The Atlanta scene
Susan Dickenson -- Casual Living, August 12, 2011
MIDWAY THROUGH THE SUMMER ATLANTA International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, vendors in the casual and garden décor category remained upbeat, as traffic to the two-story "Living. Outdoor/Indoor. The Gardens" showcase in Building 2 West- Wing remained steady.
Ribbon cuttings marked permanent showroom expansions and relocations at Exhart, The Pottery Patch International, Designer Stone, Ibis & Orchid Design Inc., Premier Kites & Designs, Toland Home & Garden and Viducci's Garden USA. And, despite its recent Chapter-11 filing, business appeared to be bustling at Napa Home & Garden, one of the 10th floor's largest showrooms.
Barbara Simeon of Jewels of Java, producer of teak and rattan outdoor furniture, said buying at the July market got off to a fast start, slowed on day two, and picked up considerably by the afternoon of day three. Simeon said the mood was one of cautious optimism but that buyers were showing interest in a "mix of everything." "I'd hoped the recession would be over by now, but everything takes time," she said. "As we near the end of another season, we're looking forward to getting ready for a better year next year."
Of the many outdoor products and furniture items offered at H. Potter, CEO Jerry Peed said the glass terrariums were selling fastest, due in part to the growing coverage the hobby/art form is getting in major media and design news sources. In outdoor furniture, H. Potter introduced a half dozen new pieces, along with cushions in a "standard set of color offerings - green, red, yellow. Our most popular option this market, however, has been graphite, which is a dark gray," said Peed, whose company has been showing in Atlanta since 1995.
Paul Sheffield of Exhart said his best-seller this season is the company's Anywhere Lighting line, an indoor/outdoor assortment of battery-operated accent lighting. "Each stays on for either five full hours, or there's a four- to eight-hour switch. They're carried in lawn and garden centers, gift stores, lighting stores, and we have a full array of price points from $2.99 up to $200. There are other players out there, but we're the first I know of with the indoor/outdoor version."
Exhart relocated this market to a new expanded 1,400-sq.- ft. showroom on the ninth floor. "We've been showing in Atlanta for about eight years in Building 1, so this is a new place for us here," Sheffield said. "Atlanta is the only gift market we do. The other major industry show we do is the National Hardware [Show] where we launch all the stuff you're seeing now."
Designer Stone also exhibited in a new location on the ninth floor. Owner Michael Gentilucci said his company, which sells American handmade cast-stone garden art, has been exhibiting in Atlanta for about six years. "I think as a whole the market is slowing down a little, though we aren't necessarily seeing a downturn," he said. "I see plusses on the drop-ship side, with the catalogs, and in our own garden shop. People are looking for more inspirational art and unique items, and that's what our collection offers.
|At The Pottery Patch, suppliers of imported
Mexican, Thai and Malaysian
pottery, intros included birdbaths and
statuary made from glazed pottery
and this slate/concrete combination.
The Pottery Patch exhibited in a new
1,200-sq.-ft. showroom on the 10th
fl oor.||Mariachi’s Mad Mats are made of
recycled polypropylene, which makes
them perfect for porches, decks
and patios. Known for their weather
resistance, low price, colorfastness
and durability, Mariachi founder Amy
Kimmich said the mixed-stripe pattern
was popular this season.|
|The Moderno outdoor sectional by Three Coins Castings, is constructed of
solid cast aluminum with Sunbrella cushions and can be arranged in a host of
"Since the beginning of the year, we've added 13 or so different Zen creations," said Gentilucci. "A lot of my garden centers on the West Coast say their customers are really starting to collect these items. The book saucers we've had in our line for four years and every year we add a few new titles. That's kind of how our collection works."