US Market Update

Posted by Dave Farley
May 30th, 2011

A few odds, ends, and information that may be of interest to Industry…


Above Picture: Booth at the HD11 Show


I attended the annual Hospitality Design (HD 11) trade event and conference held May 18 – 20 in Las Vegas Nevada.  The conference and show is a major event for designers, architects and other professionals involved in the hotel, restaurant, and resort hospitality sector.  As most trade events, the HD show has experienced a decrease in attendance and participation since the downturn of 2008, but judging from the feedback from exhibitors and attendees that I spoke to, this sector is beginning to turn.

The general consensus from industry experts was that this sector should experience moderate growth over the next few years with most opportunity coming not from new projects, but rather from the renovation market.

Due to the downturn, many hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and other venues in the hospitality sector postponed much needed renovation and alterations to save money.  This has become a classic catch 22 problem in that while they reduced expenditures, their properties are now in such need of a repairs and a facelift, they are losing customers as their properties are now not considered current or fashionable.  According to one industry expert, suppliers who have good quality, well priced products that can help hospitality based firm update its image will have a competitive advantage.

One company in the wood products sector who I think is a good example is a wood veneer company based in of all places Miami, Florida. Sanfoot,, produces ultra-thin veneers out of a variety of wood species including West Coast species, Alder, Western Red Cedar, and Vertical Grain Douglas Fir. The pre-stained and finished veneer, as I was told by a commercial builder who uses the product, hangs very easily and as such, he can change the look of a project in just a few days.

Above Picture: Western Red Cedar Veneer used by Sanfoot

A number of other companies at HD 11 were showcasing both real and faux wood veneers; some as thin and easily applied as commercial wall paper.  Sanitas International,, showcased a real wood veneer that was laser cut into a relief design that was a hit with the design community. From what I saw at the show, expect to see a number of other ultra-thin, real wood veneer wall covering manufacturers pop up over the next few years. This trend of using real wood combined with relatively low cost installation and the ability to dramatically change the look of a given environment will make these suppliers popular in the design community.

On another note, it seems that our ‘free trade’ friends south of the border are at it again.  It has been recently announced that the US government will place a duty of up to 140% on the importation of engineered and solid hardwood flooring that is manufactured in China and imported into the United States. From people I spoke to, that will effectively kill the industry as almost all the hardwood flooring sold into the residential and commercial sectors in the US is manufactured in China.

While this tariff will help the North American manufacturers of hardwood flooring, of which we have a small number of high quality manufacturers here in BC, it could present a significant problem for BC hardwood suppliers who sell a good volume of Alder, Maple, and Birch to Chinese flooring manufacturers. We will closely follow the issue and keep you informed of the outcomes.

As always, if you want any further information on the issues discussed above or on the US market in general please feel free to contact me a

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