What a difference a year makes along with a rise in consumer sentiment.

Surfaces exhibitors and attendees expressed optimism about business and the industry in the coming months of 2011 and beyond.

The Mandalay Bay Convention Center was a definite improvement for the show. Both show floor levels had high ceilings creating an open feeling. The low ceilings of the downstairs level are gone along with poor lighting and a cramped feeling.

Surfaces always brings excitement to the industry and this year was no exception as the event was co-located with StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas. Attendees had an opportunity to see the latest floor covering, natural stone products and educational events together.

Here are some of the products that will be in high demand by your customers: Bliss by Beaulieu’s HealthyTouch carpet collection made of polyester filament fiber; Mullican Flooring’s Meridian Pointe hardwood collection with the Aqua Shield moisture protection system featuring a mat to block moisture from below and a grooved construction to keep the floor flat and stable; Johnsonite Folio, a floral-design rubber tile; MAPEI’s Opticolor epoxy grout; and Quick-Step décorwood, a hardwood look fused to a hdf substrate.

Healthier Choice’s Flexitions, a stainable flexible transition molding line, was named the Best New Product at the show. For more Surfaces show highlights and photos, see our story beginning on page 10.

In memoriam: Albert Wahnon

Condolences go out to the family of Albert Wahnon, founder and co-owner ofFloor Covering News.Al passed away Feb. 1 in Plainview, N.Y. following a massive heart attack. He was 90 years old.

Born on Feb. 7, 1920, Wahnon led a distinguished career in the military and floor covering industry. Following service as a WWII paratrooper, he was editor and then publisher ofFloor Covering Weeklyfrom 1955 to 1986.

In 1986, he foundedFloor Covering Newswith business partner Michael Blick (vice president and publisher) and remained active in the business until his death as president, editor and publisher.

“Al was my partner for 21 1/2 years and I will sorely miss him,” said Blick. “He was my friend and much more than a partner. We consulted on everything and as a team came to the right decisions for us and our business to grow.”  

“Al constantly gave back to the flooring industry,” added D. Christopher Davis, WFCA president & ceo, “always extolling everyone in the business to a higher standard, serving as a mentor and demonstrating his love for the industry and its people by his staunch support, service and enthusiasm for the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF), from its very beginning in 1980. I’ve never met anyone as passionate about helping people in the industry as Al and I feel honored to have been a recipient of his generosity of spirit, wisdom and experience.”

In his 55 years of reporting, Al saw the floor covering industry grow and mature. He educated the entire floor covering industry – from retailers, contractors, installers, inspectors, cleaners, distributors, manufacturers and sales agents – with his prose and eye on the industry.

Coverings show in Las Vegas

Coverings (The Ultimate Tile + Stone Experience) is just around the corner with the show coming west to Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, March 14-17. Stop by the BNP Media/National Floor Trendsbooth (L9) to sign up for a free subscription and receive a collectibleNFTt-shirt. CurrentNFTsubscribers can also receive a t-shirt by exchanging a business card. (Quantities are limited.)