There’s a saying in journalism: If it happens three times, it’s a trend. It means that if an event happens once, it’s considered an accident; if it happens twice, it’s merely coincidence. If it happens three times, however, then suddenly you have a trend on your hands, so you’d better uncap that pen and furiously start taking notes.

It’s an unscientific approach at best – why would something happening three times qualify a trend? It’s an arbitrary number, but occasionally, an event occurring three times really isa trend at its earliest stages of formation. I feel this is the case with the flooring industry right now. At Surfaces, attendance and enthusiasm were up. At NWFA, attendance and enthusiasm were up. And while final numbers weren’t available at press time, all indications point to Coverings boosting its attendance this year as well. In any case, enthusiasm was definitely high among exhibitors and attendees.

Every trend needs a name so its key components can be identified. So what do we call this trend? How about something everyone in the industry is thinking? How about: Let’s Get Back to Work.

The time of wringing our hands and wondering if the economy is ever going to recover should be over. The time of holding back on making improvements to our business should also be past. Seriously, if you’re still sitting on your hands instead of taking whatever steps you need to make your business healthy again, you’re missing out. Take advantage of the low interest rates and the reduced pool of competitors, and invest.Make bold moves. You can afford them now. Do you know when you can’t afford them? When the next recession hits.

At Coverings, I saw manufacturers expanding into new segments, launching new technologies and engaging in rebranding campaigns. In other words, I saw a trade show acting like a trade show for the third time this year, instead of the past few years where it seemed each event was less about new developments in the industry and more an excuse to hold a wake and memorial service for the pre-recession days.

If I’ve learned anything at this year’s crop of trade shows in the past few months, it’s that it’s time to stop holding back. Look forward, and celebrate every hard-won victory that gets you on the path to profitability. Go on. Get back out there.


Michael Chmielecki has been writing about the floor covering industry for BNP Media since 2002. As editor of FCI, he is always seeking ways to better connect and inform the installation community.