Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) once again co-located with the North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) here this week for its annual convention. The event not only marked the return to the Windy City since 2016, but it also signaled a return to normalcy attendance-wise.
“We’re back up to where we were in 2019, before the pandemic,” Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president of NAFCD, told FCNews. “We’re also seeing strong participation from first-time exhibitors.”
Out of the 200-plus tabletop vendors present at the event, roughly 40 are here for the first time. “We are thrilled to unite many of North America’s premier distributors and suppliers at the 2022 convention,” Gammonley said. “The event has grown to levels not seen since 2019. There is pent-up demand to reconnect following the pandemic years and our members are ready to gather, learn and develop the partnerships that will take their businesses to the next level.”
In addition to the jam-packed exhibition area, the convention also featured high-powered guest speakers and industry experts. One of the key highlights on opening day was an information presentation by Conor Lokar, economist with ITR Economics. During his talk, Lokar provided an encouraging outlook for the commercial construction industry despite the impact that record-high inflation has had on the residential building market and the US economy overall.
“The bottom is not going to fall out of your business next year; you just have to reset your expectations,” Lokar told attendees. “The macroeconomy is going to be slower in 2023, as we are on the backside of the business cycle—things are slowing down. The good news is we’re on fire on the commercial side, but not on the residential side of the business. We are cruising back toward normal.”
Speakers take center stage
(For more on the NAFCD convention, look for the Nov. 7/14 edition of FCNews.)