More than 1,200 of the world’s tile and natural stone suppliers will be on display at Coverings 2009 in April. The industry show will feature new product sources, installation techniques and industry education . . . and in 2009, it’s all free!
The 20th anniversary of Coverings will take place April 21 to 24, at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center. In looking back over the past two decades, the industry can see how the show's evolution to its current status mirrors the vitality of the industry, its own growth and potential. Featuring a vast array of the most innovative products and educational and networking opportunities, and attracting an ever-expanding audience of design professionals, Coverings reflects the progression of the tile and stone business in the United States from a largely unsung niche into a dynamic, design-driven powerhouse.
“Coverings has, over the last two decades, become a world-class event that literally brings the entire universe of tile and stone to show-goers’ feet,” said Glenn Feder, president of client events for National Trade Productions, which has managed and produced the show since 2003.
Careful planning and investment throughout the show's history have resulted in a diverse menu of sessions, which will total nearly 70 this year, that offer something for every sector of attendees: retailers, distributors, manufacturers, fabricators and installers, and architects and designers. Most of the classroom programs offer CEU credits from AIA, ASID or NKBA, and all are entirely free of charge with no limit to how many sessions show-goers can attend.
This year the show will offer 11 seminars in its featured “Surviving the Economy” Series led by industry experts, to provide attendees with solutions and tools for coping with the current tumultuous economy. Topping the noteworthy sessions scheduled for the program is marketing guru Jonathan Trivers's keynote address, “Trendscape 360: Today’s Retailers Must Understand Customer Changes and Industry Changes,” for distributors and retailers on Wednesday, April 22. “Creating a ‘Sell’ Room, Not a Showroom” is scheduled for Thursday morning, presented by James Dion, founder and president of internationally known retail consultancy Dionco.
The chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America, Ken Simonson, will address issues of concern to installers and contractors when he takes to the stage as the keynoter on Tuesday, April 21. His session, “Construction Forecast: What Impact Can You Expect?” will explain how the current economy is affecting the construction industry and provide insight as to how contractors and other industry professionals can strategically respond to shrinking budgets and project delays. Fabricators will also want to add “Estimating 101—Do You Know Your Cost?” to their agendas for Thursday, April 23, conducted by GK Naquin, of Stone Interiors and Michael Twiss, of Columbia Stone Inc. The program will take an in-depth look at how to best evaluate the cost of each component of a business to help beef up the bottom line.
Live demonstrations are back on the Coverings show floor as well. Coordinated by Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), a series of live tile installation demonstrations will provide expert advice and technical support for attendees right on the exhibit floor. Prior installations have included electric warm floors, self-leveling underlayment, shower pans, epoxy floor grout, crack isolation membranes, and other floor and wall installation challenges.
THE ONLINE ADVANTAGE
More than 80 percent of show-goers will take advantage of the Web-driven advance service, attracted by its convenience and ease. “For anyone planning to attend Coverings 2009, the advance online registration from one’s own desktop is the best way to sign up,” said Feder. “And, this year, we’ve added a great new incentive, not only for preregistering online, but also for referring a colleague.”
According to Feder, the newly created “Refer A Colleague” program is aimed at encouraging registered Coverings attendees to recommend the show to business associates or colleagues who have not attended in the past. “When you register,” explained Feder, “you are given a Refer A Colleague code. For every additional new guest you refer who also registers — and actually attends — you are rewarded with 25 shopping points that are redeemable online with your choice of hundreds of top-flight merchants nationwide.” The range of 350 participating Refer A Colleague merchants includes major retail chains such as Target, Home Depot, Zales Jewelers, and even food and entertainment favorites such as AMC Theaters, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Outback Steakhouse.