This spring, the Floor Trends team made the journey to Fredericksburg, Texas, where we got the opportunity to meet Blake the Rhino. Mohawk installed SmartStrand carpet in a barn at the Rhinory, where wines and the 4,000-pound white rhinoceros team up for rhino conservation. 

“Our focus is on world-class wines and rhino conservation, allowing you to sip while enjoying the majestic beauty of the second largest land animal on Earth,” said Craig Stevens, owner of the Rhinory. 

We had the opportunity to learn more about the campaign, its goal of helping retailers sell more flooring, and how the Rhinory is making an impact for the Rhino and conservation—all while connecting with younger consumers who are focused on the environment and conservation. Read the story in this issue. 

On the commercial side, we recently spoke with RFCI President and CEO Bill Blackstock who is really optimistic about the upward trajectory of the flooring industry. 

Commercial flooring business continues to stay steady even though a hybrid work environment will continue to exist in many markets. 

“We've had strengthening in the office and hospitality—the business traveler is back," Blackstock said. "Education K through 12 is steady and remained pretty steady through COVID and continues in higher ed. Healthcare on the acute and the senior living side—they had such a hard time during COVID trying to deal with that, but the fundamentals in those two markets of healthcare—acute and senior living—and what's taking place with a human inversion on age is showing good strength there." 

We’re eager to see how these trends will play out at NeoCon in Chicago this year. Follow Floor Trends as we explore the people and companies making an impact through design and innovation in commercial markets this year. 

On that note, be sure to read the new article by Starnet President and CEO Mark Bischoff, who suggests areas of innovation focus that could move the flooring industry forward quickly. These include collaboration, digitization, harnessing data, harnessing artificial intelligence (AI), developing requisite human skills, and cross-functional teams and agile ways of working. 

Other great news: Our sister channel, Floor Covering Installer, has launched its own podcast! FCI On the Floor covers flooring installation tips, tools and technologies for flooring installers. Managing editor Beth Miller will be interviewing installers, contractors and leaders in installation about the hot topics in flooring installation. Her first interview is a must-listen: Erika Reiker who got her start in the military before joining Ecore.