Looking Around the Corner

These are interesting times we are living through, to say the least. For as long as I can remember in the wood flooring business, I have spent a lot of time looking around the corner to try to predict what was coming our way. For the first time in my life, I can’t seem to see past the end of my nose, and the future seems uncertain.

I have reached out to many friends in the industry to see what they thought was going to happen next. However, there are simply too many factors – prices, demand, international trade, trade shows, employment issues, government support, government interference, and politics.

As a collective, we can see better into the future than looking out our individual office windows. Throughout this challenging year, the NWFA has been active in listening to its members and how they have been impacted. One of the ways the NWFA does this is through Hardwood Floors magazine’s industry outlook survey. While the survey is conducted annually, this year it is especially significant. Don’t we all want to know we’re not alone in what we are experiencing? Don’t we all want to be able to plan for the future again?

It’s no surprise that the results of the 2021 Industry Outlook show that survey respondents are uncertain about next year, with mixed forecasts due to COVID-19. They report their top concerns as the economy, the impact of COVID-19, and the political climate. However, a bright spot is that 41 percent expect sales to grow 3 to 7 percent.

Listening and working together have become especially important during these times. Our partners at the Hardwood Federation have their ears to the ground to ensure we know what is happening in Washington and working to defeat any legislation detrimental to our businesses and our industry. Please consider helping to fund the important work they do on our behalf by visiting hardwoodfederation.com.

Michael Martin, President and CEO of NWFA, is continually interacting with association peers to better understand what industries like ours are thinking and doing. He regularly shares this key information and relevant economic data with members. Information sharing amongst cohorts has proven to be incredibly effective in helping navigate a situation for which we didn’t have an instruction manual.

Together we can cooperate as members of the NWFA to light the way forward in these trying times. The NWFA has your back and is working on getting you the best information to make good decisions for your business – even if it feels like we are in a constant state of recalibration. I encourage all members to be hopeful and to take a moment to read the entire industry outlook here.

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