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First Expo proves to be a big success

The CFJ Online Flooring Expo which took place on Thursday 1 July
was CFJ’s answer to a world turned upside-down by the pandemic.

THERE were glitches. But of course there were going to be glitches. Hardly anything is completely ever glitch-free, especially when it involves technology in the 21st century. Yes, there was room for improvement, clearly indicated by some of the reviews. But overall, the inaugural CFJ Online Flooring Expo proved to be successful.

Most of those CFJ spoke to afterwards felt that despite some minor initial setbacks, the expo has potential. In fact, when you think about it, it’s surprising it hasn’t been done before. What better way to utilise the technology available to us (even before the pandemic) than by helping it make our lives more convenient.

The idea to move an exhibition online (or simply to create a brand new version of an event) so visitors didn’t have to leave the comfort of their own homes or offices would’ve sounded utopian 10 years ago. But now everything is changing, and the pandemic has helped provide the momentum for that change.

Of course, technology does bring with it some dangers that a ‘real-life’ exhibition would not, such as bugs in the system and the sometimes erratic nature of our online world. But, by and large, most people are sufficiently augmented in our current virtual reality, and they understand that the online world isn’t perfect. Yet.

Another added element of the expo which worked well was the main stage and demonstration zones. Here, hosted by the Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA) at its Loughborough facility, demonstrations took place on several aspects of flooring including carpets, linoleum and LVT.

To top it off, we had a demonstration of 3D floor art from Paddy McNicholas of McNicholas Flooring. Paddy travelled up from Wolverhampton to demonstrate his expertise, and his exemplary work continued throughout the day, providing a thread of continuity for the expo.

Viewing figures show that the main stage was a particular draw for many, probably owing to the fact they could see what qualified flooring trainers had to say about the event.

During a breakout session between 3-4pm, the Sustainability Summit was held. Chaired by Doug Morwood, it consisted of Construction Products Association (CPA0 sustainability policy advisor, Jane Thornback; Richard McKinlay, head of consulting at AXION; and Adnan Zeb-Khan, manager of Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK), and explored subjects around sustainability in the flooring industry.

Unfortunately, Carl Harper, managing director at Westcotes Flooring, was unable to make the summit owing to an accident the day before. CFJ wishes Carl a speedy recovery, and we hope we can see him at next year’s summit.

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