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Why have four competing N.Y. shows in one week?

Lissa Wyman -- Furniture Today, August 21, 2012

Lissa Wyman Rug editorLissa Wyman Rug editor
Is it just me, or does anyone else think there is something whacky about a teeny-tiny product category (hand-knotted rugs) having four competing trade shows in one week? That's what will be happening in the New York area Sept. 9-13.
     And vendors who stock mid-priced and low-end rugs will also show that week at the New York Home Fashions Market (formerly the New York Home Textiles Market).
     The hand-knotted boys started Metro Market Week in 2004. The first show, organized by David Samad, a principal of Samad, had about 50 exhibitors. Before that first show, many high-end rug retailers straggled informally into the area during September. The Metro Market was meant to formalize the event and give importers in New York and New Jersey a sense of unity.
     Many rug importers were headquartered either at the Oriental Rug Industry Center of America in Secaucus, N.J., or in the New York Oriental Rug District in Manhattan's East 30s. Some were based in warehouses around New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut.
     In 2004, the Metro Rug Alliance was led by an enthusiastic committee of rug executives who planned a busy week that included an all-industry gala evening in Manhattan, discounts on hotels and airfare, free transportation to vendor venues, discounts on Broadway shows, a sweepstakes for cash credit on purchases, and individual company promotions. Everyone agreed it was a whiz-bang success.
     The year after that first Metro Market, Dennis Dodds, formerly of Architectural Digest, announced the New York International Carpet Show. NYICS had a different exhibitor base (super high-end luxury rugs) and was geared primarily to architects and interior designers, rather than Oriental rug retailers. Dodds soon aligned the timing of his event with Metro Market and the two shows cooperated.
     Since its 2004 launch, the Metro Market became less buoyant. The Great Recession took its toll. Many traditional Oriental rug retailers went out of business. Some wholesalers closed and others cut back.
     Last year, the tenants at the ORICA building broke away from the Metro Market to form their own show. This year, a group of mavericks that formerly exhibited at NYICS have planned their own show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
     What happened? Perhaps money or power had something to do with it. Maybe it was plain orneriness.
     I will attend all the shows in September, of course. I don't know how it will all turn out, but I fear that what I called an "industry love fest" in 2004 has turned into a big, steaming, stinking mess in 2012.

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