Tile, the Economy, and CTDA
May 2nd, 2008

May-June 2008

We hear a lot about the economy these days and not all of the news is good. The housing slowdown has certainly hit the tile industry. Many distributors and dealers have suffered painful drops in sales. Some distributors in the tile and flooring business have filed bankruptcy or even shut down operations. While there is no doubt that many have been hurt in recent months, there are still many bright spots in the economic picture for those selling ceramic tile and stone.

Word from the northwest and Canada is that much of the tile business is holding up well. Tile sales in the southeast (other than Florida) and northeast seem to be largely hanging in there. Despite big drops in residential construction, commercial continues to keep many tile sellers busy. Although tract homebuilders have dramatically reduced their tile consumption nationwide, showroom-driven business, including remodeling, has kept lots of tile businesses going. The very high end of the market tends to resist economic downturns and now seems to be no exception. Many of us find that tile sales these days are—at best—an unpredictable rollercoaster ride.

These are the days that make CTDA membership especially valuable:

  • First, the many educational and training opportunities available to CTDA members are accessible and affordable. Online education and self-study programs like Tile Training in a Box save time and travel costs while ensuring that my employees have the most current knowledge. This benefits my business and my customers.
  • The new Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson designation gives me another opportunity to distinguish my employees and my company from the competition.
  • Networking at the Management Conference and at CTDA-sponsored events like Coverings gives me invaluable opportunities to meet and mingle with industry leaders whose experience and insight help me run my business. They also allow my voice to be heard.
  • Unique CTDA opportunities like the Turkish Trade Mission in 2006 and the 2008 Trade Mission to China introduce me to new products and markets I would not easily meet on my own.
  • As a member of CTDA, I can take advantage of discounts on shipping, insurance programs, client collection services, telephone charges, auto rentals, and more.
  • CTDA’s annual business surveys and reports help me evaluate my company in terms of profit improvement, employee compensation, distribution and company performance. Participation is free with my CTDA membership!

The bottom line here is that the cost of my CTDA membership is a small price to pay for the industry opportunities the association offers. At a time of uncertain economic challenge, the benefits of association membership really add up to help me run my business. When the economy is good, I continue to leverage these benefits to make the most of every growth opportunity.

As I talk to people around the country, I see plenty of cause for optimism in our exciting industry. My approach is to work smart, sell hard, prepare for a bright future ahead, and continue to leverage the many benefits of my CTDA membership.

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Foster and Clark Real Estate
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