Beginning with this month’s National Floor Trends issue, we are changing the way we present industry news. All news stories, whether it is about mergers, acquisitions, personnel changes, distributor appointments or other items, will be posted on our website: www.ntlfloortrends.com.

The National Floor Trends website is a complete source of industry information including current and back issues; NFT L!VE digital editions with additional content (audio, video and more) over and above the print editions; hotlinks to manufacturers; a fully searchable search engine to find information about customer requested products, manufacturers and more; and our fully searchable Annual Trade Directory & Buying Guide.

Why did we make this change? To take advantage of our recent acquisition of the TalkFloor daily eNewsletter and accompanying website: www.talkfloor.com. The combination of National Floor Trends, the industry’s largest-circulated, best-read and only monthly flooring publication featuring a distinctive upscale editorial of style, flair and fashion, along with the TalkFloor eNewsletter provides the entire floor covering industry the news it needs to thrive and survive in these economic times.

TalkFloor is much more than just an enewsletter. It includes video by Dave Foster along with his audio interviews from FloorRadio. Dave will be covering all important industry topics from locations throughout the world. He will also be blogging on our website.

“My primary focus with be on interviews with retailers throughout the country, both in-store and at a variety of events,” Dave says. Dave will also work closely with distributors, manufacturers, designers and architects to present a complete industry overview, based upon his 33 years of experience and knowledge of the flooring industry.

We have also tapped our associate editor, Michael Chmielecki, to take the reigns of the daily eNewsletter. Feel free to send him your news, questions and comments at chmieleckim@bnpmedia.com.

We will still include what we believe to be the most newsworthy stories within our print edition in a feature format, to go along with our respected and industry-leading group of columnists: Sam Allman, Art of Retail Management; Rick Brian, Savvy Hardwood Business; Annette Callari, Designs in Style; Dave Gobis, Tile & Stone; Dave Stafford, Commercial Possibilities; and Ray Thompson, Jr., Focus on Resilient.

New NAHB Index Reveals Improving Metropolitan Areas
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently released its first NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), a new economic index revealing metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in three key economic areas: housing permits, employment and housing prices.

The list of metropolitan areas includes: Alexandria, Houma and New Orleans, La.; Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska; Bangor, Maine; Bismarck, N.D.; Casper, Wyo.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Midland and Waco, Texas; and Pittsburgh.

“Despite the challenging conditions in the national economy and housing sector, there are areas throughout the country where we are seeing pockets of improvement,” said NAHB chairman and Reno, Nev. home builder Bob Nielsen.

“By examining key indicators of home prices, employment and housing permits data, we are using a comprehensive, but conservative method in determining which markets are improving,” added NAHB chief economist David Crowe.

The IMI index measures employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau to get a mark on the top improving metropolitan statistical areas. A metro area must see improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.