Shaw has opened a showroom in London that will serve as a design studio and sales office for contract and hospitality products of its International Division. Customer demand for the showroom led to the move, according to John Davis, the company's director of international sales.

Opened in March, the showroom hosted an opening party attended by more than 150 people. "Not only was the initial response outstanding, but follow-up use of the design studio has been phenomenal," said James Allen, Shaw International regional manager for Europe. "End-users have been here on a regular basis to see the extensive assortment of products, get design advice, and evaluate their needs based on the information they obtain."

"Our customers -- principally architects, designers, and general contractors -- had been asking us for several years to establish some sort of showroom that they could use to view all of our contract products," Davis explained. Davis credited Shaw President Julian Saul for supporting the project after meeting with customers in the area and listening to their needs. "Julian's support was key," Davis added.

The London showroom also allows the company to promote Shaw's environmental initiatives more effectively. "Our environmental story, which is enhanced with products such as EcoWorx and EcoSolution Q nylon, is easier to explain and promote in the professional environment of a design studio," Dais said. "Environmental responsibility continues to be of major importance, especially in the A&D community."

The showroom features a full line of commercial carpet styles, including products for corporate, institutional and hospitality applications. The facility also keeps samples of full-size carpet tiles, which represent the most sought-after product group in the U.K.

"We're able to showcase everything in one place for the convenience of our customers," Davis said. "Our business in the United Kingdom has grown significantly in recent years, and this new showroom and design studio will help us continue to move forward."

Approximately one-third of Shaw International's contract business is in the United Kingdom. Shaw International also maintains sales offices and showrooms in Singapore, Hong Kong and Miami. The staff in the London location currently includes a contract specialist and studio manager, and the staff is expected to expand further as business grows.