The International Woodworking Fair (IWF) returned to Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center last week for the first time in four years (the 2020 show was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). More than 900 exhibitors filled the halls to showcase the latest products and services during North America’s largest woodworking technology and design trade show and conference. Many companies with flooring-related products were represented, including NWFA members who exhibited at this year’s show.
“The traffic has been great,” said Dave Bower, vice president of marketing for NWH. “I think people are excited about the industry and what’s going on in the market, even though the market has softened a little bit, but I think people are still very optimistic about the future of our industry, the future of wood, and how we can keep going forward.”
Bower and the NWH team at IWF highlighted the company’s rebrand of Northwest Hardwoods, which was announced last week. In addition to the shortened company name, there is a new website, logo, and tagline, “Simple. Natural. Hardwoods.”
“Northwest Hardwoods has been around for 55 years. We were founded in the Northwest, but we’ve grown and expanded, and now we are an international company,” explained Bower. “We really wanted to evolve the company name and our brand, building on our legacy and also appealing to a broader audience.”
Over at Sherwin-Williams’ booth, the team was focused on trends, as they shared the 2023 Color Mix Trend Forecast for Industrial Wood Markets. It is all about the earth, and presents a “Terra” theme of 32 trending stain colors and finishes in four collections – Biome, Lore, Nexus, and Origin.
“We have identified four megatrends for flooring,” noted Lauren West, Global Color and Design Center director for Sherwin-Williams. “They are bleach blonde and fumed, a light fawn color, a lovely dark chocolate brown that’s uptrending, and then some fun things such as adding pearl essence, or a different type of effect like a cerusing or a mica. These effects could help move light around the room and we are keeping that in mind not only for residential, but for contract and hospitality using it in wayfinding in very large architectural spaces.”
Sherwin-Williams’ color experts added that colors are trending warmer and European influence is bringing a more streamlined style.
“Gloss sheen levels seem to be going up,” said Eric Crosby, color material finish expert for Sherwin-Williams. “For the past five to 10 years, it has been between five and 10 sheen, very dry. Now people are talking about 20 all the way up to 60 sheen.”
Tom Laurenzi, CEO of Delmhorst Instrument Co. noted they released a new product at IWF, and that traffic on the floor had been steady.
“We are launching our new JX-20 and JX-30 moisture meters out of our Navigator line,” said Laurenzi. “They feature a large dashboard-like display with all of the information that you really need to see on screen at one time. The JX-30 has Bluetooth, which allows you to connect to our new app that expands the functionality of the meter by allowing you to import many more species than you would have built into the meter.”
In terms of how things are looking for the industry, Laurenzi said attendees on the trade show floor were optimistic.
“Most people have told us that business is on the upswing and people are excited about what the future holds despite what our economy is doing at the moment in terms of inflation and so forth,” he explained. “There’s a lot of positive, upbeat attitude about what the future looks like.”
Additionally, Cameron Automation won an IWF 2022 Challengers Distinguished Achievement Award for its Flooring Nester. The announcement stated that this machine has graders, which feed random lengths of material into one end of the machine, and releases a consistent, nested bundle of floor out of the opposite end. From the original field of 86 IWF 2022 Challengers Award contestants, 20 finalists were selected, and seven winners were announced.
For more information about IWF, visit iwfatlanta.com.