Industry Insights
November 2nd, 2007

November-December 2007


Coverings is indisputably the leading global exposition and conference in the Americas dedicated exclusively to tile and stone. And, soon headed into its third decade, the show also is heading westward with a new edition. Coverings LA Boutique is being planned for November 19-20, 2008, at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California. “Coverings has come of age and our expansion of this remarkable franchise is the most natural evolution,” said Glenn Feder, president client events, of National Trade Productions, which manages and produces the show. Feder explained that the spin off will be “by invitation only” and selectively focused on no more than 100 exhibitors. Unlike the flagship event—which is next scheduled for April 29-May 2, 2008, at Orange County Convention Center, Orlando—Coverings LA Boutique will not include any tool manufacturers and will only aim for the retailer, distributor and specifier visitor. “This show is for the crème-de-la-crème among the world’s resources for ceramic tile and natural stone, and our goal will be to host an equally elite caliber of wholesalers and retailers, plus the specifier community of architects and interior designers who also dominate the high-end of the market.” According to Feder, the projected attendance for the first year will be limited to around 2,000. Since the conference and seminar component of Coverings is one of its signature traits, this also will be offered by the Boutique edition, with CEU credits provided as well. The West Coast, particularly Southern California, has long been an important market for the industry, and to ensure that Coverings extends its reach there, it was chosen as the first stop for this new initiative. Other future destinations for this exclusive edition are under consideration. “Coverings has increasingly grown its attendance from the West Coast,” said Feder, “But, Coverings LA Boutique will really help to open the doors and acquaint the right people with the show. We’re confident that a significant number of those who’ve never attended Coverings, but who come to the Coverings LA Boutique in November ’08, will have their appetite whetted for 2009 Coverings in Chicago and future shows, as well.” Coverings is sponsored by ASCER (Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of Spain), Confindustria Ceramica (Italian Association of Ceramics), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), and National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA).


Orchid Ceramics, LLC, manufacturer of ceramic and porcelain tiles, announced several personnel and organizational changes as part of their continual process to improve service. Kyle Smith will assume the duties of Marketing Manager for Orchid Ceramics effective immediately. Smith has been with the company for the past year as Customer Service Manager and has extensive experience in the tile industry. He served previously at CAPCO in Denver, CO and began his career in the tile industry at Laufen in Charlotte, NC. Brian McKeown previously held the responsibility for marketing and product management at Orchid Ceramics, and will now focus entirely on product development as Orchid Ceramics’ Product Manager. McKeown has been with the company since August 2002 and has been instrumental in Orchid’s success with the red body ceramic tile lines. He was also a key member on the product development and marketing teams that just recently launched the new Orchid Porcelain brand of products. Christina Hupman has been hired for the newly created position of Customer Relationship Supervisor. Hupman previously served at Hilti, Inc. where she led the Mid-Atlantic & East Great Lakes Regions inside sales team. Hupman’s new position will allow Orchid Ceramics to place greater detailed focus on providing outstanding customer service.


Bonsal American, Inc. has acquired Amerimix Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of bagged and bulk mortar and stucco mixes for commercial contractors and distributors and a major supplier to Home Depot with bagged mortars, stuccos, portland and masonry cements. Amerimix is based in St. Petersburg, Fla. “Amerimix is an excellent strategic fit with Bonsal American’s existing operations in Florida and will enhance Bonsal American’s position with Home Depot in the state,” said David Maske, President of Bonsal American. “This acquisition also complements Oldcastle APG’s growing masonry presence in Florida.” Amerimix will continue to operate as a separate entity under Bonsal American. Jorge G. Chiappo, President of Amerimix, will remain with Bonsal American after closing and will continue in his current role.


Best Tile Distributors of New England, part of the East Coast Tile family, the largest importer of ceramic tile and stone in the Northeast, unveiled a new tile contractor service area and Bargain Center at the grand re-opening of its Dedham, Massachusetts showroom this August. Best Tile, as part of its concentrated efforts to re-enter the commercial sector, recently completed extensive renovations of its Dedham location to create a new tile contractor service area, which is staffed by two full-time professionals. Best Tile Dedham’s new facility provides plenty of space for training, a larger selection of tools and materials, and features a new Bargain Center stocked with discounted tile. Best Tile Dedham’s re-opening celebration was sponsored by LATICRETE®, Blanke Corporation and Hardibacker®. Industry friends and family in attendance were treated to live performances by a crowd-roving magician and a stand-up comic before a vacation package for two was raffled off for a two-night stay at Mohegan Sun Casino. In other news, the company has promoted Leslie Cote to the position of Retail Product Coordinator. In her new position, Cote will focus on developing a consistent product mix for all New England Best Tile locations representing the full spectrum of tile and stone products. With 18 years of experience in residential and commercial tile design, Cote will also recommend and implement effective merchandising strategies for each showroom. Cote has been with Best Tile since 1999, serving as sales/design and assistant showroom manager at Best Tile’s flagship showroom in Williston, Vermont.


Designed by Parsons-trained Turkish product designer Can Yalman for Kale Group’s leading market brand Çanakkale Kalebodur&Seramik, the company’s Reptile Collection won an award from the Annual Design Review. The award, which is given by the USA’s leading magazine ID Design, is regarded as the Oscar of the design world. This brings the total number of awards won by the Reptile Collection in 2006-2007 to three. The reptile collection was produced by Kale Group in the second half of 2006. Parsons-trained Turkish product designer Can Yalman’s tile line was inspired by the scaly skins of snakes and crocodiles. Yalman aimed at recalling Turkey’s ancient tradition of tiling and shingling buildings in repeated geometric patterns. The Reptile Collection, inspired by nature, consists of two series named Snake and Crocodile. Each diamond-shaped snake piece has a molded central ridge, and each crocodile square a high rim; the colors and finishes are based on reptilian pelt variations. The collection brings a new dimension to tile with the modular cladding of square tiles. Reptile lives up to its promises of functionality, transformability, durability and recyclabilitiy.

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