Cersaie Report, 2003
 
November 1st, 2003

Cersaie Report, 2003

By Steve Calkins, Lola Kladder & Jack Knies

At TileDealer we couldn’t imagine going to press with our inaugural issue just weeks after Cersaie 2003 without including a report on that important industry event. But we didn’t want to provide the same report you’ll be hearing in several other places. Instead we enlisted our own group of reporters to “embed” at Cersaie

Cersaie bills itself as “An assembly of ceramic, porcelain and marble – presented to the world market.” TileDealer’s reporters – like the rest of the Cersaie attendees – went with a schedule of appointments and a shopping list.

Steve Calkins, President of Statements, Inc., had a modest plan for Cersaie. “It was not our expectation to purchase many programs or lines during Cersaie. During the year we had been receiving product from decisions made at Cersaie 2002 and at Coverings 2003,” he said. “With that in mind, we identified the product mix we wanted to improve and stayed focused on finding those products only.”

Similarly, Lola Kladder, President of American International Tile Co., Inc., said her plan was to preview what American International’s manufacturers had that is new and to look for some upscale, unique materials in general.

Jack Knies, Vice President of East Coast Tile Imports, Inc., was more succinct in listing his goals:

Goal 1. Don’t buy anything. I’ve got enough tile already. Goal 2. Read goal 1 again. Goal 3. Understand where the trends are going: Design/fashion, Technology, Prices, Asian influence (China specifically). Goal 4. Get home safely.

 GETTING STARTED

The show runs Tuesday through Saturday. Kladder said the group arrived Sunday with plans to tour a factory on Monday. “Understanding how a product is made always makes the sales process easier,” she said. Factory visits also demonstrate the enormous commitment manufacturers make to the product.

According to Knies, many visitors got off to a slow start when the show opened Tuesday, at 9:30. “You need a bar coded pass to get in. In past years, if you had attended a previous show or had registered in advance you were mailed a card. Not this year. None of the Americans I spoke to had received cards,” Knies said. “So, there we were, 200 or so foreign attendees waiting at 9:15 for the booth to open that would issue the cards.”

With only six people available to register all foreign attendees, the lines were long and some people did not get into the show for an hour. “They have to fix this for next year,” Knies said.

IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TO CERSAIE, UNDERSTANDING THE LOGISTICS CAN BE CHALLENGING.

It’s a huge show – attendees must have a plan to maximize their time there. Kladder said they began on Tuesday armed with a map of the entire fair and a plan to plot the locations of factories to maximize their time. The first day they managed to see two of the buildings in total.

Knies had ten appointments set up for the first day; eight appointments the second day, ten appointments the third and so on. On day four he scheduled few specific appointments to have time to walk around to see what other vendors were doing and to follow up with vendors seen previously. As Knies pointed out, “The specific appointments do not include the 30 or so booths that you stop in to say hello to agents and factory reps that you have known for years or have agreed to see but without an appointment. The show is exhausting.”

TRENDS AT THE SHOW

On Wednesday, Kladder’s team took an afternoon trip to visit a major supplier’s facility and review products appropriate for American International’s marketplace. They discovered what Kladder calls the most exciting line of the show – metal glazed ceramic/porcelain tile. It has multiple uses and meets ADA specifications.

Knies reported the return of an old trend — the wood look for floors, both parquet and planking. “Been there, done that,” he says. It didn’t work the first time, so East Coast Tile Imports is not going to try it again. And, he noted, this year’s stuff doesn’t look as good as the similar lines several years ago.

Knies went on to identify two additional trends, but questioned their marketability for his company. “Color,” he said, “and lots of it. Mostly in wall tiles. Don’t know what market it was intended for, but too strong for ours.” He also noted long, narrow wall tile (approximately 3” by 16” but in various sizes from different manufacturers) shown primarily vertically but sometimes horizontally. But again, he said, “Not for our market.”

Knies noted additional trends including:

• A resurgence of the slate look was evident probably due to the factories’ ability to technically duplicate the real thing. A number of companies had copies of Brazilian and African slate-some in their back rooms away from the prying eyes of their competitors. Islatiles was one of the best.

• Stone, stone, and more stone looks. Very sophisticated and technically enhanced using rotocolor, double loading and now twin (or double) pressing. Twin pressing is a new process, which utilizes two presses. A tile is pressed once, the surface is altered using dry glazes or other surface techniques, and pressed a second time so that the application becomes part of the body. These tiles are pressed in very large sizes, some up to 30”x60” and then cut to various modular sizes and rectified (edges ground to exact tolerances).

• Rustic tile mosaics (2”x2” or 3”x3”) are in every booth being cut from and used with the larger field tile. Rex has a great line that is cut from, and coordinates with, their large modular floor tile and has beautiful decorative inserts for both floor and wall use.

Knies said although he did not have a chance to talk at length with any CTDA members, the general comments at the show were:

• Provenza (entry to booth by invitation only) introduced a great line of sophisticated stone looks. An innovative display idea to incorporate in showrooms features small tiles hung from hooks along a metal rod. Shoppers can easily flip through the product. Metallics were one of the more exciting offerings at Cersaie 2003.

• Floor Gres, utilizing twin press technology, was also the talk of the show with their new “Tracks’ line-an exact replica of various international slates.

• Saicis is always the talk of any show. Their floor tile lines are extreme to say the least. Glass over ceramic glazes for example, metallic finishes another. “Every one talks about the products but are they ever produced and if so who buys them?” asked Knies.

Knowing the market is everything. Kladder cautions that Cersaie offers an international view of the offerings, not just what would sell in the American marketplace. In fact, she says, many factories supply product for other markets that is light years away from what American customers will buy.

But, Kladder says, there were some other trends beyond the metals worth taking note of: a contemporary, minimalistic look in grays, greens, and browns; accents featuring a mix of ceramic with metal; and continued growth in mosaics in a range of prices from Japan, Italy, Spain and Germany.

The buyers at Statements were more cautious. “We did not find innovation this year that was appealing to the U.S. market,” said Calkins. “Two and a half days into the show, we realized the only programs of interest were the ones we had seen at Coverings 2003 or before and were ready for delivery. The theme of the show was in three areas: quartzite look, cotto stone, and technical stone. All of which we had covered, so the challenge to find something new and innovative was difficult. No luck, we came away from the show satisfied with the looks that were coming, but not inspired for next year.”

PRICE PRESSURE AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET

Calkins indicated that Statements, Inc. identified real price pressure early. “From our first meeting on Sunday, we realized our opportunities [for adding to the product mix] would be far and few between. Prices were 20% higher on new product, apparently a reflection of the weakness of the US dollar.” Calkins said talk of the show centered around the advisability of price increases, the increase of Chinese product entering North America and the struggles some tile producing countries are having in maintaining market share. “I felt that many manufacturers were satisfied with their sales for the year, but were not receiving the level of orders they would have liked.”

Knies looked at the economics of the industry differently. He said the show seemed crowded with European, Asian and American buyers. “This show was as busy as the busiest CERSAIE that I have been to in 30 years. The exhibitors I talked to were happy with the turnout and the general response to their products. Orders were written and commitments given. The Chinese were taking pictures of everything. Soon to be copied and promoted. There is great concern in the Italian manufacturing community about the effect the Chinese will have on the worldwide tile market.

The bottom line from Calkins: “A flat show for Americans with little buying enthusiasm. It seemed that those I talked to did not come to buy anything, so the lack of must-buy programs was okay. Most came to the show to see what was new and were disappointed.” In the end, however, Calkins said he left the show feeling positive about the condition of the tile industry. “Increased capacity from manufacturing advances will continue to have downward pressure on pricing. The strength of the Euro offsets this condition for now, but hopefully will improve over time. Overall, through-body porcelains and glazed porcelains, along with the new pressing methods, will continue to advance the look of tile and acceptance by the end user.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

Jack Knies added a final PS: And I am pleased to report that the miniskirt is not dead. Women in Italy dress beautifully-lots of black, some purple a little orange when you least expect it. Long pointy high heel shoes that I would not want to get kicked with and probably are used to keep the Italian men in line.


Are You a Sales Manager or a Sales Leader?
 
November 1st, 2003

Energize your troops and build morale By Jim Pancero Nov-Dec 2003

Sales managers work hard directing all of their energies to reducing costs, improving operating efficiencies, and doing everything possible to keep the doors open. These are all critical responsibilities but they only work to maintain their environment. Sales leaders will do everything sales managers do…and will realize their most important responsibility has to be building and growing the business. Sales leaders realize that when their people are firmly stuck in the mud, they need to be pulled out.

How you, as a leader, handle your team will have a direct impact on your potential success or failure. Your people do not need a “Drill Sergeant” who tries to motivate the troops by yelling and threatening. You cannot hammer your people into change. The key is to lead by affirming and staying positive.

#1 – STABILIZE AND QUALIFY EXISTING CUSTOMERS

How many of your competitors do you think are already actively working to establish new business relationships with your current accounts? What are you doing to make sure your existing customers are protected from these attacks?

Now is a critical time to go back to your existing customers to affirm and stabilize your relationship with them. Consider making joint sales rep/sales manager calls on all of your most important accounts. Then, beginning with their largest accounts, send your reps out to interview and evaluate how your company is doing with the rest of their territory. Every customer needs to be asked:

- “How do you feel about the job we are currently doing for you and your company?” – “What can we do to improve the way we are supplying and supporting you?” – “What do you wish we were doing more of compared to what you see other companies doing for you?” – “Can we come back in and evaluate how you are using what you are buying from us to see if we can either reduce your costs or increase your efficiencies using what you are already buying from us?” – “Are there other areas, departments or locations within your company that we could work to help lower their costs, improve their efficiencies or in any other way to improve their business operations?”

Most sales organizations only go in asking these questions after they have lost the business … not before. Consider offering current customers additional discounts or volume incentives to make sure they feel you are interested and investing in them. The best way to keep your competitors away from your current business accounts is to make sure your existing customers feel they are important to you, getting lots of attention from you and are being treated to the same discounting you are offering your new prospects.

#2 – INITIATE AN AGGRESSIVE NEW BUSINESS PROSPECTING PROGRAM

As you work to insure your current accounts are happy and stable you also want to lead your team in an aggressive new business initiative. How much new business prospecting has your team initiated so far this year? How much business is being won by your competition at accounts your team has not even called on? As a sales leader you need to help guide your sales team through the following steps in order to initiate and implement a successful new business-prospecting program:

Step 1 – Identify who your best or core customers are. “Core” customers are the accounts that receive the most benefits and paybacks from buying your full line of products. These are the companies who you will most likely win in a competitive battle because you are the best fit for their business. Who are the best prospects (or industries) for you and your team to go after first?

Be aware that most managers feel this is a useless question and believe everyone in your company already knows the answer to this. Try asking your people to write down the top four types of companies or markets you have the best chance of winning. When they compare these lists, most organizations are surprised at how varied the answers are. Give your people this test and then coach them as a team as to where the best prospecting targets will be.

Step 2 – Identify your strongest initial selling message that will gain the most attention from a new prospect. The toughest question in selling is from the prospect who looks you in the eyes and asks “You’ re the fifth vendor I have talked to this week about this, why, based on all the competitive alternatives available to me do I want to buy from you?”

It is useless to send your sales team out hunting for prospects if you do not give them any ammunition. Hold a planning session with your team to discuss the best way they can answer a prospect asking this critical new business question.

Step 3 – Identify when, and how much time each sales rep will commit to new business prospecting over the next 30 days. The majority of your sales team will tell you how excited they are about your new business prospecting efforts, and then will not make any new business calls. New business prospecting remains one of the most distasteful parts of any sales job. Prospecting requires you to go to strangers and get rejected on a fairly high frequency. No normal person likes to spend the day being rejected by strangers! You need to get solid commitments for specific days and times they will prospect or else there will never be time for anyone to make new account calls.

In addition to their ongoing prospecting commitments also consider organizing special “Blitz Days” where you get your entire team to commit to one or two days a month where the entire day will be dedicated to making new business prospecting calls. Make it an event that either starts off with a breakfast or ends at a bar so this becomes a positive experience and an exciting and energizing break from their territory. Be aware that not following through on this “commitment of time and energy” step is one of the biggest reasons new account prospecting programs fail.

What can you do as their sales leader to make sure they are committed, equipped and actually working at building new business? Once your team has successfully completed this 30-day program consider renewing the program again for another 30 days and then finally integrate it as a permanent ongoing process to their territory management.

Step 4 – Monitor the new business efforts of your team to insure they are making their calls, delivering a solid message, and continuing their calling efforts. It has been proven that for the vast majority of sales teams, the new business prospecting program will become less and less of a focus and ultimately fail unless you continue to monitor their prospecting efforts on a regular and consistent basis.

#3 – BEGIN SOME TYPE OF SALES TRAINING TO ENERGIZE AND FOCUS YOUR TEAM

Energizing and focusing your sales team are two major contributors to changing your sales team’s behaviors and selling direction. A slow market in a down economy is one of the best times to conduct sales training. Unfortunately, this is also the time you can least afford to spend any money on training. It has been proven that training on new ideas to improve the selling skills of your staff is one of the best ways to improve the attitudes and to re-energize a sales force. This is a critical time to begin or expand any sales training you have available. Product or technical training tends to have no impact on the morale or energy of your sales force. They need to feel they are improving how they can reach and sell additional business.

If you cannot afford an outside trainer consider a sales training video package that can be facilitated by you, their manager. These tend to have a relatively low cost while still achieving a high level of new ideas. Or, visit your local bookstore and pick out a few books on selling you feel could help your team. Assign the books to one or more of your people and then ask them to lead your team in a discussion of the relative ideas outlined in the book as well as what types of actions your team can implement. The goal is to get them thinking and talking about new ways they can sell. The bottom line is you need your team to apply more energy, creativity, effort and intelligence to their selling efforts. What can you do to get your people to look at their job and territory with a fresh and renewed view?

Suggestions To Start Your Process Of Change Some suggestions to help you begin this exciting process of change, increased work efforts and rebuilding of the morale and energy level of your entire team:

Suggestion #1 – Have your entire team read this article and then lead them through a discussion about the ideas covered. Consider asking them:

Question #1 – How relevant is this article to what we are facing as a sales team? Question #2 – Based on the suggestions outlined in this article, what do you think we need to do next that could have the greatest impact? Question #3 – How committed are you to personally working to change and improve the way you sell? Question #4 – Will you allow me as your manager to help you and the rest of our sales team through this process and to be your coach?

Suggestion #2 – Hold a one-day retreat as soon as possible to focus, brainstorm and plan a new course of action. You will have a higher probability of success if you have them work as a team. A shared experience of change tends to generate more energy than someone working alone. Also remember to keep this meeting positive and moving forward. This is not the time to reflect on what went wrong, but to plan and strategize on how you can move forward.

Suggestion #3 – Increase your “one on one” and team management communications with your reps. If you want to generate change within your team then you as their manager and leader need to have more face time discussing, coaching and leading. Spend more “ride-with” time with each of your reps. Talk to them daily to ask how it’s going and how are they feeling about all of this. Again, make sure to keep your message and energy positive. Remember, you are coaching and leading them into positive change, not whipping them into submission.

UTILIZING THE “STEPS OF CHANGE”

To keep your energy and communications positive consider working through the “steps of change.” It is impossible for you to announce a new business prospecting program and then immediately start looking for, and measuring results. Any change takes time. Your people will need to work through the four steps of change measurement.

The first step of change is attitude. This is something you can immediately measure. Do they have the right attitude about what you are attempting to do to help the team and your organization?

The second step of change is effort. Are they actually implementing what you are asking or suggesting? They do not have to be doing it right…as long as they are attempting to do something different.

The third step of change is progress. Are they starting to make thing happen? They do not have to have actually sold anything yet, but do they have prospects who are progressing through the selling process?

The fourth and final step is results. Only after you work your people on their attitudes, their efforts and their progress can you finally look for and measure their results. Working through each of these sequential four steps as a coach and leader allows you to immediately manage, measure and encourage your team through their entire process of change.

#4 – ONCE YOU HAVE A NEW MOMENTUM CONTINUE TO COACH AND LEAD YOUR TEAM TO MAINTAIN THEIR ENERGY AND ATTENTION TO THESE NEW SELLING EFFORTS

Following these four suggestions can provide a way to lead your team through this challenging economy. But any change will disappear in a matter of days or weeks unless you, as their manager and leader, continue to work daily to maintain their focus and new selling efforts. You are the most critical component to the long-term success of changing and improving your sales force.

SO NOW WHAT?

I am sure you have already been doing a number of the ideas suggested in this article. The question is not what you have already done…but to ask what can you do differently to improve and build a stronger sales team in this challenging economy. You might want to continue to ask yourself and your sales team…

“We know you’re good…the question is are you good enough to get better?”


One-on-One with Tamara Christian
 
November 1st, 2003

By Cathy Szmurlo Nov-Dec 2003

Since July, National Trade Productions (NTP) has been managing a variety of promotional activities and planning some exciting events for Coverings, the annual exhibition and conference for the ceramic tile and natural stone industries and the largest show of its kind in the U.S. This year’s event is set for March 23-26, 2004, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. More than 26,000 architects, contractors, designers, merchandisers, and specifiers are expected to visit more than 1,100 exhibits during the four-day event.

TileDealer magazine sat down with Tamara Christian, president of NTP, to talk about the role her company will play in the success of Coverings:

TileDealer: Why is this show so important to tile and stone dealers?

Christian: It’s the largest gathering in the U.S. for tile and stone dealers. I believe the attendance is the highest it’s ever been. As someone who sells tile and stone everyday, you need to be there to see the latest developments. This show will provide the best in networking opportunities.

TileDealer: What experience does NTP bring to managing a show like Coverings?

Christian: NTP produces, manages and markets about 15 events per year for a variety of industries, including the federal government. We do a show for plumbing engineers, which is the closest thing we do to the ceramic tile industry. I’ve been with NTP for eleven years; the last three as president.

TileDealer: What would you say to those who are unsure about the change and how it will affect their company?

Christian: I’d say the change in management companies shouldn’t affect the show at all for exhibitors and attendees. They can be assured that we are a very experienced company. Of the 200 largest shows in the United States (called the Trade Show 200), NTP produces four. Our company has extensive experience managing shows in many industries. For example, for one show we doubled the international attendance. We also increased exhibitors by 41 percent. For another event, we increased conference attendance by 80 percent.

TileDealer: What is the advantage with using a firm like yours to handle an important show like Coverings?

Christian: It is very common for an association to have a professional management firm. We really know how to manage shows because we do fifteen a year as opposed to one a year. We may find a particular vendor we like. For instance, we know a registration company that provides terrific service. We have enough experience with that company to consider using them for Coverings. We also are able to get better pricing for the customer. Vendors really want to work with us because we can bring them more business.

TileDealer: How will these relationships benefit an exhibitor at Coverings?

Christian: We can negotiate very well (with vendors). The cost of material handling for this show will be reduced by about 26 percent. For instance, last year a 10 by 10 booth cost $450. Now it will be $335.

TileDealer: What was involved in the process of choosing a new management company for Coverings?

Christian: The five associations that own Coverings decided to look at other [management] options They put together a search committee that came up with a list of 15 companies. With these companies, they did interviews over the phone, did reference checks and asked each of us to send materials. The list was then pared down to seven and the search committee went to the offices of all seven companies.

The committee was very serious. They certainly did their due diligence. They were with us for about three hours.

Then the list went from seven companies to two. The entire board of directors came to visit the two companies. We presented our ideas to the entire board and they called us back.

TileDealer: In your opinion, what did NTP do to land Coverings?

Christian: We have energy, excitement and enthusiasm. This is a tremendous show; a visually stimulating show and an exciting industry.

It’s also a challenging show. There is a lot of weight (physical materials) involved. A demolition crew has to come in after the show and work. We also have to have a refuge crew come in and remove things.

NTP has a real understanding of issues like these. We did a lot of research before the selection process.

We also have our own marketing agency. We presented six creative concepts and six possible themes to show the committee how interested we were.

TileDealer: Are there any challenges involved in transitioning between show management companies?

Christian: With any decision to switch management companies, you do have a transition. There is a learning curve. But I feel really good about it. The board (of governors for Coverings) has been incredible. We asked a lot of questions to get up to speed on the show. Now, I will call someone in the industry to get an opinion and anyone I’ve called has been so excited. They give us as much time as we need.

It’s an amazing community that’s been extremely supportive of the show. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I’ve had a lot of pro-active e-mails sent to me, asking if there is anything we need.

People have asked to come to our offices to meet with us.

TileDealer: How is the timetable for Coverings compared to other shows you’ve done?

Christian: The timetable is the same for Coverings as it is for any large show with a lot of exhibitors. We just have to be staffed up for it about two months before the show. We’re expecting about 1,100 international and domestic exhibitors. Right now, the show is sold out, except for some smaller booths here or there.

TileDealer: What techniques do you use to ensure a successful show?

Christian: We use very, very targeted marketing. The idea is to be able to communicate differently and use different messages for different audiences. We also track everything we do – what really worked and what didn’t work. We have fifteen people that are only working on the Coverings show, ten of them have been in the trade show industry for more than ten years each.

TileDealer: How will NTP promote the show to potential attendees?

Christian: • We’ll be increasing magazine advertising penetration by about 30 percent from last year. Some publications will have different targeted ads.

• We’re conducting focus group research, which is new.

• We’re producing a very hard-hitting direct mail campaign, targeted to different audiences. We plan to double the direct mail by mailing to new magazine and association lists.

• A personalized and hard-hitting campaign called the Top Buyer Program will target key personnel from the top 200 distributors and retailers.

• We’re using mailing lists to reach people through Internet marketing programs.

• We’re also reaching out to the community to get their thoughts and ideas.

To specifically promote the show to tile buyers, we’re having the conference program brochure bound into Floor Covering Weekly Magazine and sent to targeted retail subscribers. We’re also working closely with CTDA to develop promotional plans including advertising in this magazine.

TileDealer: Will there be some exciting, new additions to the show?

Christian: We’re definitely working on enhanced graphics for the show. There will be some exciting events on the show floor. We’re also changing the awards and adding more entertainment items to the event.

We’re looking at having a super keynote speaker – a high impact person such as (comedian) Tim Allen. The idea is to have one keynote speaker instead of three. We’re also looking at having a leading business thinker like Stephen Covey as a speaker.

There is now a conference advisory committee for the conference program, which the show has not had in the past. We are trying to have fewer (conference) sessions. We think the sessions have been good but there have been too many to choose from. We want to narrow them down a little.

There will also be a specific program for architects in which they can get CPUs.

TileDealer: What show additions will be important to CTDA attendees?

Christian: We’re developing a Dealer Day, which will include on-site networking events specifically for retail and home center buyers. During one concentrated day of the show, there will be a lot more targeted education, where buyers can talk directly to their peers about their own business challenges and solutions. A special lunch and evening event will be included, possibly at Disney’s Pleasure Island.

TileDealer: Where do you see the best possibilities for growth with this show?

Christian: In terms of attendance, I think there is room for growth in all the market segments, with more contractors, retailers, distributors, dealers, architects, designers and facilities managers attending in the future. There are still manufacturers we can attract like hardware and carpet companies.

We’re beginning to look at new venues as a response to audience interest. We’re definitely locked into Orlando for 2005 but we’re currently evaluating other venues for future shows.

 


Creativity & Durability Make Ceramic Tile a Favorite of Architects, Builders and Designers
 
November 1st, 2003

Architects, designers and homebuilders talk about what they look for in ceramic tile.

by Jeffrey Steele Nov-Dec 2003

TileDealer wanted to know who, what, when, why and how the other end of the supply chain – the architects, designers and homebuilders –use ceramic tile. And, we found, it’s a material that can meet their needs for durability and design.

Few experts are more knowledgeable about ceramic tile than builders. And many builders report it’s a rarity when they construct a house that doesn’t include some ceramic tile.

That’s the case at Buckingham Builders, a Plainfield, Illinois based builder specializing in semi-custom and custom homes in Chicago’s west and southwest suburbs. “Even though we offer sheet vinyl, we always encourage [buyers] to go with ceramic tile,” said Buckingham Builders president Al Darwin.

“And I have good reason for that. Aside from the look, it’s the durability factor and call-back related issues. When we do ceramic tile. . . if the trades drop something on it, drag something on it or walk on it, you just wipe it off and you’re done with it. You don’t worry about it as much as you would carpet or sheet vinyl. From our perspective as a builder, it’s less problematic.”

TWO TRENDS – AFFORDABILITY AND HAND CRAFTING

Interior designers are among those most attuned to customer wants and needs in ceramic tile. One of them, Mandy Brown, who heads Beaux Designs in Paradise Valley, Arizona, reports her customers are asking for ceramic tile in kitchen backsplashes to create a more custom and colorful look. Brown says she’s also using more ceramic tile in kitchen countertops, which results in a look far more distinctive than granite or marble. “If the person is not opposed to a little grout, they are very happy with the look and the wearability,” she says.

Brown recently used hand-painted blue and white Delft Tiles from the Amsterdam Tile Company as a fireplace surround. Each tile is painted with a different scene of children at play. The trick, she says, was not using tiles featuring the same scene twice.

Trends in ceramic tile preferences appear to be heading in two different directions at once, according to Brown. Some clients still want ceramic tile that looks like natural stone, generally in less expensive applications.

“Many manufacturers are doing fabulous things with porcelain tiles that are impervious to wear and tear,” she states. “I love them!”

The other trend Brown is observing is toward the classic look of beautiful, hand-fired, crackled tiles. This timeless look never goes out of style, nor do the matching cornice edges, she says, adding that 3×5 and 2×4-inch tiles laid subway style or in a brickjoint pattern are particular favorites.

“They are also true classics,” she adds. “You can’t go wrong.”

As for her personal preferences, Brown particularly favors hand-made tiles that offer dimensionality. “I love the look of a range backsplash using something of importance to the homeowner, such as an antique platter used for the couple’s first meal together, surrounded by field tiles. I did this in my own home . . . If on a budget, I favor good old Dal Tile in classic colors, but using a design for a textural interest.”

Glencoe, Illinois-based interior designer Cheri Lynn Friedman, ASID, reports that her clients generally aren’t knowledgeable enough to ask for brand names in ceramic tile. Instead, when they ask for her input in suggesting a bathroom decor, a fireplace surround or a kitchen backsplash, they generally insist that it be something timeless and classic.

Providing that look often calls for ceramic tile, says Friedman, whose experience with tile goes back to her high school years. A member of the student council at Niles East High School in suburban Chicago during its inaugural year of 1964-65, Friedman recalls the council wanted to leave the school a gift to commemorate the year, but rejected many ideas lacking durability.

“They were talking about all those things, and I came up with the idea of a mosaic tile Trojan, the [school’s] mascot, right in the center of the floor of the lobby as you enter the gymnasium. We put in a purple and white Trojan in mosaic tile, with a little beige and taupe to pick up the surrounding tile.”

Friedman calls ceramic tile “the best material to use” in interior design, noting that a designer can employ different styles and shapes, and then turn the tiles to create accents. “You can even take your little one-inches and create borders and designs,” she says. “There’s a plethora of things you can do with tile, because of all the various shapes and sizes it comes in.”

Her interior design business has been built, Friedman says, on providing customers with what she calls “unexpected beauty.” She prefers to stay neutral in her color tones, because tile is permanent and color preferences are constantly changing. Earth tones like whites, beiges, taupes, greens, mosses, celadons and khakis are among her favorites. “Pull from Mother Nature, and you create an image you’ll never get tired of,” she says.

Builders are also observing trends. Slate-like ceramic tile is very popular today, says Buckingham Builders’ Darwin, whose company builds 2,500 to 3,600-square-foot homes selling for $290,000 to $650,000 in Chicago’s west and southwest suburbs. Along with the preference for what Darwin calls “the stoney look,” his homebuyers are also showing distinct preferences for earth tones, particularly grays and beiges.

What’s working in homes purchased by typical Americans also has a place in the most upscale houses, say Patricia Baker and Jinny Ferrari, Worcester, Mass. architects – for the New American Castle, a 14,000- square-foot luxury showhome being built amid 75 wooded acres in Middlefield, Mass.

The residence is serving as a template for others building luxury homes, as well as a showcase for companies to display their latest products. Among the organizations working on the home will be artisan groups spotlighting their use of ceramic tile.

The owners of the home chose ceramic tile for the kitchen, laundry center and guest bathroom walls, with much of it being Marazzi, an Italian ceramic tile that exhibits an earthy, warm appearance, and features a smooth texture. “The latest and greatest tiles are like artwork,” Baker said. “They’re much more textured than they used to be, and add a lot of character and warmth to the entire environment. It absolutely upgrades the entire interior . . . The tiles are matching the level of luxury you find elsewhere in the [residence].”

The maintainability and versatility of ceramic tile also has impressed those associated with the New American Castle. “It’s easy to clean and maintain, and you’re talking about designs that add so much,” Baker comments. “And it allows designers to use their artistic ability to create.”

COMMERCIALLY APPEALING

While many residential designers, architects and builders choose ceramic tile for its versatility, functionality and beauty, those specifying for commercial and institutional applications tend to like ceramic tile for its timelessness and durability.

The brand new, 2-million-squarefoot, $1.1 billion Northwest World Gateway at Detroit’s Metro Airport is a perfect example.

Northwest Airlines, the building’s owner, placed a priority on creating a maintainable facility that would retain its welcoming appearance over a long period of time, said Jim Luckey, design architect at Detroit-based Smithgroup, the fifth largest architectural firm in the United States, and the designer of the Northwest World Gateway.

“Northwest was proactive in wanting timeless, durable finishes,” he adds, noting that 24×24 and 12×12-inch through-color porcelain tile was used on many concourse walls to provide that durability. “They’re a warm, neutral color. It was a design parameter that we wanted the design background to be passive, warm and neutral . . .but relatively passive.”

Also utilized in the Northwest World Gateway was Pewabic tile, a tile that is hand-made, features handapplied glazes and has been manufactured in a Detroit studio since its inception in 1917. Serpentine walls at the entrance to each restroom feature these 4×4-inch Pewabic tiles. The tiles were chosen because they reinforce the “Made in Detroit” symbolism of the building, and because they are particularly beautiful tiles, Luckey observes.

The Pewabic tile is repeated at the serpentine entrance of every restroom, helping to announce to visitors the function of the rooms.

Within the restrooms, through-body porcelain tiles are used from floor to ceiling across each wall, featuring a warm and neutral but slightly darker color than the tiles on the concourse walls.

Through-body tiles were chosen because clients are more willing to spend money to achieve easy maintenance, Luckey reports. In contrast to glazed tiles, the color goes all the way through a through-body tile. That means that if they chip, the chipped area will still be the same color as the tile surface.

“So we’ve used tile for two almost diametrically opposed reasons,” Luckey says. “It’s easily maintainable, giving a timeless, durable, very pragmatic finish. And then at the other end of the spectrum, we’ve used tile as the highest artistic expression in the building as well.”

Ceramic tile’s advantages go beyond easy maintenance and beauty, he says. One additional benefit is the chance to use a decorative element symbolizing the place or the company with which the building is associated. Because tiles are manufactured, designers have the opportunity to specify tiles that are produced by local companies or feature colors associated with the building owner or occupant. Moreover, tile affords a wide range of size, color and texture choices, he says.

“It gives us a huge range of design opportunities, all with the use of a modular building material,” Luckey notes. “You can size the tile to the scale of the surface it’s going on, you can get up close to a tile and see the size of the tile, and then as you pull back see the wall with many tiles and begin to understand the scale.”

MEMORIES OF A DESIGNER

Friedman has several favorite recollections of working with ceramic tile. One centers on an indoor swimming pool at a home on suburban Chicago’s exclusive North Shore. The inside of the pool house featured stainless steel and honed granite, leaving Friedman with the desire to add color. The single best place to do that was within the pool itself. There, she used one-inch mosaic tiles of blue, yellow and green to create an abstract design on the pool floor and steps.

“They loved it, because it was different, unusual and something not everyone had,” Friedman said of her clients’ response to the design.

GETTING THE PROS TO SPEC A NEW TILE

Builders, architects and designers use building and design materials with which they’re familiar. But that begs the question: What would it take to get them to choose a new tile for a project?

In choosing a tile not familiar to him, Darwin says seeing the product in an actual application is helpful, but not essential. Homeowners, on the other hand, aren’t as experienced as builders in visualizing how a new material will look finished. Seeing the tile installed, or glimpsing a section rather than a single tile is helpful in triggering their imaginations and visualizing the finished product.

“Price is an important factor, and some ceramic tiles are much more expensive than others,” he says. “That’s because not as many of those tiles are produced and the price ends up being extraordinarily high. It’s really shipping and handling costs more than manufacturing costs. So price is a factor in whether we use a new product.”

For Brown to specify a new product, the interior designer says she has to like it aesthetically, and has to be convinced it will work in a practical manner. “I love to try new things, as long as they are in good taste,” she observes. “I prefer to lead a trend rather than follow one.”

Delivery and accessibility don’t influence her choices, she adds. She usually orders tiles well in advance of needing them, and requisitions those tiles needing a special order extra early.

When Friedman is considering a new product, she wants to know not only about the tile, but its accessories. “I need to see it, feel it, see how the back of the tile was made,” she says.

“I have to see the tile itself, the colors it comes in, the sizes it comes in and most importantly, I have to see the toys. The toys are the crowns, the liners, the moldings, and the relief pieces. They get my juices flowing. I’ve got the dress on, the heels on, but in order to be a finished product, I need the necklace, the bracelet, the earrings. It’s the same with a ceramic tile installation.”

 


Industry Insights
 
November 1st, 2003

Nov-Dec 2003

AMERICA’S OLDEST POTTERY AT THE BRAZILIAN DESIGN SHOW One of the more important findings of the Amazon is a carved stone point, found by Anna Roosevelt, granddaughter of President Roosevelt, and her team in 1992. The point indicated human occupation of the cave in which it was found around 11,200 years ago. Also, the oldest pottery in the Americas was found in the Amazon Basin, dating from 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. One can compare that figure to the oldest pottery finding in the world, which was in Japan, with a finding dating from 11,000 years ago. The pottery will make its North American debut at the Brazilian Design Show in Miami on November 5-7. The show will take place at the Terra do Brazil Design Center in Miami and offer an unprecedented look at Brazil’s leading ceramics, pottery, jewelry, accessory and furniture designers and artisans. Terra do Brazil created the design center to help North American buyers, importers, distributors, representative designers and wholesalers access a nationwide network of more than 5,000 Brazilian manufacturers and designers and assist with import/export operations. It will also enable small and medium producers of Brazilian furniture and artifacts the ability to sell products of aggregate value in the North American market without obstacles. This will provide greatly needed economic assistance to Brazilian natives and protection of the Amazon Rain Forests. (www.terradobrazil.com)

LATICRETE INDIA ISO CERTIFICATION IS A FIRST

LATICRETE India Pvt. Ltd. Received India’s first recommendation for ISO 9001:2000 certification. The firm is committed to a total focus relative to customer satisfaction by continually manufacturing, supplying and educating the construction industry regarding quality construction materials, techniques, technology & products./ In receiving the ISO 9001:2000 recommendation, LATICRETE India will be strengthening the company’s already solid technological, quality and performance position in the tile and stone marketplace.


Innovations
 
November 1st, 2003

Nov-Dec 2003

CREATE LEAK PROOF SHOWERS

The Noble Company produces a variety of products to help make waterproofing showers faster and easier. These products also provide the best possible waterproofing. ProFormÔ Curbs and Niches are waterproof and tile ready. These products install in minutes and can save hours. PROSLOPEÔ creates the code-required slope under the waterproofing membrane. It is made from durable expanded polystyrene and can be cut with a knife. Chloraloyâ is a time tested shower pan with millions of square feet installed. Made from chlorinated polyethylene [CPE] and guaranteed to last. The Noble Company offers a variety of sheet membranes for waterproofing, crack isolation, joint bridging and sound control. For more information visit www.noblecompany.com or call 800 878 5788.

MAKING YOUR WORLD A QUIETER PLACE

The SAM3 and Super SAM Membrane Systems produced by NAC Products will make your workd a quieter place. These two membrane systems combine superior sound abatement with crack suppression and anti-fracture qualities. Both products prevent tile cracking and delamination and meet and exceed IIC and STC ratings for Sound Abatement. SAM3 and Super SAM have the 3/8” crack suppression capabilities of the original ECB Membrane that contractors have been installing for over 20 years. SAM3 and Super SAM are ideal for multi-level facilities such as motels and hotels, college dormitories, senior and assisted living facilities, apartments, condominiums, converted warehouse space and even single family homes. SAM3 is to be used in buildings with sound rated ceiling assemblies and Super SAM for buildings without sound rated ceiling assemblies. ( 800-633-4622 )

EVERGLADES MOSAIC MURAL FEATURES LATICRETE PRODUCTS

Miami, Florida, homeowners Neill and Thomas Miller have spent their lives exploring the Everglades wilderness, so it seemed appropriate to them to ask artist Val Carroll to create a mosaic mural of the Evergrades for their bathroom. The mural was a six-month working process of designing the art, preparing the glass mosaics, and installing the tile. The finish piece cover 35-square feet and reflects a stectrum of 70 mosaic colors. Carroll chose materials carefully to assure long, durable lifetime for the finished product, including Laticrete® 4237 Latex Thin Set mortar Adesive, Laticrete® 211 Crete Filler Powder, Laticrete® Tri-Poly Fortified Sanded Grout (1500 Series) and Laticrete® Tri-Poly Fortified Unsanded Grout (1600 Series). Carroll’s mosaic artwork is on display throughout Florida, the Caribbean, in private residences, hotels and public locations. Laticrete® 800-243-4788; www.laticrete.com

NEW FROM LAUFEN

Laufen has introduced a handful of new tile products including Fresno 10 by 13 wall and 16 by 16 floor tiles in beige, blanco, ocre and verdigris. A companion chair rail and two styles of decorative wall listels complete the family for a variety of effects. Ravenna is a warm-hued, through-body porcelain series featuring 12-1/4 by 12-1/4 floor tiles along with two borders and an insert or corner. More earthy tones are features in Craterlake, a 17-1/2 by 16-1/2 floor tile. Borders and insert/corners are also available. Now available in 8 by 10 wall tile, Newcastle’s colors of lambswool, turtledove, and hazelnut, along with Liverpool and Manchester wall listels, accentuate floor and wall combinations.

CERAMIC TILE TRENDS INTRODUCES HUMMINGBIRD SERIES

Ceramic Tile Trends is introducing the Hummingbird series of hand-painted 4-1/8 by 4-1/8-inch tiles available in five multi-color hues. “Hummingbird emphasizes the exquisite grace of nature that sometimes goes unnoticed in our daily lives. To capture that in a decorative piece of tile is simply art,” said Suzy Krepinsky of Ceramic Tile Trends. “The series is perfect for practically any interior installation.” (214)358-5557; www.ceramictiletrends.com

TI-PRO™ PRESENTS PROFESSIONAL SAWS

TI-PRO™ is now offering the professional 7-inch and 8-inch bridge saws with stands, WAR80 and WAR07. The UL-approved WAR80 cuts tile up to 24-inches by 24-inches and diagonal on 16-inches. It features a tilting range of 0-45 degrees, a maximum cutting depth of 13/16-inches and DIM (LWH) 37′ by 18-1/2″ by 17″. WAR07 cuts tile up to 18-inches by 18″, has a tilting range of 0-45 degrees and a maximum cutting depth of 1″. The company is also offering a 7″ wet saw with diamond blade, the WS1807. TIPRO™ is a division of the North American Tile Tool Company. (800)406-TILE; www.nattco.com

ONE-STEP SEALER

Aqua Mix is proud to announce Enrich’N’Seal – a one-step sealer and enhancer that darkens, enriches, highlights and seals natural stone with a no-sheen look. Enrich’N’Seal offers superior stain resistance to oil and grease on interior and exterior installations with up to 15 years of protection. It is a 100% polymer PolyCure”TM technology utilizing no water or solvent as a carrier. Most dense surfaces will only require one coat making it very economical, costing just pennies per square foot! Enrich’N’Seal is also highly UV, weather and fade resistant. Enrich’N’Seal contains no VOC’s and has no offensive odor. Available in pints, quarts and gallon sizes. (800) 366-6877; www.aquamix.com

ACOUSTICORKÔ APPROVED

AcoustiCORKÔ R130 is the first Cork Sound Control Underlayment to achieve a Light Commercial Rating in a Robinson Wheel Test for a direct bonded Ceramic Tile Application. The 2003/2004 Tile Council of America Installation Handbook for the first time contains a direct bond procedure for Ceramic Tile to Cork Underlayments. AcoustiCORKÔ R130 meets and exceeds the product specifications of this new procedure. (800) 255-2675 www.acousticorkusa.com

SENECA SATINS

A completely new, softer look, built on the extremely durable Seneca Quarry Pavers base. More uniform, square corners; satin-like, variegated glazes; new shapes as small as 1″ by 1″; and deeply sculpted decorative collections reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Shown, Locust, Gingko, and Cacao in Aloe glaze. (800)426-4335; www.SenecaTiles.com

VILLA GIARDINI Eliane Ceramic Tiles has introduced the Villa Giardini Series of rustic tiles with the strength of porcelain available in earthtone shades of Rosso, Noce, Beige and Bianco. The tiles are offered in 18′ by 18″ squares with listellos, 8″ by 8″, 3″ by 12″ and 3″ by 3″decors and 3″ by 12″ and 3″ by 18″ floor bullnoses. (972) 481-7854.

 

Christian: It’s the largest gathering in the U.S. for tile and stone dealers. I believe the attendance is the highest it’s ever been. As someone who sells tile and stone everyday, you need to be there to see the latest developments. This show will provide the best in networking opportunities.

TileDealer: What experience does NTP bring to managing a show like Coverings?

Christian: NTP produces, manages and markets about 15 events per year for a variety of industries, including the federal government. We do a show for plumbing engineers, which is the closest thing we do to the ceramic tile industry. I’ve been with NTP for eleven years; the last three as president.

TileDealer: What would you say to those who are unsure about the change and how it will affect their company?

Christian: I’d say the change in management companies shouldn’t affect the show at all for exhibitors and attendees. They can be assured that we are a very experienced company. Of the 200 largest shows in the United States (called the Trade Show 200), NTP produces four. Our company has extensive experience managing shows in many industries. For example, for one show we doubled the international attendance. We also increased exhibitors by 41 percent. For another event, we increased conference attendance by 80 percent.

TileDealer: What is the advantage with using a firm like yours to handle an important show like Coverings?

Christian: It is very common for an association to have a professional management firm. We really know how to manage shows because we do fifteen a year as opposed to one a year. We may find a particular vendor we like. For instance, we know a registration company that provides terrific service. We have enough experience with that company to consider using them for Coverings. We also are able to get better pricing for the customer. Vendors really want to work with us because we can bring them more business.

TileDealer: How will these relationships benefit an exhibitor at Coverings?

Christian: We can negotiate very well (with vendors). The cost of material handling for this show will be reduced by about 26 percent. For instance, last year a 10 by 10 booth cost $450. Now it will be $335.

TileDealer: What was involved in the process of choosing a new management company for Coverings?

Christian: The five associations that own Coverings decided to look at other [management] options They put together a search committee that came up with a list of 15 companies. With these companies, they did interviews over the phone, did reference checks and asked each of us to send materials. The list was then pared down to seven and the search committee went to the offices of all seven companies.

The committee was very serious. They certainly did their due diligence. They were with us for about three hours.

Then the list went from seven companies to two. The entire board of directors came to visit the two companies. We presented our ideas to the entire board and they called us back.

TileDealer: In your opinion, what did NTP do to land Coverings?

Christian: We have energy, excitement and enthusiasm. This is a tremendous show; a visually stimulating show and an exciting industry.

It’s also a challenging show. There is a lot of weight (physical materials) involved. A demolition crew has to come in after the show and work. We also have to have a refuge crew come in and remove things.

NTP has a real understanding of issues like these. We did a lot of research before the selection process.

We also have our own marketing agency. We presented six creative concepts and six possible themes to show the committee how interested we were.

TileDealer: Are there any challenges involved in transitioning between show management companies?

Christian: With any decision to switch management companies, you do have a transition. There is a learning curve. But I feel really good about it. The board (of governors for Coverings) has been incredible. We asked a lot of questions to get up to speed on the show. Now, I will call someone in the industry to get an opinion and anyone I’ve called has been so excited. They give us as much time as we need.

It’s an amazing community that’s been extremely supportive of the show. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I’ve had a lot of pro-active e-mails sent to me, asking if there is anything we need.

People have asked to come to our offices to meet with us.

TileDealer: How is the timetable for Coverings compared to other shows you’ve done?

Christian: The timetable is the same for Coverings as it is for any large show with a lot of exhibitors. We just have to be staffed up for it about two months before the show. We’re expecting about 1,100 international and domestic exhibitors. Right now, the show is sold out, except for some smaller booths here or there.

TileDealer: What techniques do you use to ensure a successful show?

Christian: We use very, very targeted marketing. The idea is to be able to communicate differently and use different messages for different audiences. We also track everything we do – what really worked and what didn’t work. We have fifteen people that are only working on the Coverings show, ten of them have been in the trade show industry for more than ten years each.

TileDealer: How will NTP promote the show to potential attendees?

Christian: • We’ll be increasing magazine advertising penetration by about 30 percent from last year. Some publications will have different targeted ads.

• We’re conducting focus group research, which is new.

• We’re producing a very hard-hitting direct mail campaign, targeted to different audiences. We plan to double the direct mail by mailing to new magazine and association lists.

• A personalized and hard-hitting campaign called the Top Buyer Program will target key personnel from the top 200 distributors and retailers.

• We’re using mailing lists to reach people through Internet marketing programs.

• We’re also reaching out to the community to get their thoughts and ideas.

To specifically promote the show to tile buyers, we’re having the conference program brochure bound into Floor Covering Weekly Magazine and sent to targeted retail subscribers. We’re also working closely with CTDA to develop promotional plans including advertising in this magazine.

TileDealer: Will there be some exciting, new additions to the show?

Christian: We’re definitely working on enhanced graphics for the show. There will be some exciting events on the show floor. We’re also changing the awards and adding more entertainment items to the event.

We’re looking at having a super keynote speaker – a high impact person such as (comedian) Tim Allen. The idea is to have one keynote speaker instead of three. We’re also looking at having a leading business thinker like Stephen Covey as a speaker.

There is now a conference advisory committee for the conference program, which the show has not had in the past. We are trying to have fewer (conference) sessions. We think the sessions have been good but there have been too many to choose from. We want to narrow them down a little.

There will also be a specific program for architects in which they can get CPUs.

TileDealer: What show additions will be important to CTDA attendees?

Christian: We’re developing a Dealer Day, which will include on-site networking events specifically for retail and home center buyers. During one concentrated day of the show, there will be a lot more targeted education, where buyers can talk directly to their peers about their own business challenges and solutions. A special lunch and evening event will be included, possibly at Disney’s Pleasure Island.

TileDealer: Where do you see the best possibilities for growth with this show?

Christian: In terms of attendance, I think there is room for growth in all the market segments, with more contractors, retailers, distributors, dealers, architects, designers and facilities managers attending in the future. There are still manufacturers we can attract like hardware and carpet companies.

We’re beginning to look at new venues as a response to audience interest. We’re definitely locked into Orlando for 2005 but we’re currently evaluating other venues for future shows.


From the Editor’s Desk: Welcome to TileDealer!
 
November 1st, 2003

From the Editor’s Desk: Welcome to TileDealer!

by Janet Arden, Editor Nov-Dec 2003S

TileDealer was created to provide knowledge of materials, trends, and techniques and therefore increase the effectiveness of ceramic tile and stone salespeople. One of CTDA’s strengths has always been communicating to “dealers” issues like how to manage the company most effectively, how to market products, how to train salespeople, etc. Our goal at TileDealer is to provide you with more than just the facts on the business issues that matter most to you; it’s to talk to the experts, gather all the relevant information & add value to you by presenting it in a way that will help you implement this knowledge.

This month, for example, TileDealer went to your customers – the architects, designers and homebuilders who are specifying ceramic tile and stone – to learn firsthand what they use and why. The projects discussed range from the Detroit Airport to the semi-custom housing development down the road. Some of their answers may surprise you, some may sound familiar. We hope all of them help you sell more tile.

TileDealer also went One-on-One with Tamara Christian, president of National Trade Productions, the newly appointed manager of our major industry trade show – Coverings. After nearly 20 years with the previous show management, Coverings has made a significant change. Christian and her team have a big job ahead of them. They’ve jumped right in with targeted marketing, increased magazine penetration, and a revamped agenda of awards and entertainment. Turn to page 19 to see how Coverings 2004 will offer you more than ever before.

Finally, we couldn’t go to press in mid October without covering Cersaie, the fall market in Bologna, Italy. TileDealer recruited a team of “guest reporters” to give us their take on the show. This perspective will provide you with a “day in the life” of a distributor at Cersaie. Jack Knies, Vice President at East Coast Tile Imports, Inc.; Lola Kladder, President of American International Tile Co., Inc.; and Steve Calkins, President at Statements, Inc. offer their report – with plenty of pictures – on page 29.

To see more of what’s new in the marketplace, turn to TileDealer’s new products column, Innovations. To get the scoop on people and places, turn to Industry Insights. Finally, if you’re looking to hire the help you need, sell used equipment, and more, consider a TileDealer classified ad. Put together a 30-word ad for just $20; additional words are fifty-cents each. Call (630) 545-9415 to place your ad.

TileDealer will be published bimonthly. Upcoming issues will feature a 2004 Industry Economic Forecast, Setting Materials, and Logistics from Manufacturer to End-User. We’ll continue One-on-one interviews in every issue as well as a Sales and Management column from pros like Jim Pancero and Al Bates. Of course, TileDealer will offer first-rate coverage of industry events like Coverings.

Most importantly, we welcome your comments, your questions and suggestions. You can reach me at editor@tiledealer.org or at (630) 545-9415.

 

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