NFA members extol benefits of event’s format
Las Vegas—The beauty of the National Floorcovering Alliance’s (NFA) specialty vendor show is that the format works so well for both sides. For vendors, it is that rare opportunity to hobnob with 43 of the most influential flooring retailers in the industry over four hours. NFA dealers, meanwhile, can seek out new business or expand existing partnerships without having to worry about a competitor hovering over their shoulder.
This year, 34 vendors—including six new ones—took part in the meeting, which occurs the day before Surfaces. Some vendors said they were there to build relationships, while others were intent on expanding theirs. “The show is super-efficient for everybody,” said Jason McSwain, president of the NFA and owner of McSwain Carpets & Floors in Cincinnati. “Our show gives members plenty of time to have substantial conversations with vendors and get into the details and specs if necessary. Here you have plenty of time to have those conversations that you don’t get on the show floor at Surfaces.”
Sam Locher, vice president of business development for AJ Rose Carpets & Flooring, with three Massachusetts locations, agreed. “You can spend as much or as little time with a vendor as you need to. This is a great forum where you are exposed to a lot of new stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily get to see.”
Susan Hadinger, CEO of Hadinger Flooring of Naples, based in Florida, said she and her team try to support all of the NFA vendors, and for good reason. “There are a lot of vendors we’re drawn to here that we may want to place business with.”
Merkrete, a leader in high-quality tile setting materials, was among six new vendors. Asked what his goal was for the show, Mike Croes, vice president of sales, said: “We’re looking to evaluate what NFA can offer us. If we can expose our members to all of our brands (Sika, DriTac), then it’s a one-stop shop for them. With Merkrete we have tremendous capacity; we believe we’re setting the stage with the right folks, which hopefully leads to robust business.”
Entering 2022, carpet supplier Revolution Mills conducted business with roughly 22 NFA dealers in its quest to elevate to Tier 1 status. “We want to become a top vendor and they require you to do business with more than half of the members,” said Zach Kennedy, managing partner. “We’ve been growing our business rapidly and are looking to double sales again this year.”
Elsewhere at the NFA vendor show, Mullican got strong feedback on its Castillian engineered European white oak hardwood (9.44-inch width, 58-inch thickness and multiple colors). “The lighter colors are on trend,” said Neil Wenger, vice president of field sales. “Blonde tones, off-white neutrals—you can hear it in the feedback we are getting that it’s popular, but when you see it in the numbers it is more convincing.” Wenger said darker colors are still popular at entry-level price points. However, “anything middle to better end is light.”
Flooringlines, a California-based direct hardwood flooring distributor, was busy with retailers throughout the show. Flooringlines offers a growing family of brands, including the Christina Collection from Christina Haack of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop.”
Flooringlines said it recently began shipping to Oakland, Calif., due to heavy congestion at Los Angeles/Long Beach ports, which is contributing to the supply chain slowdown. “We do container direct with about 15% of the NFA currently,” said Michael Bejach, president. “They are definitely one of the groups that stock products, which is good for us.”
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