Now that the show season is starting to slow down, we can take some time to reflect on the first half of the year and speculate on what we will see in the near future. 2011 has shown some signs of improvement with a positive gain in new housing starts for May and a small drop in unemployment claims, however a magical year of economic turnaround, this is not. The flooring market continues to take hits, especially felt in the ceramic tile segment. As we see more and more companies closing their doors we also see the emergence of others with smart technology, proactive marketing strategies and domestic manufacturing gaining ground.

Building on top of a very successful 2010, we at Florida Tile have seen incremental growth in all of our business units and continue to be optimistic in our planning. Both our product line and our sales force have been fine tuned with new resources and technology that will keep us competitive.

Continuing our feverish pace of product development; we have 5 product launches scheduled for this year. From a delicate Crema-Marfil floor/wall combination (Pristine) to a highly technical through body concrete look (Stellar HDP), we continue to target the mid to high-end range of the market. Committed, as ever to providing our customers with a wide variety of domestic products, we are well positioned and respected as being a single source for floor and wall covering from ceramic and porcelain to natural stone and glass.

To accomplish this we are always pushing the envelope on design. Two of our newest lines show that we continue to lead the industry with innovation. Grandeur HDP was launched in May and combines our High Definition Porcelain glazing process, with a polished finish. With this technology we can create a less porous polished finish that is more resistant to staining and improved cleanability. Our Berkshire HDP series is also innovative in our ability to combine both the High Definition Porcelain process and strong surface variation to create a stunning representation of a hand scraped wood plank. Using both shading in the graphic as well as vertical saw marks and horizontal scraping texture in the punch, we are able to create a very dramatic finish.

Innovations such as these will continue to show our ability, but without our dedicated network of dealers and distributors to get these products into the hands of the consumer, all would be lost. We recognize the contribution and insight that they can provide to the process and make it a point to attend to their wants and needs. The outcome is a new display program that will launch this July and provide those partners with the very tools and support that many of them have requested.

As these new products and programs continue to roll into showrooms this Summer and Fall we are expecting 2011 to be another year of growth for Florida Tile.  


Michael Franceschelli