I am sitting down in the Orlando airport as I type this, and my feet and legs have never been so thankful. I just left the International Builders Show (IBS) after four days of being on my feet and it feels good to sit down!
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the IBS is the premiere national building tradeshow. For four days in February hundreds of building products manufacturers and home décor vendors set up amazing booths featuring their products, and homeowners and contractors come from around the world to find what products are right for them. The show is huge and takes days to walk through it all.
We have been hearing that the building industry is in decline in the US but from what I saw the reports of these deaths are being greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain.
The floor this year was packed with visitors. It wasn’t like the heyday of the IBS in 2002-2006 but this year’s show had a much different feel than last year. I talked with many people while manning the DaVinci booth and there were others in the hall that I struck up conversations with. What I heard was optimism. Contractors were again talking about building spec houses. Homeowners were talking about building their dream home. Vendors were talking about a very promising outlook with sales.
Walking these floors is a good way to stay on top of trends and to see all the new products that are available. The DaVinci Roofscapes booth for example was showing their Bellaforté tile which has a great new look at a lower price point. DaVinci also is offering to let homeowners customize their steep slope roofing tile color. DaVinci allows folks to choose from standard 49 colors to make their own color blend that is just right for them.
Although I was excited with the crowds and all the optimism at the show I’m not so naïve as to think it’s going to be easy for building industry. The economy stinks, and we all know it. But if the crowds and the energy at show were any indication I expect big things in 2012.
My time in Orlando was fun, inspiring, and exhausting. After three days of walking and standing I have a whole new appreciation for folks whose jobs require them to be on their feet. So to all of you who work in retail, manufacturing, health care, food service, and more--I stand and salute you.
And now I’m going to sit back down.