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Coverings comes of age
The first iteration of Coverings took place in 1990 in Anaheim, CA, when Tile Expo and The World Exposition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings merged -- creating The International Tile Exposition, which later became the International Tile and Stone Exhibition, and eventually Coverings. By all accounts the show was a huge achievement, met with enthusiasm and excitement from the first several hundred exhibitors. The inaugural show also accomplished something no one in the industry had been able to do -- unite five industry associations under one umbrella: The Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA),Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer's Association (ASCER),Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA)and The Tile Council of North America (TCNA).
"It seems nearly impossible that it has been 25 years since my first show," said Inma Roca, Coverings Board Member and representative from Tile of Spain. "The show unquestionably hit the mark -- finally there was a trade show, and not just an industry conference format event, in North America."
Since that first show, Coverings has become one of the largest and most important international platforms for the tile and stone industry in the U.S., with more than 900 exhibitors as well as more than 70 conference sessions and a myriad of networking events annually -- all for free.
"When I look back and see how Coverings has progressed over the years, these words by Peter Drucker come to mind: 'Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision,'" said Luciano Galassini, Coverings Board Member and Deputy Director General of Confindustria Ceramica. "By joining forces with other tile associations and creating a trade show run by the industry, we've been able to transform the tile market in the U.S. Many things have changed over 25 years, but the show continues to be the best tool for promoting tile in America among distributors, contractors, specifiers and consumers."
Coverings catapults industry growth
The growth of Coverings, however, has come with limitations. While Anaheim proved to be a popular venue in the show's early years, the sheer size of Coverings restricts the locations where it can take place, which currently includes convention centers in Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlanta and Chicago.
"Each year, we seek to produce a show that is more outstanding, impactful and memorable than the last," said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. "Coverings exhibitors continually showcase outstanding products and inventive booths with international flair, like no other trade show in the U.S. Paired with the most comprehensive educational track and numerous networking opportunities, Coverings continues to provide the platform that the industry relies on to thrive and continue its success all year long."
Svend Hovmand, Coverings Board Member and representative of the Tile Council of North America, added, "Since inception, Coverings has been about people and education -- and over the years, the show has only improved. Coverings has evolved to showcase truly impressive booths, brilliant products, live installation demonstrations, and equally important, our educational track. As tile and stone have become essential to the overall architecture and design of many spaces, Coverings remains critical to fulfilling industry demand."