Attendees walk the halls during Surfaces 2008.

NOTE: For a look at some of the sights during Surfaces 2008, please see the slideshow on our sister website,

Though the official numbers aren't out yet, exhibitors at Surfaces believe that attendance will be down from last year's show. Such a situation is to be expected during a soft housing market, they note. They hastened to add that attendees at the show were there to do one thing this year. Buy.

Jim Boyles, divisional sales manager for Alloc and Berry Floor said that overall the show was a success, with a distinct lack of tire-kickers. "The attendance is down, but the show has been great for us," he said. "We're getting a lot of 'A' customers and not a lot of the 'B's and 'C's, which is great because they can take up a lot of time."

Phil Reifinger, vp national sales for Ark Floors, said his expectations for the show were not only met, but exceeded. "It has been absolute bedlam [at our exhibit] for the last couple of days," he said. "I never could have imagined how busy it would be."

Christine Whittemore, director of in-store innovation for Solutia's Wear-Dated carpet fiber division, put it succinctly. "Based on attendance and the market right now, it's going to be a tough year. But it's also going to be a great year."