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Las Vegas, Show Recap

Surfaces Recap: Rug and Broadloom Vendors Offer Solutions to Flooring Retailers

Rug and broadloom vendors, many of which rolled out plenty of innovative options and new displays designed to fit into a smaller footprint, report strong traffic at the annual Surfaces event. And Nourison took a novel approach, showcasing its offering at World Market Center.

RugNews.com Editors
montage of Surfaces attendees browsing rug and carpet booths
Buyers shop the latest carpet and broadloom options at Surfaces.

LAS VEGAS -- Although flooring retailers have for years lived by the credo, “to sell rugs, you have to show rugs,” the reality is that it is difficult for most of them to justify the cost and space requirements to be in the rug business. Indeed, at this year’s Surfaces show, held in Las Vegas, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, solutions to that persistent dilemma were evident in rug displays being sold on the busy convention floor.

What’s more, the growing popularity of cut and sew rugs and innovations on that front, including easy-to-navigate retail displays, quicker turnaround times and a slew of innovative products, have been a boon to flooring stores. In addition, the move to retrofit carpet and broadloom displays to minimize showroom footprint – and help store owners get or remain in the rug game – was based on actual feedback from dealers like Sam O’Krent, president/owner of O’Krent Floors in San Antonio. At the show he told RugNews.com, “We no longer are going to do in-stock rugs. The business is just not there.” But that’s not to say O’Krent doesn’t—or won’t—sell rugs. O’Krent Floors maintains a strong custom rug business; meanwhile, its website advertises 100,000 rugs, all available online.

Given this scenario, rug suppliers introduced rug displays as small as 2x4 at Surfaces, along with a vast selection of broadloom designs and qualities suitable for custom rug fabrications for both indoor and outdoor applications.

In addition, Nourison tried something different this year, opting to provide free transport for Surfaces attendees to visit its new temporary broadloom showroom in the same building as its main World Market Center location. In fact, because there was an overlap in dates for Las Vegas Market and Surfaces, there were free shuttles offered to attendees from the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to World Market Center. And that had a positive impact on World Market Center exhibitors as well (read more).

Couristan showcased is couroustans Universal Boutique display unit range. Shown on the ground, the new Plantation
Key indoor-outdoor zebra print.

"The 2023 Surfaces show proved to be a successful show for Couristan, which introduced over 70 new products receiving an overwhelming reaction to the design and depth of color," Bob Tucci, Couristan, EVP, residential broadloom, told RugNews.com. "While the industry continues to maintain gray and beige tones, Couristan set the stage with an abundance of fresh color and design. The excitement of our products created quite a buzz increasing the volume of accounts visiting our booth."

At Couristan's sprawling booth, it touted its two-tier outdoor/indoor display unit, which features samples of its Creations indoor-outdoor products. Space efficient and cost effective, the company said the displays provide a streamlined solution for virtually every showroom or design center. For retailers that have the space, Courastan showcased its 90" wide Universal Boutique display unit, which allows retailers to select the samples from the company's Couristan Premiere, Creations or Purity products.

Couristan's Charles Romano, far right, walks Pamela and Jordan Frank of Normandy Carpets, based in Quebec,
through new Villa D'Este all wool designs.

Kaleen’s presence at Surfaces has morphed in recent years—from a 10 by 10 booth with two racks seven years ago to a 40- x 50--foot space this year. The investment has paid off, according to Blake Dennard, senior vice president. “This show has definitely exceeded our expectations — we’ve been rocking and rolling at our booth. It’s great to come to a market where we’re not just sitting around looking at each other and actually have been busy with customers.”

Kaleen's booth at Surfaces showcases its growing rug and broadloom options, including the new indoor-outdoor Home
& Porch lineup.

Kaleen's gives the Landry & Arcari team -- Ken Gurley (center left) Donna Daly (center right) and Heather Harhay -- a
walkthrough of new carpet options.

Kaleen expanded its carpet and broadloom offering with its new Home & Porch lineup of in-out carpets. On the ground,
Hilton Head

Kaleen showed new introductions in all four divisions, including its Luxe-branded hand-knotted rugs. Dennard said what sets Kaleen apart is its ability to deliver a quick turnaround. “We’re publicizing 150 days or less, that’s light speed coming from India, and we’ve been consistently way under 150 days,” he said. “We’re getting huge reception from our high-end dealers; it’s been phenomenal.”

Dennard scheduled between 150 and 200 appointments over three days at Surfaces. “For our segment it’s a real good number,” he said. “What’s helped us is the Las Vegas Market overlapped with Surfaces. When the two shows overlap—or butt up against each other—our business goes up as much as 25 percent.”

Blake Dennard takes a break from a rocking show in front of a display of the company's PureLife lineup of all natural rugs.

The Stanton Rug Company, a recently launched brand of Stanton Carpet, received more than 200 commitments from dealers for its rotating display that holds 104 samples of stocked rugs. “Retailers see this as an additional sale—not something that conflicts with our custom rug program,” said Adam Feldberg, senior director of product and innovation for Stanton.

Added Christine Zampaglione, senior director of marketing, “The margin potential for dealers is incredible—this is not an e-commerce rug.”
Dealers seemed to agree. “I really liked the Stanton Quick-Ship area rug display,” said Raffi Sarmazian, president of Sarmazian Brothers Flooring, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. “It will make it easy for our staff to sell pre-made rugs in a curated selection of proven sellers in their broadloom collections.”

Stanton’s Christine Zampaglione (left) and Adam Feldberg aside the company’s rotating rug display, which was a hit
at Surfaces.

From companies with a long track record in rugs, like Stanton, to those new to the game like CALI, the three-day show featured plenty of new merchandising wrinkles.

CALI’s Bob Fish (right) talks to a retailer about the company’s indoor rug display measuring 2x4.

As recently as two years ago, CALI was not in the soft surface segment. But things changed when parent company, Victoria plc, purchased Balta Group, a large Belgian producer of mechanically woven rugs. “When your parent buys a rug company of that size you figure a way to be in the rug business,” said Bob Fish, VP/GM for CALI. “Our feeling is ‘let’s get our partners in the rug business and let’s do it together and make some money.’”

CALI’s unit for indoor and outdoor rugs (tufted and woven) measured a mere 2x4, a size that can accommodate any flooring showroom. “Flooring retailers love the convenience of being in the rug business without having to stock rugs,” Fish said. “The question is: ‘How do you capture the consumer without inventorying rugs?’

Because we know eventually the consumer will buy a rug.’” Fish said roughly 75 percent of CALI’s retail customers have already committed to the rug displays.

CALI’s unit for indoor and outdoor rugs (tufted and woven) measures a mere 2x4.

The dominance of hard surface has prompted other mills to promote their custom rug programs. Tarkett’s Make the Cut Custom Rug Program allows dealers to select products from its Cloud 9 collection of solution dyed polyester yarn.

The Dixie Group, which has three divisions (Fabrica, Masland and DH Floors) can fabricate all of its products at its facility in Adairsville, Georgia. “[Fabricating] is becoming a bigger part of our business,” said Jared Coffin, vice president, product management. “While that’s not new, what is new is that we can give the customer any size they want, from the standard 8x10 to 9x13.”


Nourison hosted Surfaces attendees at a temporary space in Building C, where its main World Market Center showroom
is located.

Nourison, a long-time participant at Surfaces opted to try something different in 2023 since the flooring show overlapped with Las Vegas Market. The company took a second temporary showroom on the third floor of Building C, which is also home to Nourison's permanent space in the lobby. "We chose not to show at the Mandalay Bay Surfaces show this year. Instead we rented a space on the 3rd floor of Building C at World Market Center," says Giovanni Marra, director of marketing and digital strategy. "We displayed all our new broadloom introductions and special buys in this new space.

"We were originally concerned that we may not be able to pull customers from Mandalay Bay but we were pleased with the amount of traffic we received. We saw many of our broadloom customers and had new walk-ins as well. Overall it was a good investment and was much more cost-effective than showing at Surfaces."

A dedicated showroom enabled Nourison to showcase its broadloom designs in full-size rug options on the walls.

Marra said that the many of the company's hand-loomed collections -- Textureweave, Tullamore and Roxbury Stripe -- were top sellers. And the company's new indoor/outdoor flatwoven Seasons collection also received plenty of attention.

Nourison provided plenty of space for its roll specials and promotionally priced area rugs.

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