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Q: How important are custom orders in driving business at your store?

Jerry Stroupe, Inside-Out Home Furnishings, Brentwood, Tenn.

It's huge. When you're dealing with upper-end customers and upper-end lines, our custom orders are between 50% and 60%. They bring their designers in or they bring pieces of their curtains or other material and we help design it.

Cast is not custom at all. Probably when we're dealing with companies like Tropitone, where they can customize it, it's at least 35%. We have broken this down minutely because we need to know and woven resin is so dynamic right now. Natural wicker and rattan is not dead at all. Resin wicker is by far dominant, but indoor wicker is a very viable category — one we could not possibly lose.

Marc McDonald, Leisure Living, Salt Lake City

Custom orders seem to be a steady business for us. There doesn't seem to be a significant change in the total percentage of our business. Our meat-and-potatoes is still done from our stocking inventory because of our short season and the simple fact that most customers do not want to wait for their special order.

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