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Trade Show Flooring Carpet Tiles - St. Louis Music Testimonial

By Brett Hart Created: February, 2018 - Modified: October, 2023

Any business owner knows that making a good first impression is critical to the success of the business. This is especially true when it comes to showcasing your products or services at trade shows. For music supply distributor St. Louis Music, there were six factors at play when it decided to enlarge and redesign its display for its largest annual trade show - The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, California - and needed new flooring.

1. Look
2. Cost Effectiveness
3. Reusability
4. Transportability
5. Easy Assembly
6. Comfort

Based in St. Louis, Missouri, St. Louis Music distributes more than 10,000 products from more than 150 leading brands and manufacturers in the music products industry, and has been doing so for nearly 100 years.

''We supply musical instrument retailers across the country with accessory items from music stands to guitar picks,'' said Product Manager Jim Uding. ''And then we have our own proprietary brands which range from drums and guitars to brass and string instruments. So we have our own brands, but the core of our company is distribution.''

As a wholesale distributor with a dealer base as broad as its offering, St. Louis Music has a huge presence at the NAMM show, and it continues to grow.

''NAMM is an international trade show where merchants from around the world show up to plan their annual buying,'' Uding said. ''We have so many different product lines and many of our instruments are large - guitars, drum sets, acoustic basses, trombones - and they take up a lot of space. So, it's important to present them appropriately and that's all about presentation.''

Previous flooring

Prior to the 2018 show, St. Louis Music had rented trade show flooring from a provider at the convention center, which it found to be quite cost prohibitive. It had also used a butcher block pattern modular trade show flooring, which had worked out well for them in the past. However, it found that flooring to be more maintenance that it wanted as some of the tiles would puncture, leaving unsightly white streaks or spots on the floor. It also showed dirt and debris which meant removing and wiping clean the floor tiles before every show.

''That was quite an undertaking,'' Uding said. ''Now that we're at 2,000 square feet, no one wanted to do that. With a new, bigger space that we debuted this year, we decided to start over with something new.''

Choosing Carpet Tiles

Having rented pricey carpet in the past and finding that it was much easier a vacuum the carpet than wipe down the wood style tiles, carpet became the go-to plan for the new flooring.

''We just knew it would be easy to vacuum and then not worry about it until the next show,'' Uding said.

Then came choosing a color and design that would work well for St. Louis Music's setup.

''It was important that we had a floor that wasn't entirely black, but close to it,'' Uding said. ''Most of our fixtures are black, so we wanted to make sure that it was the product that was on display - not the booth.''

After a few phone calls with Joanne at Greatmats and taking a look at some samples, Jim landed on Greatmats charcoal colored Royal Interlocking Carpet Tiles.

''I don't have a lot of time to mess around,'' Uding said. ''(Joanne) was very professional. I trusted her opinion. They got samples out to us quick, and we were able to wrap this up and move on. It's just one piece of the puzzle, but it all starts with what you build that display on.
Bottom-line, we were sold on the comfort. They last long time, and we got more than our money's worth. Especially when you compare to the cost of a rented carpet and pad. This new floor will pay for it in less than two shows.''


One area of concern was how the tiles would ride on the electrical cords that run under the flooring surface.

''We had a good experience with the last (floor) and expected the same from this, and it actually ended up being even better than expected,'' Uding said. ''We could hardly detect the wires under the flooring. It reacted better than the previous floor that was not carpeted.''

The charcoal color also served its intended purpose adding to the look without distracting. However, there was one catch that the St. Louis Music team had not anticipated.

''Sometimes we look at each other and say, 'We're in the wrong business,''' Uding said. ''Sometimes we get more compliments on the way the floor feels than we get about our own products.''

Jim Uding
St. Louis Music
St. Louis MO 63133