Good news, and lots of it

When I was in the news business, we joked about inserting smiley faces into our good-news stories to emphasize to complaining readers how much positive news we carried. I can’t tell you the number of calls and notes I received from people who claimed the paper was full of nothing but negative news.

It wasn’t, of course, but that was many readers’ perception, and we’ve all heard that perceptions become people’s reality.

We never did insert smiley faces, but I’m reminded of those conversations by this issue of Surface & Panel. It’s full of good news in general and especially for the surface and panel and decorative surfaces communities, and I hope readers appreciate all of the positive vibes.

The news is good on several fronts in Jim Leute’s story about the state of the retail furniture market, which starts on page 40. First, two key associations – the Association for Retail Environments and Point of Purchase Advertising International – have merged to form one, stronger group called Shop! focused on enhancing retail environments and experiences.

Second, Bob Rosean, chairman of Shop! and president of TJ Hale of Menomonee Falls, Wis., said industry observers expect the retail fixture market to be up 5 to 10 percent in 2016, a pace that’s been consistent since 2009. That’s healthy growth by anyone’s standards.

The news is also positive from the Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association.

“We are experiencing our sixth to seventh year of modest recovery following the 2008-’09, and companies continue to grow,” Dan Tuohy, past president of BIFMA and chief executive officer of Tuohy Furniture in Chatfield, Minn., tells Leute in a story that starts on page 36.

The good news doesn’t stop with the industry updates. My story on Trek Bicycles, starting on page 8, details how the designer and maker of cutting-edge bicycles came full circle back to thermally fused laminate in a store design that was unveiled this spring and will be rolled out internationally in years to come. The company needed an attractive, durable, cost-effective material that can be replicated from the U.S. to Europe to Asia, and TFL fit the bill. I’m sure that’s no surprise to the people in the industry.

Two other stories should brighten the days of people who make and care about materials such as HPL, TFL MDF and more. Ecco Salon built a new store in Waunakee, Wis., that was a finalist for national salon of the year, and its standout elements include HPL and textured MDF. That story starts on page 24. Meanwhile, the people behind the innovative WeWork co-working spaces have piloted two co-living facilities based on the same concept in New York City and near Washington, D.C., and HPL and TFL are integral materials – for good reason. That story starts on page 30.

Complementing all of that is Don Raymond’s story on advances in embossed-in-register TFL, which is now being called synchro. The innovations add a whole new level of realism to the look of TFL and are being welcomed with open arms by the A&D community, Raymond writes in a Q&A that begins on page 20.

And speaking of good news, let’s not forget the latest on the second annual Surface & Panel Symposium, scheduled for Nov. 6, 7 and 8 in Austin, Texas. The speaker lineup is all but set, highlighted by the king of “Cool Spaces” Stephen Chung, and this symposium offers another great opportunity for attendees to learn about new designs and material uses and network with top people in the business. Read all about it and learn how to register in a story starting on page 6.

No, there are no smiley faces in this edition of Surface & Panel (at least, until our graphic designer did her thing above), but they shouldn't be hard to find on the magazine's readers.

Scott W. Angus/Editorial Director/scottangus47@gmail.com