• Powell Slaughter

Midwest Furniture Show sets Sept. dates

CHICAGO – The Sept. 21-22 Midwest Furniture Show will celebrate a decade in service to the retailers of the upper Midwest in a new location – Boback’s Conference Center at Seven Bridges in Woodbridge, Ill.

Midwest furniture clubThe Midwest Furniture Club organizes the show. Allan Landau, the current president of the Midwest Furniture Club, announced the new location and timing of the show at the last Club meeting in early July.

“For 10 years, our Club has provided this service for the retailers of Chicago and the upper Midwest,” he said. “We found a new location that is more conducive to conducting business and flexible with its floor layout. We expect that this year’s Show will be memorable.”

Show Coordinator Kirk Handley, who is heading up efforts to produce the show with Landau, is working on  ways to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first show.

“We have a few surprises up our sleeves with prizes and drawings. We’ll keep doing what is popular including offering a free lunch and drinks for attendees, as well bringing in manufacturer’s and special deals for our customers,” said Handley. “Our customers have come to expect a certain level of excitement, surprises and chances to better expand their business acumen at the show. We will continue the quality of that experience.”

The Midwest Furniture Show is a regional furniture, bedding and accessories show that is run by the Midwest Furniture Club, one of the largest IHFRA chapters in the United States. Each year the show attracts around 80 exhibitors and 300 retailers from across the Upper Midwest.

Geoff Weed, one of the original founders of the Midwest Furniture Show, will show his Ashley upholstery line for the 10th straight year. “My partners and I in Chicago write more business at this show than any other week of the year,” Weed said. “It’s become vital to our yearly growth goals. We bring in marketing partners, our management, our new concepts and product lines and invite our entire account base to come and get deals. We actually are expanding into our largest footprint this year to meet the demands of our retailers.”

Weed estimates that “only 5% to 8% of our account base attends High Point or Las Vegas regularly. Meaning, 92% of our accounts never attend market. We bring market to them, and they appreciate it.”

“The goals of the show remain the same,” said Landau. “We want all the retailers in Chicago and the upper Midwest markets to have the chance to see new furniture and accessories, see new lines, and talk with professionals in marketing, freight and back room operations. We come together to make their business more successful. The timing of the show is designed to help our furniture retailers and interior design community make the most of the fourth quarter and tax time 2017.”

The 2015 Show attracted more than 300 attendees and 50 exhibitors across a broad spectrum of resources. Major exhibitors included, Ashley, MDA Rugs, Pulaski and Aireloom Mattress. In addition to furniture companies, finance companies such as American Express, freight carriers, equipment vendors and advertising firms exhibited. Regional distributors rounded out the selection of vendors for retailers to work with. In addition, members of the Home Furnishings Association attended to recruit new members.

A majority of attendees were from Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, but some came from as far away New England and California.

“This is a working show. Exhibitors write business, and retailers get to see a number of vendors in one quick day. They can eat breakfast at home and be back home for dinner,” said Handley. “But we hope they stay all day. We will have coffee in the morning, a free lunch at noon and a social hour in the late afternoon of the 21st.”

Space is still available for manufacturers or furniture service companies who want to participate. For $3.50 per square foot, exhibitors get rental space, marketing, pipe-and-drape and carpeting, a prime venue, free breakfast and lunch for exhibitors and attendees, access to many independent retailers in a major market, staging and storage assistance, and a lively social hour.

“It’s a labor of love, with many IHFRA reps contributing to the Midwest furniture community,” Handley said. “Our only requirement, other than paying rent, is that each rental space have an active member of the Midwest Furniture Club in their space.”

Check the show’s website to register and get more information. or e-mail to midwestfurnitureshow@gmail.com.

Powell SlaughterPowell Slaughter | Senior Editor

I'm Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. While I cover occasional, home entertainment and home office here, a major responsibility is expanding our attention to the logistics side of the industry. I hope my articles will encourage a dialogue with retailers, vendors, third-party logistics specialists and carriers. I’d love to hear your ideas, concerns and suggestions for smoother flow of material and goods.

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