Case goods exhibitors anticipate big show
Launch of Building B will bring new focus
Jeff Linville -- Furniture Today, January 29, 2007
LAS VEGAS — Case goods exhibitors are licking their chops as the Las Vegas Market opens, believing the launch of Building B will bring new focus, excitement and energy to the show, thus boosting business.
No longer will manufacturers and importers be so spread out in several temporary locations, executives said. Case in point: Emerald Home Furnishings, which for the first three Vegas markets showed in temporary spaces at the Sands and Rio hotels. This time, it has an 18,000-square-foot showroom in Building B.
"We’re really anticipating a big show," said Emerald President David Beckmann. More than 30 people will work the market, more than Emerald has had at any show anywhere, he said. The company also has enough room for a mattress gallery.
Interactive Health had a good location just inside the door of one of the Pavilion temporary areas, but President Andrew Cohen still is glad to be moving into Building B. The space isn’t huge at just under 10,000 square feet, he said, but it will allow the company to show the line the way it should be shown.
With all the excitement over Building B, do exhibitors in Building A worry they won’t see some accounts? No, said Fran Scheller, Broyhill’s merchandise manager for bedroom and dining. High Point is much more spread out, and retailers find a way to make many stops, she said.
Once a retail buyer herself, Scheller expects the January market to continue growing. Unlike the July market, the weather shouldn’t be a deterrent, she said. Also, the market has attracted many international manufacturers and retailers, spurring many exhibitors to bring out new goods, Scheller said.
This market, Broyhill is debuting Mackenzie Place. The rustic pine collection fills a void in the Broyhill line and should have more appeal to West Coast consumers, she said.
Over the years, oak case goods traditionally have sold better in the West. Understanding the Hispanic market also is important in Las Vegas because many retailers in the Southwest serve that consumer segment.
Emerald had so many new pieces in the works that some samples had to be left behind at its home base in Tacoma, Wash., Beckmann said. A new cherry contemporary line called Manchester is the company’s single biggest launch ever.
He said Emerald usually brings out a collection in just one category to test the market, then adds to the group if it’s successful. But Manchester, in the works for nine months, has two beds, two dining tables and two occasional table groups among its 23 pieces. The company also is showing five new upholstery groups.
Manufacturers and retailers alike are showing less patience with collections, Beckmann said. If a group doesn’t have a strong showing right off the bat, companies will cut their losses and move on to the next new thing, he said.
Guy Walters III, vice president and general manager of SLF Signature, said this market is more about infrastructure and service than new items for his company. SLF has the ability to ship from its Asian warehouse in three weeks or less, and out of its Phoenix location in two weeks or less, he noted.
When they walk into the SLF showroom, buyers will see hangtags that identify which items are available for mixed containers, Walters said.
Among the new goods at market is the Agassi Graf collection from Kreiss, a 68-year-old retailer with its first trade-only showroom. Kreiss operates 20 retail/trade showrooms, but will be offering for the first time a licensed collection with retired tennis stars Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.
Agassi, a Las Vegas native, and his wife live in this area and founded a preparatory academy for at-risk youth here. The couple will appear at a ribbon-cutting to open the Kreiss showroom in Building B, space 100.
The Agassi Graf collection combines the pair’s different design sensibilities, and includes pieces for the dining room, living room and poolside, including a novelty tennis ball chair for indoor/outdoor use.
One worry that exhibitors have is that the industry has been pulled in many different directions by all the shows taking place in the weeks leading up to Las Vegas. For instance, manufacturers and retailers have been to shows in Toronto, Tupelo, Cologne, Atlanta and High Point (the Lifestyle Enterprise-led mini-market), among others.
"It’s always a challengwhen there are other markets crammed ahead of a show," said Interactive Health’s Cohen. However, he said, this show has advantage — lots of new goods, the moderate weather, West Coast retailers that don’t visit High Point, and the excitement that Building B brings. Thus, preceding shows won’t prevent Vegas from being a success, he said.