Thursday, January 28, 2010

CARE’s Jeremy Stroop in Carpet Pie Fight

Jeremy Stroop, CARE, as the carpet pie fight begins

Getting His Just Desserts? CARE’s Jeremy Stroop Takes a Pie in the Face for Carpet Recycling



Jeremy Stroop is a favorite around the Carpet and Rug Institute building. Although he officially works for the Carpet America Recovery Effort as its operations manager, his office is only two doors down from mine, and when he is not on the road traveling on behalf of CARE, he is always at work and always busy. He is known for his red hair, infectious cheerfulness, and offbeat sense of humor. So I wasn’t surprised when he told me he had signed up to participate in the world’s biggest pie fight at Shaw’s Dallas Market show - of course he had – the Jeremy I know is always up for a challenge. He is also very community oriented and he liked the fact that, as part of the Guinness Record-setting pie fight celebration, Shaw was making a donation to the hunger relief agency Feeding America – enough to provide 70,000 meals.

Jeremy was in Dallas at the Shaw show because CARE has been offering a special membership opportunity to selected commercial and residential carpet retailers around the U.S. (see the blog post about StarNet dealers joining CARE). As part of the membership promotion, Jeremy has traveled to several manufacturers’ market events, including Shaw’s Dallas market, which is where the pie fight was held on Jan 7, 2010.


Jeremy Stroop survives pie fight

Jeremy after the pie fight.



“It was fun,” Jeremy said of the experience. “I got chocolate in my ears and cherries in my hair, but in spite of the mess, it was just good, clean fun.

My five year-old likes the pictures of me covered with pie – except now he wants to have a pie thrown-down of our own at home!”

Thanks for all you do, Jeremy – we appreciate you!

~Bethany

The carpet after the pie fight...

Carpet post pie fight

Watch the video of the entire pie fight on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CRI Co-Sponsors Georgia Legislative Reception

Representatives Dickson, Thomas, and Williams hold the 2010 legislative commemorative rug

Carpet and Rug Institute Co-Sponsors Annual Georgia Legislative Appreciation Reception



The Carpet and Rug Institute [CRI] and Dalton Whitfield Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Dalton/Whitfield Legislative Appreciation Reception on Monday, January 11, 2010 at The Freight Room in downtown Atlanta. This was the tenth year of the popular event that is always held on the first day of the Georgia legislative session. Three hundred and twenty people attended, including Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, State School Superintendent Kathy Cox, Insurance Commissioner and Gubernatorial hopeful John Oxendine, U.S. Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, and newly-elected Georgia House Speaker David Ralston. Local representatives Tom Dickson, Don Thomas, and Roger Williams also attended the reception, as well as various state and local dignitaries.

Per tradition, guests were presented with commemorative rugs depicting classic Georgia scenes and symbols that were designed and manufactured in Dalton. This year’s rug design featured a Georgia Live Oak, the Georgia State Tree. Past years’ included a Cherokee Rose, the Georgia Capitol dome, and the state seal.

During the reception, CRI President Werner Braun said he took the opportunity to voice his support to delegates for several issues, including funding for a northern connector between Interstates 75 and 85 and continued funding for the Traditional Industries’ Program.

The legislative reception helps us reinforce the message that Northwest Georgia is a powerful economic engine for Georgia,” said CRI Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Frank Hurd. “CRI and the Dalton/Whitfield Chamber are strong partners – we want our elected officials to be reminded that, even in hard economic times, effective economic development is essential.”

~Bethany


Photo credit:
Representatives Dickson, Thomas, and Williams hold the 2010 legislative commemorative rug as shown in the January 2010 issue of Chamber Link.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Carpet Cleaning Standards Part 2: CRI SOA Story

Professional Testing Laboratories’ President Gary Asbury

CRI Seal of Approval Formulas for Success



High Test Standards Improve Carpet Cleaning Product Performance: Part 2

[Link to Part 1 of this conversation]

This is the second of two conversations I had with Professional Testing Laboratories’ President Gary Asbury talking about his experience with how Seal of Approval testing helps manufacturers of failed cleaning solutions improve their product formulas so that they pass the second time through. It is a frequent claim here at the Carpet and Rug Institute that the Seal of Approval (SOA) testing and certification program for carpet cleaning solutions and equipment was developed primarily to increase customer satisfaction with carpet by raising the bar on cleaning performance – and there is no one more able to assert the truth of that than Gary Asbury and the rest of his team at Professional Testing Laboratories.

The most significant testimony to the success of any testing program lies in its power to shape product performance, right? What good is a standard if everyone can pass it? CRI’s claim that “Only the Best Pass the Test”, is a statement we stand behind.

Last time, Gary talked about a manufacturer who didn’t use his product’s SOA failure as a teachable moment for product improvement, but today he relates some more positive examples.

“A large commercial cleaning solution manufacturer presented its product to PTL for Seal of Approval testing. The company had been doing its own performance testing on their product – which is commendable of them, but the problem was, they had only been comparing their product against their number one competitor, and the competition’s product had a horrible problem with accelerated resoiling. Accelerated resoiling happens when a carpet cleaning solution leaves a sticky residue behind that acts like a dirt magnet. The first manufacturer’s product performed better than its competition in terms of resoiling, but it was a far cry from being at a level that would meet the Seal of Approval requirements.

After receiving their failure notice, the first manufacturer was astounded. But, after looking at the test results and seeing the problem, they went back to the drawing board, and within three months, they had reformulated and passed the testing.

Another time, a huge carpet cleaning retail supplier had a product that failed the colorfastness testing. We’d tested their product on over two dozen fiber types, colors, and constructions of carpet, and the testing definitely showed their product caused a significant color change in the carpet after it was exposed to light. This was a major concern – a big manufacturer with a lot on the line. Within a week of the failure notice, the company sent a private jet to Dalton with five of their top executives on board. In two months the problem was solved.

One more example - several years ago, a fairly high-level executive from a major retail chain visited PTL to look at our testing methods and tour the facility. He was impressed with the lab, and particularly impressed with the Seal of Approval program itself. The day after he left, he contacted every one of his suppliers and told them to submit their products for Seal of Approval testing. It was a powerful testimony to the value of the program.”

Located in Dalton, Georgia, Professional Testing Labs is an ISO 14025 and NVLAP-certified lab that has provided federally-certified test results for all types of flooring manufacturers since 1988. In 2009, PTL performed more than 3000 batteries of tests, at an average of five tests per battery.

Thanks, Gary!

~Bethany

Photo caption:
Professional Testing Laboratories’ President Gary Asbury receives the Joseph J. Smrekar Memorial Award during CRI’s 2009 Annual Membership Meeting.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carpet Cleaning Standards: CRI SOA Success Story

Professional Testing Laboratories’ President Gary Asbury

CRI Seal of Approval Formulas for Carpet Cleaning Success



High Test Standards Improve Carpet Cleaning Product Performance



It is a frequent claim here at the Carpet and Rug Institute that the Seal of Approval (SOA) testing and certification program for carpet cleaning solutions and equipment was developed primarily to increase customer satisfaction with carpet by raising the bar on cleaning performance. The rationale behind the SOA program is captured in CRI President Werner Braun’s trademark statement, “If you can measure it, you can improve it.”

The most significant testimony to the success of any testing program lies in its power to shape product performance. What good is a standard if everyone can pass it? CRI’s claim that “Only the Best Pass the Test, is a statement we stand behind, and CRI touts the benefits of using SOA products and Service Providers in multiple marketing efforts, including the CRI blog. We celebrate every product that passes SOA testing; no more so than when a once-failing product tries again and gets it right.

One of the key players behind the scenes of the Seal of Approval testing program is Professional Testing Laboratories President Gary Asbury. Located in Dalton, Georgia, Professional Testing Labs is an ISO 14025 and NVLAP-certified lab that has provided federally-certified test results for all types of flooring manufacturers since 1988. In 2009, PTL performed more than 3000 batteries of tests, at an average of five tests per battery. According to Gary, PTL prides itself on helping carpet maintenance equipment and chemical manufacturers make better products that result in improved satisfaction for flooring consumers.

Gary says he’s seen “dozens of cases” where manufacturers of carpet cleaning products that initially failed CRI’s Seal of Approval testing used what they learned from the test results to improve their products’ performance to the point where they received a passing grade the next time through.

For the most part, if a conscientious manufacturer fails the first time, they’ll go back to the drawing board,” he says. “Many times, the testing will reveal a problem they didn’t realize they had, but once they see the problem, they can fix it.”

I asked Gary to share a few of his more interesting testing stories with CRI blog readers. Sadly, not every solutions manufacturer is willing to learn from his mistakes, as you shall see in Gary first story about a colorful carpet cleaning fat cat who wouldn’t change (or remove) his spots.


“Several years ago, PTL was doing some compliance testing for a “big-box” retailer on a carpet spot remover they were considering for inclusion in their product mix. The product failed miserably and we informed the manufacturer. Next day, the president of the manufacturing company shows up at the lab unannounced and wants to see our testing. We understood this contract meant a lot of money to him, and luckily, we still had his tested carpet samples, so we took him through the process. He wanted to try his product on our test materials for himself, so we re-stained some carpet samples and let him have a go.

Normally, we let a staining agent dwell for 24 hours on a piece of carpet before we start the product testing, but there was no chance for that with this guy. He took his product and set to work on the stains himself. It was Kool-Aid – a toughie. He rubbed and blotted on that stain until he’d just about worn the pile to a nub, but - nothing – the stain stayed put. He didn’t understand it – said the product worked great when he demonstrated it on his infomercials.

He decided the problem must be with our carpet samples, so he goes and gets some of his own samples out of the trunk of his car. We could see right away what was going on – his samples were made of polypropylene – a powerfully hydrophobic fiber that shrugs off just about any wet stain. He pours Kool-Aid on one of his polypropylene samples, and shows off how his product removes the stain – obviously pleased with himself. I couldn’t believe it, but here was a guy who represented himself as an expert on carpet stain removal and he didn’t know the difference between nylon and polypropylene in terms of their stain resistance!

I’ll never forget what happened next. PTL lab chief Lee Phillips picks up another of the guy’s samples, douses it with Kool-Aid, and, without saying a word, takes it over to the sink and turns on the faucet. Of course, the running water takes the stain right out.

Needless to say, the guy lost his contract with the big box retailer. Last I heard, he was still selling his product on infomercials where his polypropylene carpet samples clean up just like magic”!



In the next blog post, Gary talks about three SOA testing cases with very different outcomes…

Thanks, Gary!

~Bethany


Photo Caption:
Professional Testing Laboratories’ President Gary Asbury receives the Joseph J. Smrekar Memorial Award during CRI’s 2009 Annual Membership Meeting.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies, 2nd ed.

Learn About The Best Carpet Cleaning Tips


At the Carpet and Rug Institute, we believe strongly in educating people on how best to keep carpet clean. That's why we love the Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies booklet which I wrote about in June 2009 in a post titled Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies - Get Yours Now! It's a terrific resource for carpet cleaning tips.

Since then, we've updated and reprinted the booklet and we're very excited about it. Here to tell you more is Kristin Smith who has been involved in this project with us since its beginning.

You may remember Kristin from Clean Carpet Begins at Home - CRI SOA Success Story. Kristin Smith is a Vice President in the Creative Studio at Ogilvy Public Relations. She has been working with CRI for the past six years on our marketing, communications and advertising programs.

An Easy 2010 Resolution to Keep: Simplify Your Chores With Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies®



As we start a new decade, here’s a resolution that will make your life easier and will be simple to keep: clean your carpet regularly. Does the thought of carpet cleaning make you want to run for cover? Hold on! The newest edition of the Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies guide gives you the most up-to-date information on how to make carpet cleaning easy and effective. And it shows you how the proper cleaning can help improve your indoor air quality and protect your carpet investment.

Sponsored by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and HousekeepingChannel.com, Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies® , published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., has just been updated with even more easy-to-use information about best practices for keeping carpets looking beautiful for years to come.

Household management expert Elizabeth Goldsmith, the book’s author, provides simple solutions for fighting dirt, removing nasty spots and stains, using the right products and calling in professional cleaners. She has tips for pet owners and advice on how to clean precious Oriental rugs. Consumers can request a free copy at the CRI website for a small shipping and handling fee of $2.00.

The booklet advises that not all carpet cleaning products are effective and some can even damage your carpet. “Regular and proper vacuuming is the single most effective means of keeping carpet clean,” says Werner Braun, CRI president. “And using cleaning products, equipment and professional cleaners certified under the CRI Seal of Approval program helps get the job done right, the first time.” Carpet care is easy with a little preventative maintenance and know-how. This booklet also shows you how to prevent carpet from getting soiled in the first place, plus dozens of ways to get maximum results in minimum time.

More than 70,000 Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies booklets have been distributed, and this updated edition is packed with even more information, including the newest enhancements to the CRI Seal of Approval program. And just think, carpet cleaning is just like exercise – only better. If you get into a routine and keep it up, you will see great results. But unlike exercise, carpet cleaning can be effortless – and you don’t have to sweat.

------------------

Thank you, Kristin!

Do you have a copy of the new updated edition? What do you think? We'd love to hear your reactions.

~ James

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Starnet Members & CARE Aligned Dealer Program

Linda Goldstein, Starnet

Starnet Members Embrace CARE Aligned Dealer Program

The Carpet America Recovery Effort, or CARE, has something exciting going on – an expanded membership program that offers carpet dealers a cost-effective opportunity to join CARE and support carpet recycling. So far, the first few months of CARE’s new Aligned Dealer Program has attracted some impressive support, including from Starnet Worldwide. CARE is the nationwide alliance of carpet manufacturers, recyclers, dealers, and regulators committed to finding new markets for post-consumer carpet and diverting carpet from landfills. (See this list of earlier blog posts titled CARE Stories from the Carpet and Rug Institute Blog.)

Nearly half of Starnet Worldwide’s 160-plus membership of independent commercial flooring contractors has joined CARE, according to Starnet vice-president of operations Fred Williamson. The program was introduced to Starnet members at the group’s November 2009 Membership Meeting held in Washington, DC. “It’s been a great response in a short period of time,” Williamson says, adding that memberships continue to come into his office daily. Williamson is a current member of CARE’s Board of Directors.

CARE’s commitment to finding new markets for products made from post-consumer carpet content “supports Starnet’s mission to offer carpet reclamation on every project,” says Starnet’s Environmental Issues Committee Co-Chair Linda Goldstein. Linda was kind enough to speak to me in the few minutes she had to spare between her duties as General Manager for CI Carpet Select in St. Louis and serving as the elected mayor of Clayton, Missouri.

Under the program, dealers may join CARE for $150 annually, and may add additional stores for $50 each. Normally the price to join is $500 yearly. For their membership fees, CARE Aligned Dealer members receive a packet of materials that includes a framed certificate, window cling, counter card, business card template, press release template and other marketing materials. CARE is also offering its discounted membership program to Shaw and Mohawk aligned dealers, and plans to expand the program further in the future.

It’s a great way for residential and commercial carpet dealers to show their customers they are making a sustainable difference,” said CARE Executive Director Georgina Sikorski. “We are thrilled with Starnet’s participation so far – it’s a great organization, full of people who really care about the environment.

If you'd like more information about the CARE Aligned Dealer Program, please let me know!

~ Bethany


Note: The photo above shows Starnet’s Environmental Issues Committee Co-Chair Linda Goldstein telling Starnet members about the CARE Aligned Dealer program at the group’s Annual Meeting in November.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Carpet Backing Demand Increases

Frank Hurd, CRI

Carpet Backing Statistics Show Cause for “Cautious Optimism



Saying he hoped it might prove to be “an early Christmas present” for the carpet industry, Carpet and Rug Institute Vice-President Frank Hurd disclosed in a recent online interview that CRI’s Primary Backing Report for November, 2009 showed positive growth for the first time in three years. The interview aired on Floordaily.net, a flooring industry news site produced by Floor Focus magazine. Frank was interviewed by Floor Focus publisher Kemp Harr.

Sometimes even good news can get lost in all the hubbub of the holiday season, so even though it’s been a couple weeks since the interview appeared, I thought it worthwhile repeating.

CRI routinely tracks the demand for primary backing – the foundation material on which carpet is constructed - as a bellwether for the industry at large. According to the information provided to CRI by several of its largest members, the demand for primary backing in November 2009 increased by 14% over November 2008. That’s good news in and of itself, but particularly so, according to Frank, because it marks the first year-over-year increase in this important carpet industry indicator since early 2006.

The good news is juxtaposed against an overall decline in demand of approximately 41% between 2005 and today, including reductions of nearly 17% in 2009 alone. Still, there are other reasons for “cautious optimism”, reported Frank, including lower consumer revolving credit, and the National Association of Manufacturers’ report that in October, U.S. exports outpaced its imports.

Listen to the entire six-minute interview by clicking on this link to Frank Hurd on FloorDaily.

Thanks for your insights, Frank.

~Bethany

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Walk-Off Mats Protect Carpet & Floors In Winter

Protect Your Carpet From Winter Chemicals

Protect Your Carpet From Ice-Melting Chemicals With Walk-Off Mats



Keeping Clean and Cozy – Winter Care for Carpet



After 20-plus years of living in the South, I tend to forget the hazards of winter that are commonplace in the Northern states. My nephew Mark is a disc jockey on a Chicago radio station, and whenever I hear him describe the meteorological horrors he endures every winter I feel myself lucky to live below the Mason Dixon line, no matter how good the pizza is in his neighborhood.

Consequently, I don’t worry much about what ice-melting chemicals will do to my carpet, but Lew Migliore does. His recent enewsletter, The Commercial Flooring Report, looks at how winter weather outside can affect the floors in our businesses and homes. Did you know that the pellets that melt ice so effectively on the front stoop can cause a lot of trouble if they get tracked in on the soles of shoes?

"Ice melt pellets, calcium chloride, are…effective at melting ice and snow especially at lower temperatures and this material will not damage concrete… It will however wreak havoc on interior flooring and leave a very dangerous residue on hard surface floors. Calcium chloride pellets, when dissolved, leave a residue that feels like “3 in 1” oil – very slick and slippery…. This chemical can also be tracked far into a building, not just at entry areas, but into elevators and up into the high regions of a building. It is carried on pedestrians’ feet to its final resting place anywhere in the building. It may not damage concrete but it will do a number on carpet."

According to Lew, calcium chloride is the same material used in the moisture-absorbing “fresheners” we put in our basements and closets to keep them from smelling damp. It actually pulls moisture from the air, creating a situation on your carpet that is prone to attracting soil. Over time, it could cause discoloring of the fiber and even more serious damage.

"Dark spots will form from the attraction of soil and unless this chemical is flushed from the carpet it will continue to create heavy soiling conditions. If it exists in sufficient volume it can actually weaken the laminate strength of carpet resulting in buckles and wrinkles. Not that this will occur overnight or with one contamination but left ignored it will cause damage."

How to keep these chemicals, plus the plain, old-fashioned messiness of snow and dirt at the door? Walk-off mats. Big office buildings may have walk-off areas permanently installed as part of the architectural plan – smaller businesses may rent mats from a service that exchanges them weekly for fresh ones. Whether in a business or home setting, it’s important to make sure walk-off mats are long enough to have time to work. It usually takes 3-4 steps to get shoes cleaned off, so at home, the best thing may be to just have everyone remove their shoes. Just be careful not to trip over the pile of shoes that tends to collect at the door.

Thanks to Lew Migliore for his good information about how important it is to keep dirt outside, especially in the winter. And to my relatives and friends up North, call me wimp if you want, but this time of year, my winter song goes, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…Somewhere Else!!”

~Bethany
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