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Four Hands wins Best of Market

People’s Choice Award goes to Global Views

The home furnishings industry’s annual showcase for excellence in showroom design culminated last week with the presentation of two awards honoring the High Point Market’s most creative and innovative exhibitors.

Brian D. Casey, president and chief executive of the High Point Market Authority presented Brett Hatton, founder and CEO of Four Hands, with the prestigious Best of Market Award in the High Point Market Showroom Design and Merchandising Ideas Competition 2009.

Four Hands team members responsible for the winning showroom presentation included designers Fran Weil, visual merchandising; Nicholas Miller, graphic designer, and Keith Britt, marketing director.

“Four Hands is a leader in trend setting for the industry in terms of product,” Casey said. “They are well known for an eclectic mix from different countries at excellent price points. From a display standpoint, the use of color, lighting and textures are always evident throughout the Four Hands showroom. In choosing the showroom as the Best of Market winner for fall 2009, the judges’ rationale was that the Four Hands presentation would encourage visitors to venture farther into the space. They also liked the global emphasis, which remains so popular now, along with the environmental story that can be told with the products.”

The award singles out the best display for fall 2009 as determined by a jury of respected industry editors with keen insights into the importance of fresh, new merchandising ideas. The panel of judges for the third annual event represented both domestic and international publications, led by Sheila Long O’Mara, Home Furnishings Business, Ray Allegrezza, Furniture/Today and Mark Woodman, Mix Magazine.

According to the judges, runners up for the Best of Market award this season were Global Views and Lexington Home Brands.

People’s Choice Award

For the first time in the history of the competition, the High Point Market Authority invited all market-goers to vote for their favorite showroom design via Twitter or standard text messaging — ushering in the presentation of the first People’s Choice Award.

“Launched this year to honor the voice of our customers, the High Point Market People’s Choice Award takes our showroom competition to a whole, new level,” Casey said. “Not only does the winning exhibitor have to present a spectacular display, they have to develop and implement a strategy to get their guests to vote.

“Global Views, winner of the High Point Market’s 2009 People’s Choice Award, excelled in both aspects of the competition,” Casey added. “Their showroom design was so creative and compelling that it earned Second Runner Up status in our juried Best of Market contest, and on top of that fine performance, the Global Views team did an exceptional job of promoting their display.”

With a focus on merchandising made easy, Global Views creative team Rick Janecek, Gregg Lovell, Erin Davis and Seth Vaughn developed a series of display ideas that brick-and-mortar retailers can use to draw customers into their stores. Clear, easy-to-reproduce merchandising stories create vignettes that suggest ways consumers can use the products in their homes while color pulls the whole ensemble together into a cohesive concept. Displays are organized by color, function and design, focus on interesting furniture and lighting pieces, and use striking colors to capture the customer’s attention.

“To promote their ideas, throughout the week before Market, the design team tweeted their Twitter followers and updated their Facebook page with regular reports of the showroom’s progress, complete with before and after photos,” Casey said. “Then, during Market, they sent out tweets and Facebook updates three to four times a day, asking their friends to vote for them. In the showroom, they not only asked every guest to give them a vote, they even trained those who had never used Twitter or text messaging on how to case a vote — going so far as to set up Twitter accounts for people who had never before used that service. And not to be undone by situations where someone had forgotten their cell phone or couldn’t get a signal, Global Views set up a laptop that guests could use to create a Twitter account, log on and cast their votes.

“Clearly, spectacular merchandising and smart, social media-savvy promotion strategies create a winning combination in today’s super-connected, high tech marketplace,” Casey said.
 
Runners up in the People’s Choice competition included Feizy Rugs and Charleston Forge.
 
Winning entrants in each category were presented with a crystal trophy cup for display in their showroom. Additionally, each of the exhibitors will be showcased on the High Point Market Web site as a resource for retailers following Market.

“We instituted this very special event to celebrate the extraordinary creativity and inventiveness of our exhibitors,” Casey said. “Additionally, by showcasing and honoring our exhibitors in this way, our goal is to provide retailers with a source of ideas, inspiration and techniques that they can use on their floors throughout the year as they work to deliver the ultimate shopping experience to their customers.”

The High Point Market Authority is the official sponsor of the High Point Market in High Point, N.C. Featuring an extensive selection of exhibitors spanning every category, style and price point and attracting thousands of visitors from more than 110 countries twice each year, the High Point Market is the driving force of the home furnishings industry.

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