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Guide to 2010 U.S. furniture markets

 

AmericasMart Atlanta


Dates
· Jan. 6 to 13
· July 14 to 21
Venue
Four buildings spanning 7 million square feet.
Key stats
AmericasMart hosts 15 wholesale markets that annually attract more than 548,000 attendees from every U.S. state and 80 countries.
Niche
AmericasMart Atlanta is a leading international source for gift, home furnishings and apparel merchandise.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
In January 2009, AmericasMart debuted Building 2 WestWing — a 1.5 million-square-foot expansion that houses trade show exhibit halls and permanent showrooms. The market now offers 7 million square feet of space across four buildings. In July 2009, AmericasMart re-launched the Home product center with the redesigned and redefined 14th Floor in Building 1, housing design-driven home furnishings and accessories. According to market officials, “spectacular events and educational seminars continue to be an essential component” at AmericasMart. “We secure celebrity guests, renowned designers and top industry professionals to create a comprehensive, exciting events lineup. Most recently, under AmericasMart University (AMU), we have introduced social media education. Our programs and events are in place to educate, entertain and excite our customers — offering an unprecedented experience at AmericasMart.”
Upcoming plans
The market will continue to build on more than half of a century of success, officials say. The Home product center will continue to grow as the fine linens category evolves and Floor 15 in Building 1 prepares to open, aligning with the product of the new 14th floor. “We have always been committed to enhancing and strengthening the customer experience from beginning to end, and are always looking for the next initiative to ensure this happens,” AmericasMart officials said. “Most recently, we launched Fast Badge, a new online service giving buyers instant access to market admission badges prior to arriving — for faster, easier registration.
What sets your show apart?
“The product, education and events. The product, because within our four buildings … we have everything for every buyer and designer under one roof. The education, because we offer a renowned one-of-a-kind educational program with AmericasMart University (AMU). The events, because we host more than 70 events designed specifically with our customers in mind,” said AmericasMart officials.
Web site
www.AmericasMart.com

Tupelo Furniture Market


Dates
· Jan. 22 to 24
· Aug. 20 to 22
Venue
The Tupelo Furniture Market boasts more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, all on one level. The facility is especially designed for furniture exhibits. Permanent showrooms are located along the perimeter of each building, while temporary showrooms make up the arena area.
Key stats
· One of the largest order-writing markets in the country.
· Buyer attendance from all 50 states and 38 foreign countries.
· Exhibitors from all over the world showcase a wide of selection of case goods, upholstery, bedding and accessories.
· Average attendance of 30,000 to 35,000.
Niche
· Sources that retailers and other buyers only will find in Tupelo.
· Friday to Sunday schedule.
· A high level of service and hospitality.
· Single-story shopping convenience.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
· Executed an intense buyer and exhibitor recruitment program.
· Gained new buyers for upholstery.
· Increased amenities for retailers attending the market.
Upcoming plans?
· Heighten market exposure through social networking and Web opportunities.
· Attract additional resources for our retailers to shop.
What sets your show apart?
Value and hospitality. “We are the best value in the industry and our hospitality is unmatched,” said V.M. Cleveland, the market's president and CEO. “We are a value for both the exhibitor as well as the buyer. We take a lot of pride in being known as the friendliest market with a relaxed atmosphere.”
Complimentary services include:
· Shuttle service from both the Tupelo and Memphis airports, hotels and “hostess homes” — short-term rental properties — located throughout the city.
· Parking — more than 3 million square feet.
· Breakfast — every morning during market.
· Dinner buffets — each evening at the close of the show.
· In-house accommodations program featuring relationships with local hotels and an excellent “hostess home” program.
Web site
www.tupelofurnituremarket.com

Las Vegas Market


Dates
· Feb. 1 to 5
· Aug. 2 to 6 (includes Gift + Home and Vegas Kids shows Aug. 4 to 7)
Venue
· Building A: 1.3 million square feet of permanent space
· Building B: 1.6 million square feet of permanent space
· Building C: 2.1 million square feet of permanent space
Key stats
· 1,500 exhibitors per market
· 100 international exhibitors (representing over 20 countries) per market
· 55,000 average registrations per market
Niche
All segments of the residential and hospitality contract furnishings industry, including furniture, decorative accessories, lighting, area rugs, wall décor, home office, floral, bedding, textiles, outdoor, gifts and a growing focus on sustainability and related goods.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
“World Market Center Las Vegas has successfully produced compelling shows that appeal to a global audience by making them more productive and efficient,” said Robert Maricich, president and CEO. “Through Las Vegas' many transportation choices, valuable hotel partnerships and vast on-site and local amenities, World Market Center has effectively designed a valuable, convenient and world-class experience for exhibitors and attendees alike. The recent implementation of a 'one stop' call center for rapid handling of all questions and issues with exhibitors and attendees resulted in thousands of calls being handled quickly and efficiently. World Market Center Las Vegas also improved services and lowered costs to tenants and guests by bringing logistics in-house rather than using a third-party vendor. World Market Center Las Vegas exists to bring buyers and sellers together and is the most high-functioning and efficient venue in the industry.”
Upcoming plans
“World Market Center Las Vegas continues to move our industry forward and provide efficient and balanced market events for attendees by enhancing new product offerings and marrying them to super-charged media dissemination programs,” said Maricich. “We secured some of the nation's most recognized and respected leaders to share their best practices and how to implement them in the home furnishings industry. In a rapidly changing global marketplace, the depth of insights and expertise shared in these diverse seminars is vitally important to every segment of the industry. This premium networking experience is a major benefit for both buyers and sellers as it raises the bar not only domestically but globally. World Market Center Las Vegas plans an enhanced focus on sustainability issues with the introduction of the 'One Good World' program, which includes leadership events and new resources that support the eco-friendly marketplace.”
What sets your show apart?
“World Market Center provides an unparalleled value and ease for retailers with an integrated 'one stop shopping' experience where buyers can cover all product categories in one destination. Our venue also provides flexible opportunities for smaller, new manufacturers to present their products alongside some of the biggest and best brands in the industry… Looking forward, we believe our model is better equipped to support the industry cohesion necessary for growth in an unpredictable economy. World Market Center is uniquely positioned to incorporate the best attributes of a home furnishings market, mart and tradeshow all within a global context. We are improving the perception of furnishings with consumers through innovative leadership initiatives such as the recently launched 'Is it Home Yet?' campaign — the industry's largest-ever, consumer-focused ad campaign designed to help increase consumer spending. Because of our unique location and massive outreach we can increasingly and positively impact consumer perception — adding value for the entire chain. World Market Center does this effectively and efficiently by putting buyers and sellers together with compelling and diverse shows, offering an element of globalization, providing new channels of distribution and supplying a platform for exhibitors to build their brand.”
Web site
www.lasvegasmarket.com

Karel Exposition Mgt.


Dates and venue
· Feb. 7 to 9
56th Edison (N.J.) Furniture & Accessory Market, New Jersey Convention Center
· May 5 to 6
28th Long Beach California Furniture & Accessory Market, Long Beach Convention Center
· June 8 to 9
1st Syracuse (N.Y.) Furniture & Accessory Market, OnCenter Complex
· Aug. 8 to 10
57th Edison (N.J.) Furniture & Accessory Market, New Jersey Convention Center
· Aug. 27 to 29
19th Orlando (Fla.) Furniture & Accessory Market, Orange County Convention Center
Key stats
· New Jersey: The two Karel Exposition Management shows in Edison in February and August attract buyers from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. KEM sells nearly 1,000 exhibit spaces at each. Buyer attendance is around 5,000.
· Long Beach, Calif: Because of the economy, this event “has slipped,” said Larry Karel, president of Karel Exposition Management. “What was over 1,00 spaces is now about 400 spaces. But the market seems to be improving and we have excellent companies that are doing business at the show. They are seeing buyers that cannot afford to go to the Las Vegas shows.” This show is attended by about 300 stores, he added.
· Orlando, Fla.: This event, like Long Beach, was “huge until the foreclosures hit Florida so hard,” said Karel. “It is now a 500 space show. It attracts buyers from Florida and the islands.” About 1,000 stores typically attend.
Niche
“Our shows are no-thrill shows — no seminars or cocktail parties,” said Karel. “We go back to the basics of bringing together the buyer and the seller. Our exhibitors want to write orders, expose their merchandise and open new accounts.” The company's shows are attended by furniture stores, interior designers, designer showrooms, small hotel and motel and specialty stores.
The exhibitor base includes furniture, lighting, flooring, bedding and accessories sources.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
“2009 was a very rough year for our industry,” said Karel. “We just took what we knew and have been doing for 50 years and promoted our shows as if they were 10 times larger. We did not cut our budget for promotions, and exhibitors could not say that Karel Exposition did not do a thing to bring buyers to our shows.”
Upcoming plans
KEM is adding a show in Syracuse, N.Y. It is sponsored by the local Empire State sales reps association and “we have major companies already signed up to exhibit,” Karel said. “We do not know what to expect in terms of buyer attendance but are estimating about 700 stores.” The show has room for 300 exhibitors and expects this may be a “sellout.”
What sets your show apart?
“We are regional in scope,” said Karel. “We do not mislead people into thinking we are something we are not. We afford the small and medium-size exhibitor as well as the retailer an opportunity to meet and conduct their business. A retailer gets in his car, shops the show and goes back home with no expense such as air travel, housing or food, or being away from their place of business. And we are economical. Companies today are watching every penny and I do not clobber them with a high exhibit fee.”
Web site:
www.kemexpo.com

High Point Market


Dates
· Spring premarket: March 15 to 16
· Spring market: April 17 to 22
· Fall premarket: Sept. 13 to 14
· Fall market: Oct. 16 to 21
Venue
The High Point Market encompasses nearly 180 showroom buildings covering more than 13 city blocks in downtown High Point, and extending into surrounding communities.
Key stats
The High Point Market attracts some 85,000 registrants twice each year representing 110 countries, and more than 2,000 exhibitors.
Niche
“With a worldwide reputation as the place to experience the newest ideas in home furnishings, the High Point Market: The World's Home for Home Furnishings is the premier trade show for home furnishings professionals, presenting more new product introductions than any other market in every category and style, with multiple choices at every price point,” said Brian Casey, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
“We applied and were accepted to the U.S. Commercial Service International Buyer Program (IBP),” said Casey. “The International Buyer Program is not only helping us increase international participation, it is strengthening awareness of the High Point Market and what it represents as the world's home for home furnishings to a global audience. Thanks to the exceptional level of cooperation and close relationship we've enjoyed with the U.S. Commercial Service representatives in Washington and the more than 80 consulates around the world, this year we collaborated on several educational programs designed to assist exhibitors of all sizes in navigating the global marketplace.” In addition, Casey said, “we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the High Point Market in a year-long Centennial Celebration that recognized the heritage of our market and the people and industry it represents. As noted in a U.S. Senate resolution honoring the Market, the market has served as both an economic and cultural beacon for the past century…This year, we also placed an even stronger focus on the quality of information and educational events we provide industry professionals on a year-round basis. We are tailoring and disseminating information for the needs of our many constituencies, such as the growing design community at our market.”
Upcoming plans
The High Point Market continues to look for ways “to make it more affordable for people to attend our market,” said Casey. “As we head into the New Year, our focus is on reducing costs for market guests. This includes improvements to our Hotel Partner Program. Now more than ever, markegoers can ensure they are receiving the best possible deals by booking through the High Point Market Web site…” The coming year will see an even greater emphasis on the growth and expansion of the premarket movement, Casey said, “as we work with the sponsoring manufacturers to expand an already successful model. The breadth and depth of new product available here has always been a strength of the market, and the premarket sponsors have demonstrated a major commitment to that end for the long run. Moving forward, we will continue to expand our focus on elevating and promoting new product introductions throughout the market. Finally, we have applied and been accepted to the 2010 IBP program and will again continue to partner with consulates throughout the world to help promote the High Point Market and expand our international business.”
What sets your show apart?
“The High Point Market is the one place where the entire industry connects,” said Casey. “Situated at the intellectual and creative center of the U.S. home furnishings industry, the market serves as the industry's vital hub. Throughout our long history, we have been the key connecting point for retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, furniture designers, interior designers, consultants and everyone else who derives their livelihood from this business sector. And, as we move forward, because the High Point Market is located at the heart of the industry, we are uniquely able to connect our guests to the full array of resources required to grow their businesses.”
Web site
www.highpointmarket.org

International Contemporary Furniture Fair


Dates
· May 15 to 18
Venue
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, with 145,000 net square feet. The show is managed by George Little Management.
Key stats
· Exhibitors: 552 at 2009 show; 212 were first-time exhibitors (38%), 289 were from the United States (52%) and 263 were international (48%). Thirty-four countries were represented among the exhibitor base, with 11 country contingents, including the Austrian Trade Commission, British European Design Group, Design in Brussels (Belgium), Furniture Association of Portugal, Furniture New York, The Furniture Society (U.S.), German Design Council, IDSA New York (Industrial Designers Society of America), Inside Norway, Interiors from Spain and the Thai Trade Center (Thailand)
· Attendees: 23,709 at the 2009 show. The mix includes interior designers and architects, 53%; retailers, 27%; designers and manufacturers, 12%; and sales representatives and designers, 8%.
Niche
This contemporary-focused furniture market targets interior designers, retailers, designers, distributors, developers and the general public. The exhibitor base includes producers, designers and distributors of contemporary furniture, seating, carpet and flooring, lighting, outdoor furniture, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles and kitchen and bath products, for residential, office, contract and business use.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
· Materials Matter: This new program is both a showcase and a marketplace. The program is designed by the creative team of 2x4, with the joint sponsorship of George Little, the ICFF's organizer, and Material ConneXion Inc., which works to bring designers and manufacturers together with new technologies and processes. The showcase part is a “mind-expanding exhibition of cutting-edge materials and innovative production processes,” said Philip Robinson, ICFF's show director. The marketplace aspect draws on the rich resources of Material ConneXion, which maintains libraries of 4,000 materials on three continents. Its materials include polymers, glass, ceramics, carbon-based materials, cement-based materials, metals, natural materials, and natural material derivatives. Processes range from injection molding to rapid prototyping and more.
· ICFF Studio Bernhardt Design: This program, sponsored by Bernhardt Design and ICFF, showcases emerging design talents in a special area of the show. The showcase is designed to put a spotlight on up-and-coming designers, giving them exposure to producers and the media.
Upcoming plans
The ICFF plans to add “one-on-one programs and interactive exhibits” at upcoming events.
What sets your show apart?
“The caliber of exhibitors and decision-makers among the attendees,” said Robinson.
Web site
www.icff.com

Showtime


Dates
· June 6-9
· Dec. 5-8
Venue
Merchandise Mart Properties' Market Square, Market Square Textile Tower, and Suites at Market Square in High Point. Also the Fabric Center and Resource Center, also located in High Point. More than 150,000 square feet of total display space.
Key stats
· About 175 exhibitors, who are members of International Textile Market Assn., which was formed in 1990 to produce Showtime and advocate for its members.
· More than 800 buying companies are represented among Showtime attendees, including buyers from such varied industries as furniture manufacturing, transportation manufacturers, interior designers, fashion accessory producers and top-of-the-bed producers.
Niche
Exhibitor base includes manufacturers, jobbers and converters of domestic and imported fabrics, leather and trimming for home furnishings, transportation and decorative accessories applications.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
The 40th Showtime event was celebrated at Winter Showtime 2009. Highlights included a 4,000-square-foot trend presentation, sponsored by MMPI — themed “Amazed: In the Land of Ahhs” — that paid tribute to the 70th anniversary of the classic “Wizard of Oz” movie, and included Showtime's traditional fabric trend and eco-trend presentations. Also in 2009, ITMA partnered with the High Point Market Authority to sponsor the International Buyer Center in April and October, allowing ITMA member companies to preview their products for international buyers attending the semiannual High Point Market. In addition, ITMA added airport shuttles, courtesy tables and free bottled water available to attendees throughout the event. This year, ITMA also helped develop and launch www.talktextiles.com, an online glossary of fabric industry terms to aid consumers, store staff and fabric industry representatives with definitions and illustrations and, when possible, video content or links. The organization also updated the Showtime Web site at www.itmashowtime.com.The Web site offers valuable information about ITMA members, as well as how to use the Showtime Concierge for hotel and shuttle services.
Upcoming plans
ITMA will continue to negotiate low rates with local hotels and motels for Showtime attendees. In addition, the organization is “working to gain more international exposure for Showtime and members of ITMA,” said Catherine Morsell, director. “We are focusing as well on vendors and buyers of window coverings and top-of-the-bed products and how we can better meet their needs by adding complementary suppliers to our mix of exhibitors.”
What sets your show apart?
“Showtime is not operated by a profit-making trade show production company,” said Morsell. “Instead, the semiannual event is produced and operated by the members of ITMA. Also unique is our dedication to helping shape the future of our industry by encouraging talented individuals to enter the home textiles sphere. ITMA is reinvigorating its Educational Foundation, which is charged with organizing three major activities: the Virginia Jackson Design Awards; college internships; and the annual Industry Tour. Wesley Mancini has joined the ITMA board to spearhead the development of a more sharply focused program, which seeks to encourage young talented designers to consider the home textile industry for their careers.”
Web site
www.itmashotime.com and itmashowtime@northstate.net

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market


Dates
· Sept. 21 to 24
Venue
The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market takes place at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago each September. The Market boasts approximately 350,000 square feet of overall exhibit space in permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits.
Key stats
The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market averages approximately 350 exhibiting manufacturers in the casual furniture and casual accessories industries in its permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits located in the Market Suites of the Merchandise Mart. Manufacturers feature a wide range of product offerings, including rattan/wicker/woven furnishings, wood furnishings, cast metal furnishings, umbrellas, hammocks, lighting and accessories. Approximately 5,000 specialty casual furniture retailers, home furnishings retailers, department stores, pool and spa retailers, garden center retailers, hearth and fireplace retailers, cataloguers, hardware stores, discount/mass merchandisers, gift, holiday and decorative accessory retailers, interior designers, hospitality specifiers, architects, landscape designers and landscape architects visit the show each year.
Niche
The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market is a four-day trade show that provides retailers with an outlet to find all things related to outdoor and casual living.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
“MMPI has expanded the casual furniture industry by growing our offerings on the temporary floors of the Casual Market as well as our permanent casual showrooms at the Merchandise Mart,” said John H. Brennen III, executive vice president. “This expansion honors our long-standing partnership with the International Casual Furnishings Asnn. to grow the industry and allows our permanent tenants to showcase a larger selection of their product offerings to retailers during the market and to reach more audiences year-round to enhance their businesses, such as the design and hospitality trade shopping the Merchandise Mart on a daily basis…Additionally, in 2009 we launched the Garden Accessories Courtyard to expand our outdoor accessories offerings at the Casual Market. This is a special exhibitor area on the floor dedicated to manufacturers featuring the latest garden accessories and outdoor accents. By grouping these types of exhibitors in an organized location, it made it easier for buyers to shop the floor and find accessories for their stores.”
Upcoming plans
“The Casual Market will continue to expand its offerings of furnishings and accessories to present our attendees with the most complete collection of outdoor and casual furnishings,” Brennen said. “Additionally, we will continue to work with our manufacturers and industry partners to bring new experiences and marketing initiatives to entice buyers to the market and enhance their buying experiences while they are here. We also plan to offer key industry presentations about the latest trends and best business practices.”
What sets your show apart?
“The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market is the most complete collection of furniture, trends and accessories for outdoor living,” said Brennen. “At the Casual Market buyers see the newest, most innovative products unveiled by leading manufacturers around the world and they see firsthand the latest trends in color, product design, fabric patterns in the casual and outdoor industry.”
Web site
www.casualmarket.com

ABC Kids Expo


Dates
· Oct. 10 to 13
Venue
The Las Vegas Convention Center with 330,600 total net square feet of exhibit space and 908,496 gross square feet.
Key stats
· Total 2009 ABC Kids Expo attendance: 13,593
· Number of exhibitors: 919
· Number of 10 by 10-foot booths: 3,306
· Retailer attendance: 5,984
· Number of retail outlets: 2,550
Niche
The ABC Kids Expo is the annual event for the manufacturers and retailers of juvenile (baby through teen) and related products (baby through teen). The show serves the baby, youth and teen markets with products that include cribs, car seats, strollers, gift, apparel, nursing aids, room décor and maternity items. Organized pavilions within the show include Naturally Kids and Modern Child. Each year, about 300 first-time manufacturers exhibit at the show.
Steps taken to improve in 2009
“We did not take any enormous steps to improve the already highly successful event,” said Larry Schur, president of All Baby & Child Inc. and the ABC Kids Expo. “We felt that concentrating on the basics and providing our exhibitor base with their key retailers was the most important thing we could deliver. And so, while the economy was struggling, we looked at all aspects of the event and identified those that were highly successful. We concentrated on strengthening those portions of the event that were successful and dropped any that were marginal. We found that our e-blasts to our attendees were getting lost in the enormous clutter and, even though costly, we went back to direct mail as our primary vehicle to drive both domestic and international attendance. And it worked!”
Upcoming plans
“Once again, it's about quality and not quantity and delivering retail buyers to the show's nearly sold-out 2010 exhibitors,” said Schur. “We will be continuing to attract retailers from all over the world with increased international trade advertising and direct-mail pieces. Earlier this year, we embraced various social media and we will continue to do so with some enhancements at the event as well.”
What sets your show apart?
“Unlike most shows that are either retailer or manufacturer driven, the ABC Kids Expo is a partnership organization whose board of directors consists of an equal number of the industry's retailers and manufacturers,” said Schur. “The show is pretty much a 'down and dirty' order-writing trade show. There are no educational components. The show's constituency overwhelmingly requested that the show be a venue to conduct business, without any distractions that would take buyers off the show floor. But to meet the educational and networking needs of mom-and-pop retailers, the new All Baby & Child Educational Conference was launched in May 2009. This conference features numerous networking opportunities in addition to informative educational sessions and speakers and a day-and-a-half trade show. The event is only open to juvenile products specialty stores and their suppliers along with industry sales representatives and trade media. Exhibit space is provided by invitation only. The 2010 ABC Educational Conference will be held May 3 to 5.”
Web site(s)
www.theabcshow.com and www.allbabyandchildsec.com

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