This month in you’ll find a pretty wide variety of guests and subjects. One in particular you may want to check out looks at some of the acquisitions that have taken place in the industry over the several months. Keith Hughes, director in equity research at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, looks at the current environment for acquisitions in general and gives his thoughts on those yet to come, including potential combinations of hard and soft surface companies, more international acquisitions, and the possibility for increased M&A due to slim economic times.

At the top of the list of industry buyouts discussed were the purchases of both Marazzi and Pergo by Mohawk. Hughes breaks down the implication each of these acquisitions will likely have on Mohawk’s business, both in the U.S. and globally.  He discusses the Marazzi acquisition – a $1.5 billion purchase in a combination of cash and equity – and looks specifically at Marazzi’s leadership position in technology and in the U.S., Russian and European markets, a combination that further cements Mohawk’s position in the ceramic arena on a global basis.

Another interesting tidbit, according to Hughes, is that these moves shift Mohawk to about 40% carpet, 40% ceramic tile and about 20% wood, or about 60% hard surface and 40% soft.

In another part of the conversation Hughes evaluates Dominus Capital’s acquisition of Bentley Prince and Tarkett’s acquisition of Tandus. Fantastically insightful stuff.

We’ve also been intrigued by what appears to be an expansion in the adoption of industry specific software within the retail sector. We had a chance to explore that growth somewhat in a conversation last month with Adam Nonn, President of Nonn’s Design Showplace.

Nonn’s is a unique, three-location retail operation in Wisconsin. It has stores in Madison, Middleton and Waukesha. In addition to floor coverings and an extensive rug offering its product offerings include cabinetry and countertops. Nonn talks about the unique exercise he launched last year after feeling his current software provider needed to be replaced. He invited each of the industry’s software providers in, asking each for a full dog and pony show and then he made his decision.  If you contemplating such a changed you need to listen in; it’s a most interesting story and yes, it’s in the archives.

Here’s another conversation worth a listen. Kent Clauson, VP of Brand Management at Mohawk, talks about the strength of the company’s various brands and his mission to strategically positioning both the company’s residential and commercial brands in the marketplace. Clauson also talks about the brand building process the company is executing for both SmartStrand and SmartStrand Silk and the effect that ultra-soft is having on the overall Mohawk brand as well as new branding efforts via social media.

Late in January we invited Fred Reinhart the owner of Reinhart Carpet Outlet, an inner city Philadelphia operation to join is to talk about the biennial Shaw Aligned Dealer convention, which took place recently in Orlando. In the conversation Reinhart discusses the advantages his operation had gained from being aligned with Shaw, the various events taking place at the convention, the networking opportunities that he especially enjoyed and the new products that were rolled out.  Reinhart, a stocking retailer (he calls himself a dinosaur) also talks about the shift his sales people have made to become more effective in selling the new soft carpet.

There’s your monthly sampling. For the full-course meal, go to today!