NWFA’s 2015 Wood Flooring Expo Grows by 15%
The Expo was held April 28 – May 1 at the Edward Jones Dome at the America’s Center in downtown St. Louis. There were more than 20 hours of education in six tracks: Management, Marketing/Sales, Technical Skills, Design, Collaboration, and Legislative. Plus, the daylong NWFA Certified Professionals (NWFACP) Symposium, which took place the day before Expo, provided three more tracks, including an opportunity for wood flooring retail sales professionals to become NWFACP Certified Sales Advisors.
The trade show floor sold out in February, reaching beyond the size of the football field in the dome where the St. Louis Rams play. It included two demonstration theaters, one for exhibitors to showcase products and one for NWFA Regional Instructors to display technical skills. There were 29 more companies on the floor than in 2014 and 49 more than in 2013, with 60 first-time exhibitors this year. Four years after the NWFA overhauled the Expo, rebuilding the show and the show staff from the ground up, the growth continues.
“We are glad to see the upward trend is carrying forward, to see our members and Expo thriving together,” said Michael Martin, NWFA President & CEO. “Success depends on that. While NWFA serves its members to assist their growth, we could not do that well without the active support of our members all year long, and especially as attendees, exhibitors and sponsors at Expo. That the show has grown on average 25% each of these past few years is remarkable. We want to keep the positive momentum going.”
The 2015 Expo theme, “Play it Forward,” focused on growing members’ businesses through service to others. Cause marketing was a topic presented by Martin during the Kickoff General Session in which Gary Sinise, Oscar-nominated actor and founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF), officially launched an ongoing partnership between NWFA and GSF to benefit wounded military veterans.
Keynote speaker Bill Courtney, owner of Classic American Hardwoods in Memphis, TN, and subject of the Oscar-winning documentary, “Undefeated,” presented a passionate call to action to an overflow audience that attended the Kickoff General Session, relating his personal story of “playing it forward,” urging attendees to step outside their comfort zones to create a lasting impact in their communities.
Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith appeared at Expo for the announcement of NWFA’s partnership with the Gateway PGA REACH Foundation, of which he is President. Attendees contributed children’s books and toiletries to The Little Bit Foundation, and participated in two community service flooring projects the day after Expo, one for a wounded veteran through the Joshua Chamberlain Society and one for foster children through Angels’ Arms.
Videos showing Expo highlights are viewable at www.nwfa.tv. Photos are viewable and sharable through the NWFA Facebook page. Information about the 2016 Wood Flooring Expo, which will be held April 27-30 in Charlotte, NC, is at www.nwfaexpo.org.
The NWFA can be contacted at 800.422.4556 (USA & Canada), 636.519.9663 (local and international), or online at www.nwfa.org.