the most up-to-date information," she says.

Most of the seminars held at Surfaces offer continuing education credits, including units for AIA, ASID, and the WFCA certification program.