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Cinde W. Ingram

CFR Web site addressing industry's future

The Casual Furniture Retailers Association's updated Web site at www.casualfurniture.org has started educating consumers about outdoor furniture products and directing them toward specialty stores in their areas.

"It's starting to really shape up and be more consumer-friendly on the home pages," said Tim Newton of Leader's Casual Furniture. "We're still under construction in the member area, but we do have the Forum up. We've got some give-and-take going in the Forum so specialty retailers can network more. I'd like to see that traffic pick up as more people realize that it's there."

Although Newton was active last year in developing the blueprint for the updated Web site, he later was pulled away from it while Leader's opened two new stores. He gave credit to Greg Martin, president of Kolo Collection in Atlanta, for pulling together the Web site's new look and user-friendly construction.

Recognizing shoppers often start their search on the Internet, the CFR home page was designed to attract and inform consumers, not strictly retailers. The product education part of it offers helpful tips as well as definitions of outdoor furniture material types, fabrics and finishes. CFR also is offering advertising programs, targeting the retailer or consumer.

"We wanted to revamp the site to gear it more to end users while still have it serve as a resource for the industry," Martin said. "We plan to add more content, both for the consumer and the industry in the coming months, and look forward to our manufacturing partners advertising on the site in the near future."

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