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Variety, rarity selling in dining at Vegas Market

  -- Furniture Today, January 27, 2014

LAS VEGAS - Casual dining suppliers here say retailers are reacting positively to new or hard-to-find materials on tabletops, innovative ways to cut prices but maintain quality, and even the idea of selling a table with various types of chairs.
Cameron Cook, director marketing and communications at Four Hands, said retailers are reacting positively to the introduction of a Bonham dining table in the company's Thomas Bina collection. The table, which retails for $3,900, has a concrete top with a clear lacquer finish and angled legs of peroba wood.
"It's a new material," Cook said of the concrete top. "Nobody else is using it."
She added that retailers like Bina's knack for taking a found material (like concrete) and building a collection around it. She also said that retailers like iron and marble tops on Four Hands' tables as well.
At A-America, "It's all about the wood," said Dean Banks, senior vice president of sales, merchandising and marketing. But he also credited tables with blue stone tops for some "fantastic" opening-day business. The material is used in the rustic West Valley and traditional Andover lines.
Banks said the blue stone makes for a great look, which is made even better for the seal that makes the table's surface resistant to water and stains. He said the surface can also be fire-treated to create a rustic look. A-America also offers blue stone tops in its new occasional tables.
Fred Henjes, president and CEO of Riverside Furniture, said he had enough commitments and orders during the market's first day to put the Castlewood collection into production.
"That was the first goal," he said. "We achieved our first goal."
The Castlewood collection, which retails for $999, offers a way to mix or match several types of chairs with one rustic farm table. Retailers may show the table with one type of chair or with a variety.
Henjes encouraged the idea that a consumer could revive the old farmhouse habit of using different types of chairs with one table. "People used whatever was on hand," he said.
Howard Cohen, an executive at Canadel Furniture, says his company is soft-launching a new Gourmet Collection here, which will enable the company to offer casual dining at lower price points than its regular line, $1,399 to $1,899.
The tops of tables, seats and buffets will be made of solid birch, but the rest of the collection, including legs and aprons, are in less expensive hevea wood, enabling 20% to 30% cost reductions that will result in lower prices, Cohen said. When the woods are finished, the collection maintains the same look throughout.
Cohen said the company needs enough product to meet demand before it starts processing Gourmet orders, which he promised to fill within 30 days. The goal is to meet the order goal by the April High Point Market.

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