• Cindy W. Hodnett

2017 Canadian show marks increases

TORONTO — Palliser and Bermex were two of the 78 new exhibitors that showed at the 2017 Canadian Furniture Fair, and fair representatives said that efforts to evolve the show to meet the needs of the furniture industry will continue.

“The 2017 edition presented a new and more effective layout, which accommodated more exhibitors than in 2016 and saw an increase of 3% of the overall exhibit space,” said Pierre Richard, president and CEO. “In addition, 78 new exhibitors were featured this year, including the return of great Canadian manufacturers Palliser and Bermex.”

Richard said that the annual show, held May 26-28, included several initiatives designed to augment the show experience.

“Our efforts to enhance the visitor experience through a Lunch & Learn Speaker Series, rest and entertainment areas on the Show floor, and an industry cocktail reception on Friday evening were well received!” Richard said. “Our three speakers, which included Sarah Richardson, generated rave reviews from attendees. Our new show schedule from Friday to Sunday seemed to please attendees since Friday was the busiest of the three days.”

Mike Clapham, the Canadian distributor for Surya, said that the company has been exhibiting in its permanent showroom for five years.

“The showroom was well attended on Friday and Saturday and seemed to slow down on Sunday,” Clapham said. “This is really the only Canadian furniture show, and it’s where we really get to see a lot of dealers, many of whom don’t participate in the U.S. markets.”

Clapham added that the Canadian showroom also attracts designers during the week outside of the annual show.

“Designers seem to have their favorites (styles), and they want to see the newest colors and trends,” Clapham said. “Canada is a bit different than the U.S. in that there is more of a focus on transitional and contemporary designers, and Surya is launching 500 new machine-made rugs.

“Basically, what we offer is a Canadian stocking program in Winnipeg with delivery in 10 to 14 business days,” he said. “We’re promoting our new product selection from Surya, and our customers feel like they are buying from a Canadian company.”

Francine Gagnon, a representative for upholstery, bed and occasional furniture manufacturer, William, said that her company was pleased with the turnout.

“Traffic was good for the amount of people registered,” Gagnon said. “It is important for us to be here to promote furniture Made in Canada.”

In 2017, 235 exhibitors attended the show, along with more than 50 Canadian furniture manufacturers and 7,000 participants. Following the market, CFS representatives are soliciting feedback from participants in preparation for next year’s show.

“The Show team wants to continue to foster the event's evolution to better meet the needs of our industry,” Richard said. “Surveys were sent to thousands of show participants as well as to former show participants. Their valuable feedback will help us make informed decisions as we prepare for the 2018 Canadian Furniture Show.”

Bellini Modern Living opened the company’s new 63,000-square-foot facility in nearby Richmond Hill during the show. Bellini recently purchased the building that includes an 11,000-square-foot mezzanine, a warehouse with 33-foot ceilings and the company’s new headquarters.

“Our 6,000-square-foot showroom offers an ideal place to showcase to the trade during this exciting growth period,” said Frederik Winther, vice president of sales. “From our recently expanded Italian leather living collection to our continued collaborations with designers like Louis Lara, the new space meets our needs perfectly.”

Mark Wiltshire, Palliser’s vice president of sales, said the 2017 Canadian Furniture Show met the company’s expectations.

“We were very pleased with traffic and sales during the past Toronto market,” Wiltshire said. “It is important for us to have a local Canadian presence at the Toronto market to see the dealers who do not travel to the U.S. markets.”

Marc de Grave, Protect-A-Bed’s vice president of business development for Canada, said traffic seemed to be lower than last year. He added that the show provided an opportunity for discussions about upcoming initiatives with buyers, including the launch of the company’s mattress in a box and new ZEEQ pillow.

“This is truly the only national show in Canada, and we need to take every opportunity to meet and train any and every store owner that we meet,” de Grave said. “Buyers wanted to know how we can help them grow their retail basket in today’s tough retail market.”

The Canadian Furniture Show has been held since 1972 and is owned and produced by the Quebec Furniture Manufacturers’ Assn.

Cindy HodnettCindy W. Hodnett | Upholstery/Style Editor

As the Upholstery/Style Editor for Furniture/Today, I spend my work hours studying the sloping curves of sofa frames, the intricacies of fabric and the nail head trim and button accents that function as jewelry on a piece of upholstery. I research the companies that bring these things together for retailers, and ultimately consumers, and interview industry leaders about their business strategies and where they think furniture is heading in the future. And when traveling, I provide a sneak peek at what I'm seeing, whether at international markets or in High Point or Las Vegas.

I look forward to sharing what I see and I hope you'll feel free to do the same. Email me at chodnett@furnituretoday.com or follow me on Twitter @CynthiaWHodnett.

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