DOMOTEX USA celebrates successful first edition in Atlanta

After three days of state-of-the-art flooring displays from around the world and lively industry discussions on and off the show floor, the inaugural DOMOTEX USA launched from 28 February to 2 March. In total, 282 exhibitors from 25 countries showcased their latest products across 89,400 square feet of exhibition space in Atlanta to kick off the event. More than 57 per cent of the show’s exhibition space featured North American flooring suppliers and 43 per cent of the square footage was dedicated to international exhibitors.

“DOMOTEX USA highlighted the passion and innovation of the world’s floor covering manufacturers in an intimate and artfully curated space in the Georgia World Congress Center,” said Larry Turner, president and CEO of Hannover Fairs USA (HFUSA), the organiser of the event. “As an extension of DOMOTEX in Hannover, Germany, the world’s leading showcase for carpets and floor coverings, the flooring trends demonstrated, topics discussed, new partnerships made and business connections forged at DOMOTEX USA make this the most creative, international and inspirational event for the North American marketplace.”

DOMOTEX USA 2020 will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. from 5-7 February.

Pre-Show Plant Tour Offers Retailers Unique Experience
To unveil the first DOMOTEX USA event, HFUSA organised for registered attendees a unique tour of four Dalton, Georgia-area flooring facilities, including Shaw Industries’ resilient manufacturing facility, The Dixie Group headquarters & creative facility, Engineered Floors SAM plant and Beauflor USA’s sheet vinyl facility. The full-day tour took place on Wednesday, 27 February, the day prior to the opening of the inaugural show.

Attendees experienced from start to finish the manufacture of several products showcased at DOMOTEX USA, including Shaw’s COREtec brand of waterproof luxury vinyl tile flooring, Dixie Group’s new carpeting products across its Dixie Home, Fabrica and Masland lines, Engineered Floors carpet fibre production technologies and Beauflor’s crafted sheet vinyl and proprietary textile backing, Blacktex.

“To see such distinct and unique facilities all in one day and to experience up close the automation, scale of each facility and product design inspiration is a great use of any flooring retailers time immediately before the show,” said Allison Weiner, designer and merchandiser of Green Bay, Wis.-based HJ Martin and Son and winner of the DOMOTEX World Tour Sweepstakes trip to DOMOTEX Hannover in January 2019.

DOMOTEX USA Donates $10,000 to Aid Industry Workers
During the show’s opening night reception, DOMOTEX USA presented a $10,000 donation to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF) to further the 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organisation’s outreach to floor covering industry workers battling life-altering and catastrophic medical conditions. Charlie Dilks, FCIF’s board chairman and chief product officer of CCA Global Partners, accepted the donation on behalf of the charity.

Exhibitor Highlights and Product Launches
Exhibitors expressed amazement and satisfaction with the steady flow of qualified attendees and found the new show to be easy to navigate, well planned and executed. Many manufacturers of hard and soft floor coverings and floor processing technologies utilised their exhibitions at DOMOTEX USA 2019 to launch new products into the North American marketplace.

“I like the overall quality of DOMOTEX USA and suppliers exhibiting across the show floor,” said Franck Taubert, group export commercial director of Alsapan, a French manufacturer of laminate and resilient flooring. “We were very pleased with the big floor covering distributors who visited our booth. The difference between other North American industry events and DOMOTEX USA is this show is for attendees who are specifically interested in purchasing floor covering products,” he added.

Producer of hardwood floor cleaners, stains, sealers and high durability finishes, Bona, showcased its new Bona Inspiration design focused collection of stains, sealers and finishes at the inaugural show.

“We officially launched Bona Inspiration in the U.S. at DOMOTEX USA 2019,” said Leah Bradley, Bona’s band manager. “We saw a great selection of the mix of attendees we hoped to see across our target audiences, including architects, interior designers, retailers, distributors and contractors,” added Bradley.

Kabul Carpet Export Center (KCEC), a novel project entirely funded by the United States International Agency for Development (USAID) to support the Afghan weaving business selling handmade rugs, launched in the North American marketplace at DOMOTEX USA 2019. The company was pleased with the broad audience of carpet and rug importer attendees who visited its booth to discuss the project and its Afghan weavers. KCEC launched at DOMOTEX Hannover and will attended DOMOTEX asia/CHINAFLOOR next month.

For Bruce Hammer, vice president of sales in North America for Ribadao, a Portuguese-based solid flooring, engineered flooring and wall panel manufacturer, the show presented an intimate space to showcase its products to a targeted audience of OEMs, distributors and large retailers. “The opportunities we secured at DOMOTEX USA we would not have captured at any other North American flooring event,” said Hammer.

During DOMOTEX USA 2019, Shaw Industries, a member of the show’s advisory board, showcased its COREtec and Anderson Tuftex brands. The company highlighted the Anderson Tuftex new Unleashed collection of pet friendly carpets and hardwood products. The carpeting in the collection is made with STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet. Anderson Tuftex also featured its wide and long plank hardwoods as part of the Unleashed collection. “Shaw is thrilled to support the inaugural show and to showcase our high quality, boutique brands. We did make new retailer contacts and expect to secure new business as a result of our participation at the event,” said Carrie Edwards Isaac, vice president of marketing and consumer strategy for Shaw Industries residential division. “The beauty of the wide variety of customers we’ve connected with during the show is that they were interested in both our hard and soft collections,” she said. Shaw exhibited its COREtec brand at DOMOTEX Hannover in January.

SWISS KRONO launched its new, advanced and improved, water-resistant laminate flooring lines at the inaugural show. Commenting on the new U.S. show, Fabian Kölliker, head of marketing at SWISS KRONO Group said, “DOMOTEX USA is in the right place, and we look forward to attending the show next year and are happy with the 2020 show dates. We were pleased to see many of our existing customers and to connect with new retailers, too.”

Education Spotlights Digital Marketing and Brand Leadership
During the show’s two-day Growth Sessions conference, industry thought leaders and digital marketing experts offered key takeaways, case studies and creative approaches to the predominantly flooring retailer audience. FloorForce sponsored the first day of Digital Growth discussions held Thursday, 28 February. The day’s discussions offered measurable tools for finding, understanding and connecting with targeted flooring customers through digital channels.

DOMOTEX USA’s Friday, 1 March Branding and Marketing Growth Sessions highlighted how retailers can create brands that really resonate with their customers. Important takeaways were how to get intentional about the branding process and how to think through brand positioning, brand essence and the brand promise.

The Insider Talks held on the show floor for all attendees featured top industry professionals who discussed topics ranging from the state of the flooring industry to tips for flooring installation and repairs.

Emily Morrow Home Design Panel Sells Out
Emily Morrow Home hosted a design panel and luncheon that specifically addressed the changing landscape of interior design. The discussion highlighted each panel member’s design focus and favourite Emily Morrow Home hardwood style. Insights on current and future trends also were discussed.

Inaugural Show Attracts Qualified Attendees
The quality mix of show attendees was extremely high – a fact confirmed by all exhibitors. The inaugural show secured 5130 registrants, attracting retail professionals, wholesalers, distributors, OEMs, interior designers, contractors and installation professionals. About 70 per cent of the first show’s attendees are located in the Eastern U.S.

“Attendee traffic, including qualified North American retailers and distributor partners, exceeded our expectations for the inaugural show,” said Pat Oakley, vice president of marketing at Mullican Flooring in Johnson City, Tenn. “The show’s location was a perfect fit for us, allowing many of our customers, manufacturing and marketing personnel to easily attend. We have signed on for DOMOTEX USA 2020,” he added. During the inaugural show, Mullican launched its new Wexford Kiln-Aged collection, which is a part of its engineered wo