• Thomas Russell

Better business has Atlanta market off to brisk start

ATLANTA — The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market got off to a rousing start this week. From the opening bell Wednesday, the halls were filled with upbeat buyers who claimed business has improved and backed that up with solid order writing.

The market continues through Wednesday, Jan. 18. The Atlanta International Area Rug Market, meanwhile, opened Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Craven Thomas, a representative with Old South Accents, said that Thursday was the company's best second day of market in terms of attendance in its 12 years of showing here.
"Normally traffic doesn't pick up until Friday, so we are excited to see how the rest of the market plays out," he said, adding that customers have been upbeat and seem eager to replenish their floors with fresh goods.
"The people that are keeping their stores stocked with fresh items are selling," he said. "That in turn makes your customer feel comfortable about spending."

Scott Budd, an artistic director at accent and occasional furniture specialist Busbin, said that attendance has been strong the first two days of market. By late Thursday, 150 people had come into the showroom and at least five of those placed orders. Traffic was lower on Wednesday as only eight customers came to the showroom, but three placed sizeable orders, he said.

Abdul and Ferozan Ibrahimi, co-owners of furniture and home accents importer Silk Route International, enjoyed a steady stream of customers since opening day. In addition to showing buyers its line of one-of-a-kind upholstery frames and case goods made from reclaimed woods, it also invited buyers to a ribbon cutting of its 20,000-square-foot warehouse here, aimed at better serving East Coast customers.
The owners said they believes the company's success has been linked to buyers' interest in unique and one-of-a-kind goods like those on display in the showroom this week.

AICO, which showed at the last market here in a temporary space, enjoyed such strong results that it came back this time in a permanent showroom in Building 1. The company is showing its top-of-bed line and accent furniture lines.

"We've had great traffic and what's really been wonderful is that we're seeing a largely different customer base," said David Koehler, vice president of sales. "At High Point and in Las Vegas, we see the case goods buyers. Here, we're seeing specialty bedding stores, designers and many of the accessory buyers of the companies we are doing business with."

Expanded coverage of the Atlanta shows will be in the Jan. 23 print edition of Furniture/Today.

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