Key audience segments that rose include distributors, retailers and contractors/installers — reflecting the resurgence of tile and stone consumption across the U.S. More than 22,500 industry professionals came to Coverings 2014, a jump of 3% from last year and 22% from 2011, the last year Coverings was located in Las Vegas. Overall, several key segments saw double-digit increases compared to 2011, particularly for retailers, distributors and fabricators, which were up 12, 16 and 36%, respectively.
Moreover, Coverings extended its footprint to 387,600 square feet of space, utilizing an outdoor pavilion called “The Plaza,” located adjacent to the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. In total, Coverings hosted more than 975 exhibitors.
“Our attendance and exhibitor numbers truly indicate an improvement to the health and vitality of the tile and stone industry in North America,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “With new home sales continuing to rise, and the U.S. tile and stone consumption experiencing a fourth consecutive growth year, attending Coverings was more critical than ever this year.”
Coverings 2014 provided an arena for members of the stone and tile industries to network and view the latest product introductions. Displays ranged from stone and tile collections to fabrication machinery and tooling to installation/maintenance products. The show floor included international pavilions from countries such as Brazil, China, Italy, Spain and Turkey — making it easier for attendees to view material from a certain region.
Live demonstrations also created a buzz on the exhibition floor. The Stone Fabricator’s Alliance performed hands-on work daily in The Cage. Additionally, manufacturers of installation and maintenance products also gave demonstrations regularly throughout the four-day event.
In addition to the exhibit hall, Coverings also offered an extensive five-day educational program, which included 80 free conference sessions. Many of the seminars were geared toward fabricators, including the Fabricator Forum, which you can read about beginning on page 62 of this issue of Stone World.
The MIA held testing for its Accreditation program during the exhibition. To earn MIA Accreditation, a company must complete an intensive, rigorous process that includes documentation of its business and employment practices, letters of recommendation, a written examination and site visits to the facility and completed jobs.
Also, the MIA hosted the first gathering of its new Women in Stone group during Coverings 2014. The purpose of the Women in Stone Initiative is to retain and advance women who have chosen a career in the stone industry, as well as to recruit new women into the stone industry.
While the show floor was filled with activities, Coverings’ celebration of its 25th Anniversary took center stage. From commemorative tiles to vintage-style Coverings T-shirts and the interactive photo booth, the show reverberated with celebration, commencing with the sold-out 25th Anniversary Party at Hyde at the Bellagio. More than 500 attendees reminisced and celebrated while having premium viewing of the hotel’s famous dancing fountain show.
Coverings also offered a preview into the 2015 show with its announcement of a new creative campaign and logo, which are scheduled to appear this summer on the Coverings website and throughout all of the marketing and promotional materials.
Coverings 2015 will be held from April 14 to 17 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.