According to National Trade Productions (NTP), the organizers of Coverings, the westward move to Las Vegas paid off. “One of the key objectives in shifting to the new first-time venue this year was to attract more attendees from the West Coast where tile and stone have always found a receptive market,” NTP said.

There was a 71% increase in attendees from the West Coast states, plus an 82% increase from the Rocky Mountain region states. Overall, attendance was pegged at 19,000, a slight dip from 2010, with more than 800 exhibitors lining the aisles.

“Consensus was that there was a solid return on taking Coverings to Las Vegas. We now need to capitalize on the base of West Coast attendees we attracted and figure out how to retain them as returnees as we move forward over the coming decade,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of events for NTP.

More than 100 first-time Coverings exhibitors appeared this year, and several among them expressed satisfaction with the experience. The Size, for instance, a Tile of Spain brand, used Coverings to make its international debut. Jesus Esteve, one of the company principals, admitted that he and his associates didn’t know what to expect, “but, we are extremely pleased with the crowds and the interest in our products as we begin to look for distribution here in the U.S.” His views were echoed by several other newcomers who said they felt the show had exceeded what they had imagined possible. And, then there were veterans, like Dave Bouchard, marketing manager of Emil Ceramica, and Sylvie Atanasio, owner of AlysEdwards, who commented that they were busy writing sales.

Another final figure coming out of Coverings 2011 was that more than 500,000 pounds of surplus and used tile and stone were ultimately diverted from the dumpsters thanks to the show’s collaboration with Tile Partners for Humanity. Collected from exhibitors after the build of their displays and at the conclusion of the show, these discards are being “recycled” for use in Habitat for Humanity and other worthy building projects undertaken by non-profit community organizations and public agencies benefitting the disadvantaged nationwide. TPFH was aided in the collection by Mountain Re-Source Center.