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Trend Transformations rides reality shows’ wave


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Thinking back to the days of This Old House and New Yankee Workshop, it’s crazy that new-age renovation shows like Fixer Upper, Property Brothers and Flip or Flop are so popular their stars’ lives are now tabloid fodder—but here we are.

For Trend Transformations, a flooring and hard surface restoration franchise tied up with Tarek and Christina El Moussa, the drama surrounding their high-profile divorce is outweighed by their boosted visibility that’s risen along with the popularity of home renovation TV.

Founded in 1996 as Granite Transformations, the rebranded Trend Transformations has grown to more than 150 worldwide locations in nine countries. Based on the concept of thin veneers of high-quality materials covering up worn, grungy stuff, Trend’s franchisees do backsplashes, cabinet refacing, tub and shower conversions, fireplace refinishing, new flooring and upgraded counter tops.

It recently expanded its factory in Florida, giving the company greater bandwidth as it grows to capitalize on the interest in home renovations—an industry it claims is growing at nearly 10 percent each year. “That gives you an indication that this is a thriving industry,” said Mike Mallory, vice president of franchise development.

Compared with more traditional remodeling, which requires days or weeks of dirty demolition and construction, Trend’s franchisees can often complete major projects in a single day. “Done in a day and beautiful for life,” they say.  

Tarek and Christina El Moussa

Trend Transformations is capitalizing on interest in home renovations, fueled by stars such as Tarek and Christina El Moussa, above.

As a new homeowner just learning the ropes of renovation, I pushed Mallory on how a thin veneer over existing materials can be as durable as a thick slab of granite, for example. That opened Pandora’s box and evoked an enthusiastic retort.

“There’s too many bad things about granite that people just don’t know about,” Mallory said. “We’re making it much better, much stronger, much more resilient and, I hate to use the word, sexy.”

Browsing its catalog-worthy project pictures, its work would look at home on the set of any made-for-TV renovation show. Beyond touting their strength, which the company says is at least as good as thicker, traditional materials, the benefits include no harmful emissions (like some stones), faster repairs and durability that matches the old-school approach.

Trend’s regional brand director, Jason Langford, went even further. “To be honest with you, that’s actually not a concern of ours,” he said about durability and longevity. “Our product is used in some of the heaviest traffic places in the world such as London’s Heathrow Airport.”  

He talked about dropping bowling balls or having grown men jump on countertops as examples proving the point. While its motto is “affordable luxury,” both men added the company’s services are “never going to be at the low end of the market.” The benefits, rather, are convenience for homeowners who have to suffer through much shorter, less invasive projects.

Things got spicier when discussing Tarek and Christina’s divorce, which has received ample tabloid coverage and allegedly led to the cancellation of their HGTV show, Flip or Flop. Having previously signed on as brand ambassadors for Trend Transformations, their partnership continues even after their divorce to promote the brand.

Langford declined to state whether the company was disappointed by the couple’s drama. “I won’t comment, but what I will say is their show remains absolutely breaking all records on HGTV,” he said. “Our franchisees are using our marketing campaign featuring them right now … so it continues to bring people in the door.”

Mallory was more emphatics. “I don’t think Tarek and Christina all of a sudden forgot how to do home renovations … and it shocks me when people bring up these questions,” he said. “You still want to go to a professional in the home remodeling industry and have their expertise help you make good decisions.”

While your humble author has long suggested companies avoid tying their hard-earned reputations to the whims of celebrities, so far this Trend Transformations partnership has been more flip than flop—as long as the DIY home renovation craze remains juicy enough to stay in DVR queues from coast to coast.

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