It’s official: The residential floor coverings
market is in a bit of slump. There is no denying that. But there is also no
denying that flooring retailers who understand how to pick up contract work are
the ones who best navigate this rocky terrain. Last month, NFT debuted a new
column, “Commercial Possibilities,” that addresses this issue. This month, we
build on that premise and encourage you to combine two key elements that are
(hopefully) fundamental to your business: what you know and who you know.
of you reading this may very well have passed me as I scurried about the aisles
at Surfaces earlier this year. With my appointment book in one hand, my
notebook in the other and sensible (yet stylish) shoes on my feet, I spent
three days with my eyes wide open. If you were not there, shame on you. This
show is huge for anyone in the flooring industry. It is where floor covering
manufacturers debut their hot new products. Remember, these products are the
result of months (and sometimes years) of work involving R & D folks,
designers, artists and, increasingly, environmental engineers. While the
official attendance figures were slightly off from the previous year, the swirl
of showgoers clogging the aisles made it clear that Surfaces is still the
premier showcase for our industry.
anyone involved in the flooring adhesives and setting materials category to
identify their biggest priority these days and the answer almost always
involves “easy,” as in easy to use and easy on the environment. Manufacturers
say the demand for user-friendly and environmentally safe adhesives and setting
materials has come to define a product segment that continues to evolve. The
evidence is readily apparent in an emerging generation of lightweight mortars
as well as products that help with LEED certification. “Simpler” and “safer”
have become the watchwords for adhesives and setting materials.
For over a decade as a Merchandising Specialist,
I had the privilege of working with retailers one-on-one to help them
strategize their advertising, create an attractive store environment, and
merchandise products effectively.
Color is an ever-changing testimony to the state of our lives, our economy, our society, our world. Translate that to a universal standard and it can be said that during times of uncertainty and global discord, Americans tend to seek "comfort colors" in their personal environment. Natural materials see an uptick in popularity during stressful times as well. People gravitate toward soothing elements in their home interiors.
The housing market has been sizzling hot for much of the last decade, and some interesting residential design developments have just recently begun to reveal themselves. The design pendulum historically swings quickly when a new trend takes hold as everyone rushes to be part of it.