After alternating between Orlando, FL, and Chicago, IL, for most of the past decade,  Coverings 2011 made a shift to Las Vegas, NV, and organizers reported that the move paid off. One of the key objectives in shifting to the new first-time venue this year was to attract more attendees from the West Coast, and there was a 71% increase in attendees from the region.

Overall attendance was reported at 19,000, a slight dip from 2010, with more than 800 exhibitors lining the aisles. “Consensus was that there was a solid return on taking Coverings to Las Vegas,” said Jennifer Hoff, President of Events for National Trade Productions (NTP), which manages and produces Coverings. “We now need to capitalize on the base of West Coast attendees we attracted and figure out how to retain them as returnees as we move forward over the coming decade.”

According to NTP, a measure of the show’s success can be seen in the rate at which exhibitors are renewing for the next edition of Coverings 2012, which will take place from April 17 to 20, 2012, when it returns to Orlando, FL, and the Orange County Convention Center. This year, for the first time, Coverings offered on-site space selection for next year, and 90% of space already has been contracted. In fact, the floor has been expanded to keep up with the demands of those interested in exhibiting.

Stone could be found in all formats at Coverings 2011, including slabs, tiles, architectural pieces and mosaics. Additionally, suppliers of quartz surfacing were also in force at Coverings, showcasing products not seen before in the marketplace. More than 100 first-time Coverings exhibitors appeared this year, and several among them expressed satisfaction with the experience.

In addition to materials, a range of stoneworking machinery and accessories were being exhibited on the show floor, with an emphasis on the equipment and technology used for countertop processing.

Also of interest for the stone fabrication sector, an extensive conference program included many stone-specific sessions, including an open “Fabricator Forum” that will be published in a future issue of Stone World.

Another noteworthy figure coming out of Coverings 2011 was that more than 500,000 pounds of surplus and used tile and stone were ultimately diverted from the dumpsters thanks to the show’s collaboration with Tile Partners for Humanity. Collected from exhibitors after the build of their displays and at the conclusion of the show, these discards are being “recycled” for use in Habitat for Humanity and other worthy building projects undertaken by non-profit community organizations and public agencies benefitting the disadvantaged nationwide. TPFH was aided in the collection by Mountain Re-Source Center.

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