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  • Cinde Ingram

Staying ahead and on-trend

Take a deep breath. I know most of you are extremely busy this time of year selling casual home furnishings or getting products ready for the next season so I'm glad you've found a moment to read and reflect.

I appreciate everyone who shared photographs of your stores, outdoor displays and vignettes to compete in our sixth annual Merchandising Awards contest. Again, I hope those of you who didn't compete will see the value in showing off your stores next year. Just ask past winners how good it made their staffs feel to get a pat on the back from their peers in the industry. The current winners soon will receive plaques and news releases, which they can send to newspapers in their area to get a bit more attention within their home markets.

The Greenhouse Mall will receive an acrylic trophy, which Karen and Paul Galindo can decide how to display in their San Antonio store. For Karen's merchandising tips, see page 42. Our judges spoke of her store's upscale feeling and picked it as most fashionable although the style competition was tough. The Southwestern decor in the store is definitely on-trend to capitalize on demographic changes the nation as a whole is experiencing.

Research shows Hispanic consumers are projected to hold about 10% or $1 trillion of U.S. buying power by 2010. Because of its location, The Greenhouse Mall caters to its customers both north and south of the border. No matter the result of our current political tussle on immigration reform, the United States continues to be an immigrant nation.

Most of you are savvy enough to recognize other ongoing changes, such as home decor and fashion trends merging closer than ever. Colors on the runways aren't too far away from outdoor home furnishings displays in your store.

The fashion gap is getting smaller as American homeowners furnish outdoor living areas in ways that reflect their personalities and lifestyles. If you need proof, check this out for the second edition of Designing Out: The 2006 Home Lifestyle Report, commissioned by Laneventure.

Hope you also can benefit from these trends and stay ahead of the curve.

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