Hospitality Design Expo 2013 in Las Vegas

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on the Hospitality Design Expo 2013 in Las Vegas


Popular Mandalay Bay in Las VegFlorida Tileas recently hosted the Hospitality Design Expo (HD Expo) providing design professionals the opportunity to meet manufacturers, build new relationships, listen to panel discussions and see the newest and best products on the market — all in one place.  With 900 exhibitors and over 7000 attendees this year, the 2013 HD Expo sponsored by Hospitality Design Magazine, welcomed interior designers, architects, owners, developers, specifiers, and product manufacturers from far and wide.

Color, Form and Function
Whether it was spotting the latest natural quartz colors available from Silestone Cosentino, discovering new colors for solid surfaces from Hanwha Surfaces L & C, or gazing upon the latest tile designs from Florida Silestone by ConsentinoTile, attendees were completely surrounded by beautiful products.

Schluter Systems offers innovative installation systems for tile and stone, such as their Schluter-KERDI-LINE, a low profile linear floor drain which enables the use of large-format tiles and creates interesting design opportunities for aging-in-place and handicap accessible bathroom shower options. Exhibitor Tile Redi displayed a wide selection of Ready-to-Tile™ products including one-piece shower pans in a variety of models.

Offering a vast selection in both style and texture in manufactured cast marble, Mincey Marble Manufacturing also has a line of eco-friendly products.  Their new Minceygreen products are made from 30% recycled materials, available to the consumer seeking sustainable home and building products. We were pleasantly surprised to continue to see sustainable products and design strategies represented at every turn.

Of particular interest, we learned more about all subjects related to shower door product design, including how they literally “reinvented the shower door wheel” from the team over at Cardinal Showers.  They hand cast all of their glass in-house while maintaining a large variety of textured glass options.

Furniture Design
Hospitality Design is all about the functionality and aesthetic of the basic things we use every day, carefully designed and assembled to form a pleasing user experience.

We were impressed with the beautiful flooring designs from Interface Hospitality. Their modular carpet tile system reflects smart design combined with flexible practicality.

Outdoor Living
The beautiful weather we found in Las Vegas this week had us dreaming of outdoor living.  In fact, as far as we’re concerned, no outdoor living space is complete without a fireplace.  The team over at Napoleon Fireplaces has already thought of everything you need to enjoy a cozy fire, inside or out.  There are no limits (except maybe your imagination) to where you can put a fireplace these days! Beautiful Danver stainless steel cabinets were also on display, showing the latest features available in attractive and functional outdoor kitchen design, just in time for Memorial Day.

New to HD Expo
Two manufacturers new to this year’s Expo are Artwall and Astek Wallcovering. Artwall is an attractive and versatile prefinished modular architectural wall panel system with application for any type of wall, in many different finishes.  Astek Wallcovering as well, offers a vast array of wallcovering design styles, colors and materials.  They are among the leading providers in specialty wallcovering, featuring advanced digital printing.

Authentic Pine FloorsAn HD Expo 2013 show highlight was the beautiful reclaimed wood available from Authentic Pine Floors; along with the interesting stories to match.  So much history.  So much beauty. For more than 20 years, HD Expo has been the premier trade show for the hospitality design industry showcasing the newest and most innovative products and services in Las Vegas each May. We had a great time again at HD Expo 2013 this year, and look forward to returning in 2014 – see you there!

Learning from Sub-Zero Wolf and Wall Street

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Learning from Sub-Zero Wolf and Wall Street


This month, Kleber & Associates was thrilled to launch the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting of the new Atlanta flagship Sub-Zero and Wolf Appliance $4 million showroom. Enveloped in sprawling floor-to-ceiling windows, the 11,000 square foot state of the art facility is equipped with a live demo kitchen, advanced audiovisual training and a large lifestyle area featuring a live fire pit, wine grotto and private dining room. As industry leaders in refrigeration, wine storage and cooking equipment, the expansive showcase does much more than display the latest Sub-Zero and Wolf products. It is truly a destination for designers, architects and homeowners to gather and gain inspiration for one of the most important rooms of the home.

The S&P Homebuilding Stocks index is now up 43% this year… 125% above its October low. In fact MDC, Standard Pacific and Beazer Homes this past week reported combined over 2,000 homes closed in Q1, up from some 1,500 year-over-year. What’s more, new orders for the trio were up 1,000 from a year earlier!

It’s safe to say that when so much convincing evidence is being leveraged from the biggest and brightest in the space, our channel is clearly well on its way to increasing traction. It would be our pleasure to discuss your unique opportunities to drive success, as we near PCBC next month!

K&A EXPANDS MEDIA INTEGRATION DIVISON

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! K&A EXPANDS MEDIA INTEGRATION DIVISON. Here’s the latest.


New Client Partners Leverage Agency’s Interactive and Broadcast Initiatives

ATLANTA (October 2011) – Kleber & Associates (K&A), an Atlanta-based integrated marketing and communications firm specializing in the home and commercial building products channel, recently announced its latest client partnerships:On The House, a national radio show hosted by the Carey Brothers, and Cadreas, an online community that aggregates and organizes critical content from and for all construction project participants.

The expansion of K&A’s Media Integration Division provides its current clients the opportunity to cross-promote their products and services across new broadcast and interactive platforms.

“Specializing in home and building products, it was a logical progression to expand K&A’s resume to include clients who also specialize in this industry channel,” said Steven Kleber, president and founder of K&A.

The agency’s partnership with On The House will primarily include external communication support and design.

“Steve and the K&A team are constant sources of information and energy in the home and building market,” said James Carey, co-host of On The House. “My brother, Morris, and I are pleased to be working with them in a strategic partnership as we combine our mutual passions for industry growth and community.”

The Carey brothers share their 55+ years of experience as award-winning, licensed contractors with millions of people nationwide through a weekly radio program and syndicated newspaper column, both titled On The House. The Carey Brothers’ Associated Press syndicated newspaper column, four-hour radio broadcast and daily radio vignette offer audiences money-saving tips on building, remodeling and repairing homes.

K&A will also play an integral role in growing Cadreas’ online brand presence, providing a marketing strategy and assisting with social media efforts.

Being a source for all data needed for improving design and building project outcomes, Cadreas offers these amenities via a well-organized and easily searchable database on one website with tools that improve the value of the content.

“In today’s economy, it’s crucial to have a strategic marketing partner who knows how to reach our target audiences,” said Steve Goold, vice president of Cadreas.“We chose to launch our partnership with K&A because of their extensive marketing experience, industry knowledge and reputation in the promotion of aspirational home product brands.”

“I’m thrilled about our partnerships with both On The House and Cadreas,” commented Steven Kleber. “Both offer unique perspectives and opportunities to connect those in our industry for a greater good. As an agency, we aim to help promote and grow awareness of both brands.”

 

About Kleber & Associates
Kleber & Associates focuses on brand development for clients in the home and commercial building products marketplace. An independent agency with more than 24 years of measurable results, K&A is committed to providing its clients with everyday marketing value while maximizing their marketing return on investment. For more information, please visit www.kleberandassociates.com or call 770-518-1000.

 

About On The House With The Carey Bros.

James Carey and Morris Carey, known as the Carey Bros., are nationally-recognized experts on home building and renovation. They share their 55+ years of experience as award-winning, licensed contractors with millions of people nationwide through a weekly radio program and syndicated newspaper column both titled On The House.  For more information, please visit www.onthehouse.com.

 

About Cadreas

Cadreas is the design and building industry’s online community. Cadreas aggregates and organizes critical content from and for all construction project participants: manufacturers; distributors; retailers; design companies; build companies; property owners; property managers; developers; trade, green and award associations; municipalities; utilities; and service providers such as banks, insurance companies, appraisers and inspectors. For more information, please visit www.cadreas.com.

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Hand Over Your Wallet…to Google?

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Hand Over Your Wallet…to Google? .Here’s the latest.


First we bartered, then we used cash, now plastic. What’s the next big change in commerce? How about your phone? If Google has its way, in just a few short years we’ll all be using smartphones to pay for everything from clothes and food to furniture and homes.

Google recently announced the latest installment in its long line of innovations and applications. Google Wallet promises to revolutionize the way we do business by putting our debit and credit cards, coupons, and loyalty cards all in one place, easily used with just one tap of your phone. Google’s vision? To eventually replace wallets with phones. In the future, the company hopes that Google Wallet will store not only all your credit cards, but your gift cards, receipts, boarding passes, tickets, and keys as well! When you’re ready to purchase something with your Google Wallet, simply tap your phone on the payment receiver at checkout. Google Wallet will automatically apply any saved offers you have for the retailer as well as loyalty points.

Google WalletGoogle Wallet is designed to make the checkout experience easier and faster for customers, but what does it mean to merchants? Along with Google Wallet, Google is releasing Google Offers, which will allow businesses to send discounts and coupons directly to customers’ phones.

On its initial release, Google Wallet will utilize the MasterCard PayPass system, but Google is working to develop its own SingleTap checkout system. Initially available on certain Android phones, you can be sure Google is working to bring Wallet to every mobile device. And while the digital wallet currently will only use Citi MasterCard and Google Prepaid cards, Google expects to eventually support all cards.

Retailers like Macy’s, Subway, American Eagle, and Walgreens have already signed on to accept Google Wallet, and retailers who currently accept MasterCard PayPass (including Home Depot, CVS, BP, and Office Depot) will also be capable of using Google Wallet.

As more home improvement companies begin to accept Google Wallet, advertising opportunities for home products will rapidly increase. And who knows, someday you could be paying your plumber, electrician, and even your contractor through the convenience of your phone!

Are you ready to trade in your leather wallet for a shiny smartphone? Do you think offers and discounts on smartphones will be an effective way to engage customers?

The kitchen is a purchasing benchmark

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog!The kitchen is a purchasing benchmark.   Here’s the latest.

 


I remember a few years back, diamond distributor De Beers had a billboard which read, “Your kitchen can wait.” The point being, buy diamonds now… invest in your kitchen later. The kitchen was – and arguably still is – the benchmark by which we measure major purchases.

Most of us know the most expensive rooms of the home are often the kitchen and the bathroom. You’ve probably even wrestled with it yourself: Do we take a vacation, or do we remodel the kitchen? Which should we put off until later – a new car or the kitchen? And understandably so, as a remodel for the home’s most frequently used room can be quite pricey.

Advertisers have taken this approach as well. Take, for example, Bud Light’s commercial portraying a kitchen “remodel.” Of course, this takes a humorous and exaggerated approach, but it’s important to note the room in question.

We’ve put the kitchen on a pedestal. So shouldn’t significant research, innovation, helpful information, and marketing dollars go toward keeping it there?

Febreze Profiting from New Market Trends

A recent Wall Street Journal article announced that Febreze has joined the “$1 Billion Club,” noting the company’s recent success. While the housing market has certainly brought a lot of home products down with it, certain small aspects of daily home life are in fact flourishing. Febreze has managed to prosper during a stark decline in the industry, which has some people in the field scratching their heads.

What caused the trend? Some experts have suggested that more people are spending more time in their homes as a way to save money; as part of the aftermath of the recession, eating out less, driving less and spending less time at the mall have become increasingly important for a lot of families. Still, data suggest that people still splurge from time to time… just not in  the same ways.

Many families have started to spend their money on accessories for the home, giving reason to Febreze defying market trends lately with its recent profit gains. It seems perfectly reasonable that a family that spends most evenings indoors will want the home to look, feel and, as we’re seeing now, smell nice. The recent movement to all things green may also be at play here, as Febreze has been effectively labeled as a green product: simple and clean.

This news confirms the fact that Procter & Gamble are on a serious roll. The company reported just last year that it had acquired Ambi Pur, which would allow the corporate giant to spread its fresh air from 17 countries to 84. The expansion may prove to be a wonderful business decision, since many developing markets have been showing an ever-increasing demand for products like Febreze, which has helped to offset the slump in sales surrounding more developed markets.

Regardless of what the future holds for Febreze, businesses and consumers should take note: new consumer trends are reshaping industries in unexpected ways. This could be just the kind of push back that the home product market needs.

Top 20 Building Product Brands to Follow on Twitter

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on the Top 20 Building Product Brands to Follow on Twitter


For quite some time, I’ve had a running list on Twitter of home and building products, experts and influencers. This gives me a quick reference to a specialized group of people and brands that focus completely on the home. When managed correctly, brands can take on their own personality within social media platforms just as well as individuals can. I’ve listed what I consider some of the most active and engaging brands here, but would love to hear your thoughts and add to the list. What are your favorite home brands to follow?

1.   Hafele (@hafeleamerica) – Cabinet, door, furniture and kitchen hardware

2.   Pella (@Pella_News) – Windows and doors

3.   Rinnai (@Rinnai) – Energy efficient water heating appliances

4.   WarmlyYours (@WarmlyYours) – Radiant floor heating

5.   Amtico International (@AmticoFlooring)

6.   DANVER (@outdoorkitchns) – Stainless steel cabinetry for outdoor kitchens

7.   Dacor Appliances (@DacorKitchen) – Luxury kitchen appliances

8.   YKK AP (@YKKAPAmerica) – Aluminum building products and wall systems

9.   Teragren Bamboo (@Teragren) – Bamboo flooring, countertops and panels

10.   Elmira (@ElmiraStoves) – Retro and antique appliances

11.   WoodTrac (@Wood_Trac) – Unique ceiling systems

12.   Crown Point Cabinetry (@crwnptcabinetry) – Custom, handcrafted cabinetry (The company also often uses Carlisle Wide Plank Floors (@CarlisleFloor) wood to build its products.)

13.   Gerber (@GerberPlumbing) – The plumbers’ brand for plumbing fixtures and faucets

14.   Columbia Forest Products (@PureBond) – Hardwood plywood technology

15.   ThermaSol Steam (@thermasol) – Steam showers

16.   IceStone (@IceStoneLLC) – Recycled glass and cement surfaces

17.   Hy-Lite / U.S. Block (@HyLite_Windows) – Block windows and decorative glass

18.   KraftMaid Cabinetry (@KraftMaid) – Semi-custom cabinetry

19.   Native Trails (@Native_Trails) – Artisan crafted sinks and tubs

20.   Nichiha (@nichiha) – Fiber cement siding

Follow me on Twitter @stevekleber

Investors Gain Positive Opportunities in Housing

According to a recent article on Seeking Alpha, there is good news for investors—the housing sector is rising. As the following charts show, the lowest period for this sector was in July and September of last year. Since then, the index has been moving back toward the April 2010 high.

The first chart shows the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX) Housing Sector Index (HGX), which is comprised of companies in the building and remodeling of residential homes, mortgage insurers and suppliers of building material. As you can see, the index has been steadily increasing.

This chart shows the Dow Jones Home Construction Index, which has a similar increase in recent months. A move back to the April high of 333 would offer a gain of nearly 15% for investors.

The final chart shows the SPDRs Homebuilders ETF (XHB), which represents the homebuilding sub-industry portion of the S&P Total Markets Index. The S&P TMI tracks all of U.S. common stocks listed on NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ National Market and NASDAQ Small Cap Exchanges. An increase is also visible on this chart, and the move above $18.50 is a break from the five week consolidation.

What do these charts mean? They mean that the housing market is going to be giving investors some pretty good opportunities over the next few months.

If these charts don’t give enough proof, the rise in stock prices for companies such as Mohawk Industries and Lowe’s Companies does. These stocks are either on top of the range or breaking through the top of the range.

If those numbers don’t raise your confidence, you should know that on February 16 housing statistics for January were 596,000… way above the expected 520,000.

As the recovery makes progress, the housing sector will continue to rise. So, if you are willing to do some work and put in some time, invest in these opportunities.

Note: images modified from SeekingAlpha.com.

Housing affordability hits record high

Offering another reason to believe the housing industry – and economy as a whole – is strengthening, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index reported that nationwide housing affordability has reached a record high.

Based on households earning the national median income of $64,400, 2010’s fourth quarter saw a record level of 73.9 percent affordability… the highest it’s been in the 20 years of the index’s existence.

Why remodeling is seeing significant growth

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Why remodeling is seeing significant growth


When Harvard issues a report, people listen. Last month, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies issued a study entitled “A New Decade of Growth for Remodeling.” The paper claims that “slowly but surely, the US home improvement industry is emerging from its worst downturn since the government began tracking spending in the early 1960s. Homeowners who deferred maintenance and improvements during the recession may soon start to spend more freely.” The study indicates that “spending on smaller projects–often to replace older features or upgrade basic systems–is expected to increase in share.”

Do industry insiders agree with Harvard’s somewhat positive outlook for the remodeling industry? K&A’s research shows that many do.

BizziBid.com, a national home improvement and remodeling website, is reporting a significant uptick in activity for January and early February. The number of homeowners requesting licensed remodeling contractors and free home improvement estimates this month far exceeds the number seeking home improvements and remodeling information through the site a year ago, the company said.

The Wall Street Journal claims, in an article entitled “No McMansions for Millennials”, that 20- and 30-somethings want the following things in home: larger shower stalls instead of tubs, open living rooms instead of formal dining rooms, and casual outdoor spaces. How will they achieve this type of space? Well, they can either buy a newer home with these elements or they can remodel an existing home, perhaps one they already inhabit and are having a difficult time selling. People of all ages – not just first-time homebuyers – are now looking for spaces that accommodate their active lifestyles; they’re looking for quality over quantity… without attempting to impress the Joneses with monuments.