The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) held its first-ever Virtual Wood Flooring Expo last week. This, after the annual NWFA Wood Flooring Expo, which was scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s certainly the case with this virtual event,” Craig Dupra, President/Owner of Installers Warehouse and Chairman of NWFA, said during his welcome address. “… whether we’re together virtually or in person, the most important thing is that we are coming together.”
Dupra also gave a nod to Wisconsin being home to so many hardwood manufacturers. Some of the NWFA’s Wisconsin manufacturer members were highlighted in the opening session and on the event’s website. You can read about these companies here.
Following the welcome, Dupra joined a discussion about the impacts of COVID-19 on the wood flooring industry. The panel featured Dana Lee Cole, Executive Director of the Hardwood Federation; Michael Martin, President and CEO of NWFA; Chris Zizza, President of C&R Flooring; and Bruce Zwicker, CEO of Zwicker Advisory.
“I think June begins the recovery. If you think about it, it’s a little bit like following the China cycle which is about four months,” Zwicker explained. “They started in January. February was horrible, March wasn’t much better, but got better. By the time they’re in April, they’re running 90 percent capacity in plants … it was about a four-month cycle and I think that’s what we’re seeing here.”
Attendees were able to experience education sessions, technical skills demos, exhibitor product demos, virtual meeting rooms, and attendee/exhibitor appointments from home. There were more than 200 exhibitors, whose products were featured in a robust gallery with videos, photos, press releases, and specials for show attendees.
One popular session was “Problems, Causes, and Cures: Manufacturing vs. Site-Related” with Jon Namba, Owner of Namba Services, and Kjell Nymark, Certification and Training Manager for NWFA.
The presentation focused on ways to identify some of the more-common failures as manufacturing, installation, or site-related issues.
“Problems, Causes, and Cures – this is what inspectors are going to be looking at as well as their wood flooring installation guidelines from NWFA as well as the manufacturer’s guidelines,” Namba advised. “So as an installer, contractor, sales person, it would probably be pretty smart to know what these inspectors out there are looking at to protect yourself as a company and as a business owner.”
The Virtual Expo concluded with the NWFA’s Wood Floor of the Year (WFOY) awards announcement. Endurance Floor Company in Davie, Florida, walked away with the top recognition, as this year’s Members’ Choice winner. View a list of the 2020 award recipients here.
Scroll down to see a full list of the sessions from the Virtual Expo. The NWFA has made these, along with several other pre-recorded sessions, available for viewing at no charge to the wood flooring industry. Click here to watch these recordings.
More than 2,700 wood flooring professionals from across the supply chain registered for the event. Whether via appointments with exhibitors or through the various meeting rooms and happy hours, attendees seemed to welcome the opportunity to engage online with their industry cohorts.
“I just want to say to everyone out there with the times that we’re going through, hang in there. Support the industry, because the industry is supporting you,” Namba stated. “ … I am a small business owner that sees the value of belonging to associations and going through the certifications they offer, to better myself and my company. That’s what this is all about.”
Next year’s NWFA Wood Flooring Expo is scheduled to take place April 28-30, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.
List of NWFA 2020 Virtual Expo Sessions
- Kick-Off – Coronavirus Economic Impact Panel with Dana Lee Cole, Craig Dupra, Michael Martin, Chris Zizza, and Bruce Zwicker
- Adapting to Changing Market Demands with Emily Morrow Finkell
- Color, Styles, and Trends with Christina Rowe and Les Smith
- Pricing for Profit with Chris Zizza
- Problems, Causes & Cures: Manufacturing vs. Site-Related with Jon Namba and Kjell Nymark
- Tools Available to Small Businesses in Times of Crisis with Tammie Clendenning
- Wood Flooring Installation Guidelines Revisions Interactive Q&A with Brett Miller
- Wrap Up and WFOY Winners Announcement with Craig Dupra, Michael Martin, and Brett Miller
Tech Zone Demos
- Bending Techniques with Lenny Hall
- Colors & Finishes with Jason Elquest
- Designing and Installing Custom Borders with John Alford
- Historic Parquet Restoration with Michael Dittmer
- Inlaying with Ben Totta
- American Sanders: Disinfecting Wood Floors and Wire Brush Technique
- Anderson Tuftex
- Bona Moisture Mitigation
- Insights in HARO Quality Flooring Product Range and Install
- MAPEI’s New Solutions for Wood Flooring Installation
- PALLMANN SPIDER
- WOCA: Dustless Refinishing of an Existing Oiled Floor & Cleaning