Easy Heat is the first company in the tile industry to receive a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Mike O'Tool, president of Easy Heat, receives an award from Paul Bozikis, category manager, new business development for Good Housekeeping, to commemorate this achievement.

More than 40,000 people attended Surfaces 2006, setting an all-time attendance record for the show, according to show officials. Total attendance this year was 40,588, an increase of six percent over 2005. In addition to more attendees, the show also boasted an increase in the number of exhibitors, with a record-setting 1,070 companies on hand, an increase over 2005, which saw 1,054 exhibitors. With so many companies on hand, it's no wonder that many attendees and exhibitors alike felt this was the best show to date.

"The last several years have been very good for us and this year was no exception," said Mark Shannon, Vice President of Sales, Crossville, Inc. "From a branding perspective with this particular audience, it was the best ever. The tie in with our distributor partners and their customers who attend this show was terrific."

Crossville introduced several new series at Surfaces, including its Now series, which features a crisp, refined stone look that is ideal for tailored and minimalist designs, according to Shannon. The company also previewed its new Journey series, which features an incredibly realistic stone texture in three colors. The series was well received by customers.

"All during the show, visitors to our booth would stop and rub the surface to see if they could feel the ‘cracks' in the surface," Shannon added.

Also feeling the benefit of this year's increased attendance was Orchid Ceramics, which introduced two new series, Amazonas and Donostia. Both series were very well received, according to the company.

Surfaces attendees were able to learn about the latest tile installation products and techniques at the Installation Showcase, a series of free seminars held throughout the show.
"The response to both series was very good," said Kurt Graves, president of Orchid Ceramics. "Opening orders for Amazonas have it poised to be our fastest start for any product to date, both in terms of sales dollars and number of customers that placed first orders. Opening orders for Donostia have superceded our forecasts as well. So we believe we have two new winners. We believe the response to the new product lines validates our product development process, which relies heavily on the input of our customers in designing ceramic tile for the markets we serve."

Another company that had a very positive response from attendees was Vitromex USA, which launched its new Artemis porcelain tile series.

"Business was very strong for us," said Neal Gray, vice president of sales and marketing for Vitromex USA. "With the roll out of our new Artemis Impervious Glazed Porcelain, this was the first opportunity for our customers to see our new Artemis package. The show in 2005 was busy as well, but I would have to say that this year was much busier for us."

After beginning the year on such a positive note, tile manufacturers are anticipating strong sales throughout the year.

"We are off to a great start in 2007," said Orchid Ceramics' Kurt Graves. "The larger customers we added to our distribution network in the second half of last year are beginning to show significant increases in volume as our products gain placement with their builder and dealer customers. Our 2005 product introductions continue to grow and our 2006 products appear to have gained a great start. In the second half of this year we will launch at least two more product lines.

We continue to make significant investments that will secure and improve our great customer service as we continue to grow rapidly. We think 2007 will be a great year for our customers and for us."

With such a strong response to this year's show, the shows organizers are anticipating another great show next year.

"Reports from the show floor indicated this was clearly the best, biggest and most productive Surfaces ever," said Chris Davis, President & CEO, World Floor Covering Association, official sponsor of Surfaces. "It is hard to believe possible, but each Surfaces has been incrementally better than the one preceding it. If this trend continues as it has in the past, then Surfaces 2007 will be something beyond incredible."

Surfaces 2007 will take place February 7-9 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. For more information, visitwww.surfaces.com.