The positive attitude and new products unveiled at Surfaces 2010 were truly impressive. That negative vibe and feeling of uncertainty from the past few years is behind the industry now. There is optimism of better days ahead. The wish is for more retail sales to return sooner rather than later.

Installation product and flooring manufacturers have been busy designing new, innovative products for you to sell in your stores as business rebounds. The new products have more value and features and offer consumers greater brand name recognition while addressing the ever-increasing demand for green products.

Here are a few products that are sure to be hot sellers: Mannington’s Earthly Elements hardwood tiles in 12” by 12” and 12” by 24” sizes allows custom designs; Anderson Hardwood’s Tropical Reflections offers a unique exotic look and was named the Best New Product winner at the show; Armstrong Hardwood’s Century Estate Walnut  is a wood product using 6” wide plank with mixed media inserts of stone in a classic pattern; Bliss by Beaulieu’s exclusive Stainmaster with Magic Fresh Collection of broadloom carpet; and Flextherm’s FlexSnap radiant floor warming system.

Green carpet products were given higher visibility as Wool Partners International, the parent company of Wools of New Zealand, and the British Wool Marketing Board presented the green story of wool fiber to attendees, along with the Wool Project, a major promotional campaign launched by HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) a week prior to Surfaces. The Wool Project brings the attributes of wool to textile buyers, retailers and consumers for both fashion and interiors.

The UK, Australian, New Zealand and international wool organizations have joined together to back The Wool Project and to promote wool globally. “Wool clearly needs to be better understood, regardless of its brand or origin, and wool prices have suffered globally not just in one area,” explained Ian Hartley, British Wool Marketing Board’s ceo. “This is an excellent opportunity for wool and we are delighted about it.”

Also new to Surfaces were the free On-Floor educational seminars. They included great content and allowed attendees to get the latest updates on topics they need to grow their businesses. The Business and Technology stage was sponsored by NFT. Sister magazines Floor Covering Installer and TILE Magazine sponsored the Installation Stage. I hope these types of events will continue when the show moves to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center next year.