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Fresh looks for 2005

The Casual Furniture Retailers Association, meeting Jan. 10–12 in Atlanta, is determined to help others not only survive but thrive. Starting in this month's issue, CFR board members will offer tips to help others succeed. Bruce Aronson of The Pool & Patio Center, New Orleans, explains how to shop a gift market while Mary Fruehauf of Fruehauf's Patio & Garden Center, Boulder, Colo., shares strategies for successful holiday sales. The CFR board will write How To columns of interest to fellow casual furniture retailers during 2005. If there's a particular subject you'd like addressed, please contact them or me.

Sharing insights he gained during our sister publication Furniture/Today's recent Leadership Conference, Editor in chief Ray Allegrezza noted Fred Berk of Robb & Stucky advised retailers to sell more than furniture. By that, he means retailers should sell the shopping experience.

Unity Marketing founder Pam Danzinger follows a similar logic as she provides consumer predictions for the second half of this decade, as shoppers move past the luxury market and toward the new age of experiences. Savvy retailers may already be evolving their stores to take advantage of this subtle paradigm shift, fueled by baby boomers reaching their empty-nesting years with a realization the goal of shopping is less about acquiring than achieving new kinds of experiences. Casual furniture retailers can show consumers how to fulfill their desires for outdoor living areas designed for moments of quiet relaxation as well as more social times entertaining family, friends and neighbors.

Besides selling the shopping experience, Berk advised retailers to continually reinvent themselves. We join him in urging you to change the look of your stores so that shoppers will expect new and exciting experiences when they visit. They'll want to make more repeat visits to see what you're doing.

At Casual Living, we also are constantly reinventing. You will notice changes in the issue you're holding. It's our way of making our product look fresh, just like you do at your stores, as we all welcome the New Year.

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  • Frank Verna Unveils Tropitone Furniture's Showroom at Casual Pre Market

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