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Flooring the Competition with Rentals


Rentals are commonplace in the tradeshow industry, but of the few suppliers specializing in modular flooring, only one company offers rentals to show management and exhibitors.

DR Motor Italy (1) (potential rotator) (web)

Enter the Swiss Rental Floors division, which launched in June 2012 in Las Vegas to provide its customers with flooring flexibility. The division arose from within Swisstrax, a modular flooring provider founded in 2004. Swisstrax has manufacturing facilities in Indio, Calif., and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Together, these facilities have a capacity to produce over 20,000 square feet of flooring each day.

“There are a handful of companies offering modular floor coverings, but most of the rentals offered are for sub-flooring. Many large companies do not want to invest in [modular] floor coverings since their demands on color and design change from year to year and even show to show. We have set up a unique offering for our types of products that can be reused and hold up to abuse,” stated Randy Nelson, founder and president, Swisstrax.

Swisstrax’s rental division ensures its customers have an alternative to carpet that is not only less expensive in terms of price and drayage, but also reusable, sustainable and comfortable to stand on. The flooring itself lives up to its modularity – its lightweight interlocking tiles can be installed with ease. And a must for any tradeshow – cables and wires can be run under the flooring.

Xtreme Manufacturing's booth for 2013 World of Concrete.
Xtreme Manufacturing’s flooring for 2013 World of Concrete.

Cleaning the tiles often only requires a duster or Swiffer, according to Nelson. He added that cleaning carpet could actually be a lengthier and pricier process.

To put a spin on an old mantra — “If it doesn’t save dollars, then it doesn’t make sense.”

From the perspective of Nelson, carpet in numerous ways can be problematic, especially when it’s stacked up against his company’s 18 flooring options for tradeshows as well as outdoor, corporate and special events.

Due to the flooring’s durability, it ensures reusability. This is tried and tested by Swisstrax’s clients, such as Coca-Cola, Dodge and GM.

“Wherever you use carpet, you can use this product. The average use for carpet is 1.8 times. Our flooring can be used over 100 times,” stated Nelson. “Calculate that over the lifetime of the product, and that comes to 4 cents per square foot.”

He explained that a longtime client, Monster Energy, reused his company’s flooring for 130 Monster Energy Supercross events. Bridgestone and Ford have done the same for their events.

If it isn’t donated or recycled after the show, carpet is often thrown away. This contributes to the “wasteful” reputation of tradeshows. According to Nelson, the ability to reuse each Swisstrax tile prevents 150-200 pounds of carpet from ending up in the landfill.

“Eighty percent of booths with carpet use padding. That doubles what goes into the landfill,” Nelson added.

SEMA 2012 flooring for Ford.
SEMA 2012 flooring for Ford.

The Swiss Rental Floors division is headed by Nelson’s brother, Ed, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Speedway Commerce Center.

With a background in contracting, Vice President Ed Nelson was instrumental in getting the rental division off the ground. Previously, Swisstrax did one-time garage flooring installations for companies like Ford and Bridgestone until Ed perfected the system to compete with carpet suppliers on a larger scale.

Operating from the Speedway, Ed has seen how Swisstrax flooring stands up to Las Vegas storms during outdoor events. He explained that carpet quickly gets inundated with water and mildew while water simply runs off Swisstrax’s flooring.

As seen from its presence at the Speedway, Swisstrax caters to many sporting and automotive events due to Randy Nelson’s roots working within the sector overseas.

In the 1980s, while working as part of a pit crew for a racing team in Switzerland, Nelson grew inspired to create a better system for event flooring. He later formed partnerships with automotive and racing companies that used tradeshows in their marketing mix.

Flooring close-up
Flooring close-up

The company’s operations soon grew beyond Canada and the U.S. Nelson licensed his products in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and, of course, Europe.

Complementing Swisstrax’s expansion globally is the diverse tradeshow and event business it’s continuing to take on. This includes International CES, SEMA and John Deere events. Additionally, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the fifth largest tennis tournament in the world, contracted the company to do 85,000 square feet of flooring, which will be reused.

“We have a 95 percent return rate on clients coming back,” stated Nelson.

For more information about the Swiss Rental Floors division, visit swissrentalfloors.com.

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