##Granite Transformations Holds International Franchise Convention
The Trend Group has held its first ever international Granite Transformations franchise convention in Florida, this August. The event was staged at the 4-star Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, on the coast between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and welcomed delegates from the UK, Australia and across the United States.

The UK franchisor’s Chief Operating Officer, Danny Hanlon (pictured), addressed the convention on the opening day, giving the audience an overview of the current British home makeover scene, and headed a party of representatives from the head office support team, as well as half a dozen senior UK franchise owners and their partners. He announced record sales figures in Britain and Ireland for May 2014, representing 8% year-on-year growth.

The 4-day event was opened by Trend Group President and International CEO, Andrea Di Giuseppe, who took ‘change’ as the theme for his keynote address. Guest speakers included best-selling author and training guru, Brian Tracy, former chair of the International Franchise Association, Dina Dwyer-Owens, America’s premier expert on the emerging workforce, Eric Chester, and Start With Why podcast co-host, David Mead. The international franchise COO and Trend USA head, Paul Lane, and Vice-President of Marketing, Carl Griffenkranz, made strategic corporate presentations, while senior representatives from Trend USA and the Granite Transformations franchise, RSG, hosted round-table discussion groups. A trip to the Group’s flagship agglomerate production plant in Sebring was also arranged prior to the convention.

“Change makes us better, change makes us stronger,” declared Andrea Di Giuseppe in his conference address. “Since our inception, we have always been a company on the move and, after 18 years, we are still the only organisation to do exactly what we do. Our products, our system, our manufacturing methods and our people are unique. We value competition and we constantly change to make it harder for our rivals.”He went on to reveal a $3 million investment in a new automated cutting line, the in-house manufacture of diamond polishing equipment for agglomerate slab, and the achievement of a ground-breaking export contract to China. Di Giuseppe also announced that new machinery for the Group’s interlocking flooring system, Clip2Go, has been installed and orders have been placed for a new production line, dedicated to innovative heat transfer technology for decorative surfaces. He ended by saying that centralised manufacturing will be a future option for Granite Transformations franchise owners, combined with a radical new digital templating solution.

Paul Lane began by announcing that average franchise revenue has climbed from $1.7 million to $1.8 million this year, later addressing the point that future revenue increases would surely come from horizontal growth. Thus, one of his first objectives will be to construct a programme that encourages owners to invest in multiple Granite Transformations franchises and to explore still further avenues for horizontal growth, by becoming a Trend dealership. He disclosed that RSG was working with a high profile interior designer on a new showroom layout, so that every store will eventually have the same look and offer the same brand experience, combining the design expertise of Trend with the innovation and craftsmanship of Granite Transformations.

Continuing the theme of change, Paul went on to declare that ‘the time has come for us to rebrand’ and announced that Trend has appointed one of the world’s leading branding agencies, to look at unifying the existing brands under one global identity. A project was outlined for developing a strategy that would define a new corporate tone of voice and create a powerful brand experience for internal and external customers.

After the event, Danny Hanlon said: “I always enjoy coming to the US conference, but the fact that we could do one together made it even more special. Clearly some important initiatives have been announced, which suggest there is a very exciting future ahead for the Granite Transformations franchise network.”