By now it’s clear that technology can be a tough sell in the flooring business. The resistance may be causing some headaches, but it also says something very positive about our industry. This is a business that thrives on human interaction at all levels. People would much rather sit down with someone knowledgeable and discuss their options over coffee than navigate through countless room scenes on a computer. Similarly, retailers and distributors, most in this business for many years, say their phone still works just fine for ordering and kibitzing. They still prefer a handshake to an instant message. This mentality is not lost on me. I am a print guy working in an increasingly digital world. Like many of you, I view technology with equal measures of enthusiasm and angst.

But, like you I also understand that you can’t move forward if you are standing still. National Floor Trends has constantly strived to be the top publication in the flooring industry. That has not changed. What is evolving is the manner in which we communicate, and the frequency. We are working more closely with two of our sister magazines-Floor Covering Installer and TILE Magazine-to help increase the scope of our coverage. In addition, late last year we started sending electronic newsletters to subscribers who request them. The e-Newsletters contain industry updates as well as links to stories that may be of interest to those in the flooring business. Our website has long been one of the top sites for news and information about flooring. Now we are taking another step forward. 

In late April, we launched what may be the most important piece of the puzzle: The new website links to a number of related sites including National Floor Trends as well as FCI and TILE. The mission is summed up in our tagline: “Daily News That Hits the Floor.” The idea is to give people in all areas of flooring a clear destination. We are committed to being the primary source for all types of industry news. If something significant has happened in our business we want people in our industry to reflexively go to for the details. We are committed to updating it everyday with breaking news and other pertinent information. Since the recent launch we are getting some very positive feedback. We want to hear you reaction and suggestions, so don’t be shy.

When you visit the site you’ll have a number of options including Today’s News, a Daily Flooring Fact, Today’s Flooring Tip, Dealer Topics, a Style & Design section, Installation Techniques, new info on interesting new products and much more. Most important, we are committed to finding and publishing news that affects your business. We know that this is not simply a matter of posting a company’s news release verbatim-we’ll leave that type of laziness to others. We also have no desire to reach beyond the core audience we have served for decades. We are not about to pretend we are a legitimate resource for consumers because we offer a listing of retailers who pay us a fee. This is not an ancillary business for us; this is an important extension of our core business.

As someone who spent a good part of his career pounding out stories on a typewriter (manual, no less!), I can empathize with those who are reluctant to embrace technology. If old school methods work for your business, that’s fine, but now there is no excuse for not having the most up-to-date, relevant information on your industry. Who knows, maybe we can help you ease into a more tech-oriented world. As the Chinese proverb says: A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Or in this case a single click.   

Welcome Dave Stafford:  I also want to offer a warm welcome to our newest columnist. Dave Stafford. His column, Commercial Possibilities, will appear   periodically in NFT and is designed to help dealers expand their horizons beyond residential sales. Dave’s first column discusses ways to broaden the scope of your business as a means of offsetting a slowdown in residential remodeling work. We believe Dave’s insights will prove invaluable to retailers and contractors interested in moving beyond their residential core. We are very proud to welcome him to our editorial team.