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Casual Market events set

Industry awards, new exhibit details

The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market returns to The Merchandise Mart in Chicago Sept. 21-24, offering the most complete collection of furniture, trends and accessories for outdoor living.

The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market encompasses 350,000 square feet of exhibit space filled with more than 350 permanent and temporary exhibitors. It is the only show in North America dedicated to the indoor/outdoor casual furniture industry that is endorsed by the International Casual Furnishings Association – formerly known as the Summer & Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association (SCFMA) and the Casual Furniture Retailers Association (CFR).

The annual trade show is expected to attract thousands of retail buyers, catalogers, hospitality specifiers, interior designers, landscape designers and landscape architects.

Buyers will see the latest product introductions from the industry’s leading manufacturers displaying furnishings and accessories. These will include wrought iron/aluminum, cast metal/cast combination, rattan/wicker/woven materials, tubular materials, resin/fiberglass and wood), umbrellas, hammocks, outdoor lighting, outdoor carpeting and rugs, garden accessories, tabletop, statues, fountains, outdoor bars, outdoor hearth and heating products, alternative tabletops, barbecue grills, pool and spa accessories and more.

Along with an incredible range of products, buyers will have access to numerous educational seminars and networking opportunities throughout the four-day Market, hosted by ICFA and MMPI. These seminars offer opportunities to learn insights in trends in the industry, network with peers and further professional education.

The New Product Gallery will return to the 1st floor of The Merchandise Mart to present a comprehensive overview of the newest casual furniture designs, color, fabric trends and outdoor accessories for the 2010 season.

Signage and a New Exhibitor Showcase on the 8th Floor of Market Suites will highlight manufacturers new to the Market. Also new this year, The Garden Accessories Courtyard, a 10,000-sq.-ft.-area located on the Northwest side of the 8th Floor Market Suites, will feature decorative accessories, outdoor lighting, hearth products, tabletop, rugs, pottery and statuary.

Special events + Awards
The following is a summary of special events and award presentations that will take place during Market:
Monday, Sept. 21
Design Excellence Awards Presentation
6 p.m. • Market Suites 7th Floor
The Design Excellence Awards salute the best in new product design in now 11 categories. A  Market Welcome Party, located on the 8th Floor, will immediately follow the presentation.
Market Welcome Party
6-8 p.m. • Market Suites 8th Floor
After viewing the Design Excellence Presentation, kick off your Market experience right with this fun event. Complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres served. Hosted by MMPI and Casual Living magazine.

Wednesday, Sept. 23
50th Annual Apollo Awards + Fashion Show
6:30 p.m. • Chicago Union Station Great Hall – NEW LOCATION
The grandest event of Market, the Apollo Awards celebrate the influential contributions made by industry icons. This year’s awards will also celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Awards and the founding of the SCFMA, one of the predecessor organizations of ICFA. Leading retailers in single- and multi-store categories will be honored. The 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award winners will be recognized and the Design Excellence Best of Show Award winner will be announced.
Additionally, attendees will see the latest fabric trends during dinner with the Textile Trends: Al-Fresco Fashion Show. Presented by Casual Living magazine and headlined by Sunbrella, this premier runway event previews the latest fabric collections from top outdoor fabric manufacturers.
By invitation only and tickets required. Hosted by MMPI and the ICFA.
INDUSTRY PRESENTATIONS AND ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS
The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market is pleased to present complimentary educational industry presentations for Market attendees and exhibitors alike.

Join us at 1 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, the presentation begins at 9 a.m. with a light breakfast. All presentations take place on the 15th floor in the Library, Suite 1520 by the center elevator banks.

Monday, Sept. 21
Going From Better to Best: Best Retail Practices
1 p.m., The Library, Suite 1520, 15th Floor
This informative discussion will feature successful retailers from around the country, and their best ideas and best practices that have helped them survive economic and competitive challenging times. This panel discussion is ideal for retailers who want to learn more about improving their bottom line by gaining insight from proven best practices. Sponsored by Casual Living magazine.

Tuesday, Sept. 22
Accessories: Visual Interest, Substantial Profits
1 p.m., The Library, Suite 1520, 15th Floor
A panel discussion on the use of accessories and what it can mean to a store’s bottom line, moderated by Hearth & Home Editor Richard Wright.

Wednesday, Sept. 23
How to Market Your Store: Panel and Roundtable Discussion
9 a.m., The Library, Suite 1520, 15th Floor [Breakfast Seminar]
This lively panel and networking session will focus on ideas and ways that stores can market themselves in local communities. The expert panel will consist of Kevin O’Brien, president of Obrien et al Advertising Agency; Penny Schneck, online sales manager for Reed Business Information, and Doug Sanicola, owner of Outdoor Elegance.

Following the panel discussion, attendees will be able network and partake in small roundtable discussions. Sponsored by Casual Living magazine.

Thursday, Sept. 24
Trends in Design — Beyond 2009
1 p.m., The Library, Suite 1520, 15th Floor
Discover what’s hot in the home — both indoors and out — during this informative panel discussion. Industry experts will discuss the latest in furniture designs and styles, popular paint colors and finishes, plant and floral pairings and provide tips to create the ultimate outdoor kitchen. Also learn how the green movement is affecting homeowners’ choices. Interior designers, landscape architects and buyers are all encouraged to attend. Sponsored by Garden Design magazine.

Show hours at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart

Permanent Showrooms: Floors 15, 16, 17
Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 21-23, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 24, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Temporary Exhibitors: Floors 7, 8
Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 21-23, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more information, please visitwww.casualmarket.com.

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