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Surface Fabrication and Design Expo 2008 Review – Las Vegas, Nevada

There was much speculation as to the attendance number at this year’s show.  Is the show sustainable?  Would exhibitors receive a worthwhile return on their investment?  Would the seminars be of caliber to invoke interest to fabricators, designers, and specifiers.   View Photo Slideshow  CLICK HERE

First things first – Yes, from what I could see, attendance was down this year, continuing a trend from 2007. That being said, less traffic did not necessarily translate into less orders or potential orders in the near term. A significant number of exhibitors did report that attending the show was worthwhile for them, receiving enough orders to justify their presence. A more intimate experience between exhibitors and serious potential buyers was the mood.

The seminars were well attended. Reports indicate that some were standing room only, while others ranged from 50% capacity or greater. . There was substantial interest in Green products, solid surface commercial design applications, and sales seminars. 

Cygnus also made a wise decision in streamlining the opening night dinner at the Hilton, which was the same location as the seminars. It was likely the reason for the large turnout. Bringing everyone to the same location directly after the seminars made a lot of sense. No need to travel to an offsite location to meet all the people in the industry. 

Russ Lee orchestrated a welcomed change in the way seminars were presented. Focusing on the fabricators, Lee made it possible to follow a set course to receive the training needed for your business. Three separate tracks for new, intermediate and seasoned fabricators were laid out so fabricators could attend the appropriate classes without time conflicts. 

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Integra Party… great times. That is really what this show is all about. Meeting everyone in the industry and sharing ideas makes this industry unique. Chad, Ray, Wade, Doug and Clay made it all possible. Thanks for inviting the FabNet members and opening up your suite for all to enjoy. 

The Cygnus Design Contest with over 30 entries was a huge success. The designs ranged from small art pieces to large scale building structures. Andy entered an Adirondack Chair made with the donations from EOS and Integra. Unfortunately the chair did not fare so well. From the constant use, the bottom slats finally gave way and broke. 

Nine categories winners are:

Freestyle/Art
Artist: Tom Pinske
Company/Sponsor: The Pinske Edge
Title: Domino Effect  

Integral Sink/Drainboard
Artist Name: Alex Vitet
Company/Sponsor: Sterling Surfaces
Title: Antelope Bath

Inlay
Artist Name: David Rockwell
Company/Sponsor: Sterling Surfaces
Title: Gold Grain Table Set

Best in Show

Artist Name: David Rockwell
Company/Sponsor: Sterling Surfaces
Title: Gold Grain Table Set

Freestyle/Art
Artist Name: Martin Funck
Company/Sponsor: Rosskopi & Partner
Title: Leonardo GlassCube

Residential Kitchen

Artist Name: Danielle Martin
Company/Sponsor: Fabricators Unlimited, Inc.
Title: Spring Feaver

Residential Bath

Artist Name: Tom Theobald & Ben Hammond
Company/Sponsor: Stone Technics
Title: Rifenberg Master Bath 

Commercial/Institutional
Artist Name: Amy Tasch
Company/Sponsor: Innovative Surfaces, Inc.
Title: Mayo 16 Pediatrics, Rochester, MN

Best in Show
Artist Name: Martin Funck
Company/Sponsor: Rosskopi & Partner
Title: Leonardo GlassCube 

I walked the show both Friday and Saturday, looking for something new and different. Some notable items that peaked my interest: 

The Fabricator Network.com featured a Live video feed so everyone could see the show. Although a bit choppy, the live feed proved to be a hit with FabNet members. 

Grifform introduced a new line of thermoformed sinks in all the colors of Corian® to offer designers complimenting color and pattern choices. NAHB Certified pourable resins are now available in half pint quantities in standard colors, and can also be matched to Sherwin Williams paint colors as a convenience to designers and consumers alike. 

Spectra Design, Inc. introduced SpectraStone, a new solid surface with a “twist”. Rather than ordinary particulate, strands of particulate are distributed throughout the sheet. 

Gruber had acrylic garden tubs and jetted tubs on display by Salure. They also offer a bath and kitchen sinks. 

Dani Designs was showcasing his new quartz polishing system. It appears he has found a breakthrough to polish quartz surfacing.

Monument Toolworks had their Gorilla Grips which are amazing.  I didn't realize the Gorilla Grips had the ability to spread the stone apart as well. 

A huge thank you goes out to all the vendors and fabricators that participated and showed their support for industry. Hope to see you at the show next year.

About the Author: Norm Walters is the owner and operator of Norm Walters Construction, Inc. in Tampa Florida that specializes in Residential Home Remodeling, Solid Surface fabrication and installation. Norm can be reached at na246@aol.com  . Visit his website www.normwaltersconstruction.com

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