Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, October 1, 2009
I laughed as I watched my family’s puppy pounce on fallen leaves that swirled with a gust of wind. Hours after returning from an upbeat Casual Market, the air outside carried a refreshing chill and our pool was under cover again.
Fall appears to be arriving on schedule, signaling a much needed change from the beastly economic season just past.
Those of you at the 50th annual Apollo Awards dinner in Chicago’s Union Station may be like me, still thinking about all those past seasons reflected in the photo presentation. I wonder what peaks and valleys were crossed by each of those award-winning retailers.
As he accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award, Laneventure founder Art Thompson reflected over his career and said his greatest reward was having inspired a passion for the category in the next generation.
Richard Frinier, also a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, continues to inspire with his product designs and visionary thinking. In addition to the blurred line between indoors and out, he sees an opportunity to blur the line between furniture dealers and design centers. He stresses the value of dealers making a commitment to being in the furniture business and keeping casual furniture on the floor year-round, rather than switching out for another off-season category. “If a furniture store doesn’t have furniture for the outdoor room, they’re missing a sale,” he told me.
With fewer customers walking in the door, no one wants to miss a sale.
Like the casual industry, my family has undergone dramatic changes since March when our oversized 12-year-old yellow lab died. We mourned the pet we had raised alongside our now 14-year-old son. Although Rowdy had slowed down over the past few years and had trouble climbing steps, he was part of the family. Anyone who has seen the movie “Marley and Me” can picture what we went through. Ironically, ICFA director Joe Logan was the first who recommended the book to me.
When I returned home from the July Preview Show, my son and I claimed this lab mix, free-to-good-home puppy. We call him Eli the La-Beagle. Our puppy is full of energy, bullying cats and straining to catch the next leaf or stick on the ground. Our sorrow has turned to smiles. Although one season has ended, the next one feels full of promise.
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Cinde W. Ingram
Casual Living Editor-In-Chief
7025 Albert Pick Rd., Suite 200, Greensboro, N.C. 27409