Tile stays hot, Coverings 2006 sets record
June 1, 2006
A sharp increase in the number of distributors and contractors in attendance helped Coverings 2006 set an all-time attendance record of 33,649 for the four-day event. Attendees said the increased attendance figures reflected an industry that continues to gain momentum as the result of innovative designs and greater emphasis on top quality installations. Show goers agreed that the quickening pace of the industry was in evidence on the busy show floor as well as the slate of educational seminars and live installation demos presented by the Tile Council of North America (TCA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). To meet the demand for installation education the stage this year was expanded and more audience seating added.
"The stage was incredibly busy throughout the duration of the show," said Bart Bettiga, executive director of the NTCA whose organization also sponsored a $10,000 Tool Giveaway to help draw interest.
Companies exhibiting on the show floor generally agreed that the tile business remains in a growth mode. "The show was very good for us," commented Buck Burwell, CEO of Florida Tile Inc., a company that has changed ownership and introduced 18 new product lines since the start of 2005. "There was lots of traffic, and lots of interest in the acquisition of Florida Tile by Panariagroup," Burwell added
Representatives from Crossville, Inc. were equally upbeat as they pitched two new series, NOW and Journey, at the show. The company's vice president of sales, Mark Shannon could tell the new entries were a hit. "We even had a number of competitors admiring our products. Traffic was also very good, given that most of our distributors have been in place for a long time."
Coverings 2006 was also significant for StonePeak Ceramics, Inc., which was launched at last year's show. This year, the company introduced two series, its Stone collection and the Terrain series, and said both were well received. "We had a highly successful [show]," said Roberto Franceschin, vice president of sales and distribution for StonePeak. "Many of our current customers stopped by to see our new product lines and many other potential customers paid a visit to learn more about our company and the technology behind our products." He added that the company plans additional product lines later this year and will be opening a showroom in Chicago. "We looked to Coverings 2006 as a celebration of all our accomplishments and milestones."
As the show closed, 155 pallets of tile, stone and installation materials were gathered from exhibitors and shipped to housing projects in the Orlando area for families in need of shelter as part of the Tile Partners for Humanity project.