From the Editor’s Desk: What Are You Doing New In 2006
January 1st, 2006

by Janet Arden, Editor

January-February 2006

How ready are you for the future? In his presentation at the CTDA Management Conference, Jim Carroll accurately captured the mood when he said, “Change is happening faster than ever before.”

Tile is very much about change—especially if you look at design innovations like glass, metallics, and large format, to name a few. How we deal with change, of course, is the challenge.

Some challenges are welcome.

We are part of an exciting, fast-growing marketplace. Tile has become increasingly part of the design/build/remodel industry. Its low-maintenance and long lifetime qualities are appealing to buyers looking to build or remodel “up.” The National Association of Homebuilders estimated that new home construction in 2005 was valued at $250 billion and remodeling added another $235 billion. Are you doing everything to tap this market potential?

Some challenges are unexpected.

The soaring cost of oil in 2005 has had a ripple effect across the industry. How are you coping with this? TileDealer talked to distributors and manufacturers to see what they are doing to meet this challenge. They have come up with a variety of solutions, and you can read about them in “The Marketplace Now.”

Some challenges we see coming.

For some time now the industry has wondered about the impact of Chinese tile imports. The latest numbers (as of September 2005) from the U.S. Trade Commission indicate Chinese imports are up 114-percent. Some industry leaders call this good news, because competition is always good for the marketplace. But it may present some marketshare challenges, and it certainly has the potential to impact the industry overall. This issue TileDealer talked One-on-One with importer Robert Briggs to get an insider’s perspective on Chinese imports.

Some challenges we meet together.

For the last three years, Tile Partners for Humanity has offered the industry a remarkable opportunity to give back to the community by providing materials, expertise, labor and financial support to help build and finish homes for families that would not otherwise be able to own one. They always have more need than they can accommodate, but the devastation wrought by the hurricanes in 2005 has multiplied this need many times over.

In the weeks and months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, industry members flooded Tile Partners for Humanity with calls about rebuilding through donations of materials, labor and installation training. Until now, Habitat for Humanity—with whom TPFH works to coordinate tile donations for Habitat homes—was not able to address flooring needs for homes in affected communities. TPFH is working with the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) and Habitat for Humanity International to coordinate donations along the Gulf Coast and TPFH NEEDS YOUR HELP. NOAHH will build or rehab more than 500 homes in 2006 in the City of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, and the devastated areas in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. We will also work in communities along the coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Please stop by TPFH booth #G2144 at Surfaces for updated information on build schedules and material and labor needs. Updated project and build information will also be posted on the TPFH site at You can also request information after mid-January from Allyson Fertitta, TPFH executive director, at

“We desperately need tile, carpet and other flooring materials for use in our home building activities. New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity will lead the way by building and renovating MORE THAN 500 homes within the next year. While we have many eager volunteers and Habitat partner families, we need professionals to work on our projects and help train volunteers to work with them. Please give us your thoughtful consideration!”—Jim Pate, Executive Director, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity

TPFH and industry partners have tiled nearly 200 homes in three years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity International. TPFH is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization and is guided by representatives of seven leading tile industry organizations: Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, Ceramic Tile Institute of America, National Tile Contactors Association, The Tile, Tile Council of North America, and Tile Heritage Foundation.

So, the question is, are you ready to meet these challenges?

See you at Surfaces!

Janet Arden

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