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Susan Dickenson

Las Vegas Market receives high marks from buyers

OPalavela Home co-owners Ryan O'Meara and Sue O'Meara.
With the 2012 Summer Olympics well under way, Home Accents Today kicked off its market "man on the street" interviews this week in Las Vegas with Ryan O'Meara, an Olympian (and furnishings retailer) who competed in ice dancing at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. O'Meara, co-owner of Palavela Home in Scottsdale, Ariz., shared a few Olympic memories along with his first impressions of this edition of the Las Vegas summer market. Read on to see what he and several other retailers had to say about this "new and improved" market venue.

Our store is named after Palavela, the name of the arena I skated at in Torino in 2006. Going through an experience like the Olympics offers you such a good base to kind of start the rest of your life on. It opens up a lot of doors and opportunities. I went to college for interior design, and after coming back home to Arizona, that's where I decided to launch my next venture, so naming the business after that -- it just felt like the right thing to do. We've been open since 2007 - we started out small, and now we're in a 4,000-sq.-ft. beautiful Spanish-revival building, and it's great. We absolutely love it. Skating is so artistic, and you have to put together a great performance. Design in the store and all that goes with it is very visual, and my passion, so both the sport and what I'm doing now transitioned nicely. We haven't been to Vegas in a year and a half, but now it seems the manufacturers are putting some good new products out there. We're excited to see all the new stuff. What are we looking for? Our store is very transitional, with a lot of unique pieces, so we're really looking for that updated look people can mix into their own homes. Are we watching the Olympics at night while we're here? Of course. Isn't everyone? -- Ryan O'Meara and Sue O'Meara, Palavela Home, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jessica ArnoldJessica Arnold
I'm the director of category management for furniture and décor at We're looking at primarily furniture this market, but we do the accent pieces as well. Within furniture and decor we have nine categories, so there's a buyer for each category, and an assistant for each. We have a lot of meetings with existing suppliers to talk about how business is going, what new products they're bringing out, what they see in the market, the trends. We'll also meet with new people we've been wanting to get on board with, that have unique products. Right now we're looking for more of a transitional type mid-priced point ... more Asian-inspired décor. We've seen of little blips of opportunity based on our online stats, and that's where we're looking to kind of fill those out. Also, I think a lot of manufacturers are looking toward building out more of a high-end brand within their selection, so that's something we're keeping an eye on -- how are they positioning that, are the products being sourced from different places, and what are customers looking to do with those products. It seems like more of an individual statement piece with these higher-end brands, and not so much putting together a collection or suit of bedroom or dining furniture, for example. -- Jessica Arnold, director of category management for home furnishings,, Boston

Marie and Ross FeltzMarie and Ross Feltz
We won our trip here, by entering World Market Center's sweepstakes on the Home Accents Today site -- an all expense three-day paid trip. This is our first Las Vegas Market, so we went to the first-timers seminar this morning. It was really, really helpful. We got here at 7:30 to see a few showrooms before the seminar. We hopped on the shuttle, the grab and go breakfast was great, we sat on the sofas outside and looked through the guidebook. The website is incredibly helpful, too. Both High Point and Las Vegas's sites are model websites for tradeshows. And this space - you've got a space that was built and designed specifically for the purpose of showing and selling home furnishings. It's amazing to see something designed to provide a certain function and it does that so well. -- Marie Feltz, Decorating Den Interiors franchise owner and regional director, and Ross Feltz, public relations, Decorating Den Interiors corporate, Meadville, Pa.

Christopher Yellen and Ryan PruettChristopher Yellen and Ryan Pruett
We sell furniture, accessories and gifts for the eco-friendly, green lifestyle, without being too beige or berry-and-twig. You can bring that eco-friendly touch in without always having it be drab or burlap. We've been in business almost six years now. We started out small, brought in a couple eco-friendly lines because that's what we practice in our lives. We do a great candle line -- Vance Kitira -- love their stuff. Their aesthetic is beautiful, and they use lots of natural materials. We come to just about every Vegas market, and we've been to High Point. It's great now that Vegas and High Point are joined -- hopefully they'll make a nice partnership. We've only been here a few hours but have already noticed a few little improvements that are really nice. The last couple of years have been tough. Our housing market has been awful. It's recovering, but we're on the beginning of an up-cycle. We had a giant bubble -- values were ridiculously out of line so we had farther to come back than most other folks. Business is OK, but it's summer -- everyone leaves us. Until then it's been better, and the fourth quarter is coming, so we're focused on that. What are we looking for? We kind of like to do a little flying by the seat of our pants. It's great to have trends and read about trends and see what's coming, but a lot of times that doesn't necessarily translate to your piece of the market. So it's nice to go out and see what's out there. -- Christopher Yellen and Ryan Pruett, Home-ology, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Collins and PietzKolby Collins and Suzie Pietz
Our store will be 11 years old in October. We sell home décor, jewelry, candles, vases, and furniture. This is our fourth Las Vegas Market. We came here several times when it first opened, then stopped when we felt there weren't enough accessories or seasonal. We're back this week due to a scheduling conflict, and are happily surprised at how much it's improved. A lot more of the vendors we use are now here. The website and online navigation of the WMC site is the easiest of all the tradeshows. We were able to register for passes oline and receive them by mail in advance, so we just walked right in. And we created a personalized list of our exhibitors on the site, then printed it off to bring with us. There are more vendors here now, the shuttle service is running smoothly. This market I'm looking for something different -- I never buy the same thing twice -- and looking for low minimums. So far, we espeically like Soyveda's furniture, candles and tea, plus I bought a light fixture there. It's exciting to come back here especially because it's closer, and less expensive for us to travel. -- Kolby Collins and Suzie Pietz, Rare Earth Decor, Ridgefield, Wash.

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