Though there have been a number of bad storms and severe weather this year, barring anything major in the next few weeks, this winter will certainly not be as bad compared to what the majority of the country dealt with last year when areas were literally paralyzed of business for a month or more.
This year there actually has been business taking place, meaning 2015 is already off to a better start than 2014, which experienced a miserable first quarter.
Nonetheless, we all know the industry spends the first quarter of the year bouncing from trade shows to conventions to sales meetings as everyone from retailers to distributors to manufacturers are gearing up for when the year really starts: Spring.
Yes, spring, the time when the weather starts warming up, flowers start blooming and Mrs. Consumer looks at her home after a long winter and decides it needs to be freshened up. Or, Mr. and Mrs. Consumer decide it is time to find a new place to live.
The point being, spring has and continues to be the time when the flooring industry starts jumping. Yes, I understand there has been very little jumping since the economic meltdown. But, let’s be fair and admit the last two years have been good—2013 was one of the most robust years the industry had since 2007 and despite the bad start even 2014 ended up being a good year when compared to 2013.
And here’s the good news, 2015 is actually when many people are forecasting the “true” recovery to begin. For those with short memories, when the economy turned south and jobs were being shed by the boatload, economists and others said it will be take at least eight years before the country truly starts to feel a recovery because of how bad things had gotten.
So do the math, and you can see why executives from many of the industry’s largest manufacturers and buying groups are very optimistic about 2015 and the coming years.
It started as early as December when Brian Carson, president of Mohawk, told the company’s aligned dealers, “There’s a lot of good news for 2015.”
At the Shaw Flooring Network (SFN) conference, Vance Bell, CEO, told the more than 3,600 people in attendance, “2015 will not only be a good year but the start of a multi year expansion.”
At the CCA Global conventions, co-CEOs Howard Brodsky and Rik Bennet, each noted the “economy is getting stronger” and “we are more optimistic than we have been in…years.”
Then there is the great Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, who told the SFN audience, “Since 2009 the recovery has been steady…and the U.S. has done better than the rest of the world and will continue to do so.” While housing has lagged behind, he said it “will improve” because “most people still want to live in a home…Shopping habits may have changed over the last 60 years but a home is still the fabric of the family—and always will be.”
While you can easily say these are all just pep talks it’s hard to deny what is being said when these and other companies are investing in what amounts to billions of dollars of manufacturing, technology and infrastructure to ensure they are ready to meet the expected demands of a growing economy.
If these companies are getting prepared to meet the rush, shouldn’t you?