Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, July 2, 2011
When buyers and designers return to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, they will find an expanded lineup of casual manufacturers in permanent showrooms.
Crimson Casual and PolyWood are the most recent additions to the 17th floor. Whitecraft is expanding and relocating its showroom from the 16th to the 17th fl oor. Anacara recently renovated its 16thfl oor showroom and will be sharing space on a daily design basis with Les Jardins, Selamat Designs and Silver State.
New to 15th-floor showrooms are TUUCI, Skyline Design, Pelican Reef Wicker, Padma's Plantation and The Rug Market, outdoor rug division.
"We are very excited about all of the new showrooms opening in the building in time for the ICFA July Preview Show and also for the September International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market," said Whitney Gillespie, vice president of casual leasing, MMPI. "The new additions are a great sign for the casual industry and reinforce the fact that the Chicago Merchandise Mart off ers the most complete collection of casual and outdoor living resources."
Long a temporary floor destination, TUUCI's shade systems will be displayed in its new showroom, located between those of Jardin de Ville and Summer Classics. "TUUCI has exhibited at the Merchandise Mart since our inception and we felt it was time to take a permanent showroom to demonstrate our commitment to the casual furniture industry," said Ward Usmar, vice president of sales. "We have experienced some growth in the retail world, and now our retail partners have an opportunity to more fully explore the world of TUUCI on a year-round basis in Chicago."
Crimson Casual President Jon Bennett said the Haleyville, Ala.-based manufacturer of American-made extruded and cast aluminum furniture is ahead of expectations. "This has come sooner than I planned, but our tripledigit growth has allowed me to execute our next phase of distribution growth, which includes a showroom in that phase," Bennett said.
Poly-Wood's new 3,480-sq.-ft. showroom will feature more than 128 seating and dining options, representing 14 collections marketed under both the Poly-Wood and Trex brand names. "The Poly-Wood line has grown significantly, and we believe this is an ideal time both to reveal the depth of our product selection within the outdoor furniture category and to expand our presence to potential new retailers," said Chad Yordy, director of sales and marketing.
"We feel in order to properly market Inside Out by Padma's Plantation, we have to have a permanent home here," said Kevin Spolt, VP, Padma's Plantation. "We are also pleased to have the opportunity to share and cross-merchandise the showroom with The Rug Market."
Judith Calzadilla, VP, Skyline Designs North America, said, "Our new presence on the 15th floor will provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of Skyline Design's most innovative outdoor furniture lines."
"We feel in order to properly market our indoor and outdoor furniture to multiple audiences, we have to have a showroom in the building," said Mayleen Chadwick, VP, Pelican Reef. "We are looking forward to off ering competitively priced merchandise that is in stock for immediate shipment to retailers, designers or hospitality projects."
"With our relocation to the 17th floor, we will be able to show a greater portion of our ever-expanding product lines to dealers who may not be as familiar with the Whitecraft name," said Bill Herren, director of sales and marketing, Whitecraft . "The Casual Market is the apex for outdoor furnishings, and we see this expansion as an investment in our future."
The Monterey Cushion Collection by Crimson Casual, one of seven manufacturers investing in new permanent showrooms at the Merchandise Mart.