The very first interview we did on the opening day of the show was in the Beaulieu stand with Ralph Boe, the president and CEO, and Gary Fisher, the new exec. VP marketing. If you haven’t seen their new “Indulgence” soft carpet collection line, made with the company’s PermaSoft solution-dyed nylon fiber, Magic Fresh odor-reducing treatment and 3M Scotchgard Protector, this will be the best pitch you’ll ever get because it is delivered by Ralph Boe himself.
He explains the rationale behind the development of this new product and he also demos its newly designed space-saving display. Gary Fisher, a real branding pro who has worked with companies including Capital One, Nabisco and L’Oreal, also offers some insight into what he has up his sleeve in dealing with the company’s brands and his branding strategy going forward.
Mohawk held its Western Regional at Surfaces and we had an opportunity to talk with Kent Clauson, VP brand management at Mohawk, about not only the regional markets, but the company’s emphasis on SmartStrand, SmartStrand Silk and the reaction the products have received to date. Clauson also expands on the company’s unique promotion at this year’s show, which involved an opportunity for customers to have their pictures taken with a number of celebrity look-alikes including Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Julia Roberts.
Another most interesting conversation we had was with Kim Holm, president of the residential business at Mannington. We talked a great deal about the show and were able to get a feel for some of the factors behind this year’s traffic and positive mood. Holm also shares his thoughts about the company’s product philosophy, the products introduced this season and his expectations for growth in 2013.
Although we didn’t have the opportunity to talk with as many retailers at this year’s show as we would have like to, we didhave a chance to sit down with Vinnie Virga, one of the newest Big Bob’s franchisees with locations in Auburn, Whitman and Seekonk, Mass., and with more stores to come. Vinnie talked about his opening three stores in 13 months, his decision to go with Big Bob’s in the first place and his plans for more locations as well as the hard and soft surfaces products he offers, and the type of customers his stores attract.
There are also several conversations with speakers involved in the Surfaces seminar program, but I’ll mention just one: Lew Migliore, president, LGM & Associates Technical Flooring Services, and Larry Cooper of Textile Consultants put together a two-day event called the Floor Covering Symposium which was outstanding. They had a host of industry who’s whos discussing a variety of industry issues.
The speakers included: Keith Campbell, CEO, Mannington; Ralph Boe, Beaulieu of America; Doug Giles, marketing director, Universal Textile Technologies; Bob Peoples, exec. director, CARE; Howard Brodsky, co-CEO, CCA Global Partners; Jim Gould, president, Floor Covering Institute, and others. It was a quick way to get a well-rounded education on the floor covering industry in a short amount of time. I understand they’re planning another Symposium for next year and I for one will be there. All of this and lots more conversations from Surfaces are on the TalkFloor.com website. Check them out.