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I.O. Metro signs endorsement deal with Vern Yip

Celebrity designer will take part in advertising, social media

LOWELL, Ark. — Lifestyle specialty retailer I.O. Metro has signed a two-year celebrity endorsement deal with HGTV star Vern Yip, who will make appearances at the stores and endorse the fast-growing retailer's products.

 Vern YipDesigner and TV personality Vern Yip is endorsing the products of contemporary home furnishings retailer I.O. Metro.

Jay Howard, CEO of the 21-store chain, would not disclose the financial terms of the endorsement. He said Yip will be involved in all of the retailer's advertising and social media efforts and will make appearances at all stores, starting with a visit last night (Jan. 19) to the Rogers, Ark., store.

"We of course hope Vern will use our products on TV, but there is no contractual obligation for him to do so," Howard said.

Yip, who owns design firm Vern Yip Designs and starred in TLC's "Trading Spaces," currently has three shows on HGTV: "Deserving Design with Vern Yip," "Urban Oasis," and "Bang for Your Buck." He's also a judge on the primetime HGTV series "Design Star."

Last year, Yip was the special guest at an I.O. Metro store opening in St. Louis in August and at three store openings in Atlanta in September, where he mingled with customers, signed autographs and offered design advice. Howard said the retailer and Yip are a good match as Yip "loves the eclectic look of mixing the old with the new."

He said at the each of the four openings, Yip helped draw crowds of 500 to 700 people.

"After watching Vern successfully headline our St. Louis and Atlanta store openings, we felt there was no better way to promote our fresh look and unique furniture and décor than with the help of the nationally recognized design guru, Vern Yip," Howard said. "He's known for distinctive ideas and value-conscious designs, which fit perfectly with our concept."

I.O. Metro operates 21 stores in eight states in the Midwest and South: Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

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