RIO Brands makes major patio furniture introduction
Clint Engel -- Casual Living, May 14, 2007
RIO Brands presented more new product than at any time in the company’s 60+ year history during the May 8-10 National Hardware Show in Orlando, Fla. The Philadelphia, Pa.-based manufacturer introduced a broad line of steel and aluminum patio furniture and accessories under the RIO Creations banner. Its program included designs in stacking, folding chairs and action chairs, plus coordinated tables and umbrellas.
Established in 1947 as All-Luminum Products, RIO Brands is one of the oldest, continuously active companies in the outdoor furniture business. A leader in the beach furniture category, RIO Creations is preparing to enter the casual furniture category with the same fashion leadership that made RIO Beach a standard.
RIO had many firsts in the development of new concepts in patio furniture, for example RIO introduced the first wire grid patio stack chairs to the United States in 1983. In 1984, RIO originated the concept of an outdoor dining set in a box. “Well-thought-out, on-trend risk-taking is nothing new for RIO,” said Mark Cohen, vice president, sales. “We enjoyed a real success with our opening price point sets this year because RIO added an element that the trading companies don’t offer at this price point – fashion.”
With a long history in the outdoor furniture business, an early success in opening price point goods to use as a stepping stone and both marketing and manufacturing in place to deliver quality goods on time, RIO sees 2008 as a new beginning and an important direction for their established quality, fashion, design and value.
“The time is right for us to make this move due to a number of factors: from the standpoint of our company size, capacity, financial strength, management team and market conditions,” said RIO Brands President Warren Cohen. “We have the financial strength, facilities and expertise to enter this market without hesitation. Our joint venture factories in China occupy over 1 million square feet and employ over 2,000 people. In addition we have a permanent American staff, living in China and supervising production and quality control in the factories. Most customers don’t realize it when they meet with us, but we are the factory.”
Mark Cohen added, “Our new 30,000 sq.-ft. showroom in Wuyi, Zheijang Province, China will give us a world-class venue in which to present to major customers our greatly expanded product offering where the industry does their buying – in the Far East.”
Because RIO feels there is room for trend-conscious designs in the under $500 patio set market, that’s where they are putting their effort. The company is betting their creativity and engineering superiority will propel them to the position of a major player in the mass portion of a business that helps Americans claim the new room in their homes – the outdoor room that is their patio.
“We see our move as a three-year process of increasing line breadth and depth,” Warren Cohen said. He pointed out the launch includes dining sets, open-stock stacking chairs, open-stock deep-seating stack chairs, bistro and conversation sets, promo folding sets and chairs and open-stock market umbrellas. Plus, there are accessories including loungers, accent tables and a RIO Creations category exclusive -- color-coordinated rolling party coolers.
Concerning trends, Warren Cohen said, “In general, we will be seeing in 2008 an overall deepening of frame colors mostly working with lighter tones of coordinated colors on slings and cushions in patterns and stripes. There is a trend toward bolder, brighter fabrics on chairs and umbrellas. On frames, that translates to dark browns, warm grays, neutrals and black. Black is up-trending for frames. A bit less edgy, warm grays and greige (meaning grayish beige) will continue, too. Bolder fabrics play out in burnt orange and brick red, with more lush greens, plus patterns that use brighter accent colors than have been seen before.”
More and more, the idea of bringing indoor fashions outside is determining the direction on the patio. To address and infuse these influences into its new line, RIO has identified these themes into which its products are organized:
From the Earth – colors, forms and materials blended to evoke the feeling of tranquility found in nature’s environment.
Contemporary – always in the mix indoors and out, contemporary is uncluttered, sleek and sometimes thought of as being urban or metropolitan.
New Classics – especially important with the rise of the “bring the indoors outside” trend, this theme recognizes established looks in classic indoor furnishings and recasts them in new applications for the outdoor room that instantly bring a look of richness, history and refinement to the patio.