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Talk is sheep: Carpet men visit Phoenix pitching eco-sense of wool

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Convention Center is hosting a flooring show through Friday and wool producers from New Zealand are in the Valley to push their line of carpeting.

Howie Gardner with Just Shorn New Zealand said wool production has plummeted worldwide, and his home country is no exception.

"Through the winter we run about 11,000 sheep on 4,000 acres and 22,000 sheep in the summer. There were about 70 million sheep around the world in the 1970s and today that number is around 28 million."

Wool has fallen out of favor in the past few decades as people turn to synthetics, which are cheaper, but Gardner said, inferior to wool. He said there are signs woll is making a comeback.

"We're four years into the Just Shorn brand. Sales are increasing and we're happy with the progress. We're in Phoenix to develop more outlets for our line of carpeting."

David Fagan, also with Just Shorn, said sheep are the ultimate green animal.

"Wool is sustainable, renewable and the sheep keep growing it," he said. "It goes into clothes and carpet and is more environmentally friendly than synthetics. It's a safer product for children to be around in the home."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.

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