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RIO Brands makes major patio furniture introduction

RIO Brands entered the casual furniture category, presenting more new product than at any time in the company's 60+ year history during the May 8–10 National Hardware Show in Orlando, Fla. The Philadelphia, Pa.-based manufacturer introduced a broad line of steel and aluminum patio furniture and accessories under the RIO Creations banner. Its program included designs in stacking, folding chairs and action chairs, plus coordinated tables and umbrellas.

RIO had many firsts in the development of new concepts in patio furniture, for example RIO introduced the first wire grid patio stack chairs to the United States in 1983. In 1984, RIO originated the concept of an outdoor dining set in a box. "Well-thought-out, on-trend risk-taking is nothing new for RIO," said Mark Cohen, vice president, sales. "We enjoyed a real success with our opening price point sets this year because RIO added an element that the trading companies don't offer at this price point — fashion."

With a long history in the outdoor furniture business, an early success in opening price point goods to use as a stepping stone and both marketing and manufacturing in place to deliver quality goods on time, RIO sees 2008 as a new beginning and an important direction for their established quality, fashion, design and value.

"The time is right for us to make this move due to a number of factors: from the standpoint of our company size, capacity, financial strength, management team and market conditions," said RIO Brands President Warren Cohen. "We have the financial strength, facilities and expertise to enter this market without hesitation. Our joint venture factories in China occupy over 1 million square feet and employ over 2,000 people. In addition we have a permanent American staff, living in China and supervising production and quality control in the factories. Most customers don't realize it when they meet with us, but we are the factory."

Mark Cohen added, "Our new 30,000- sq.-ft. showroom in Wuyi, Zheijang Province, China will give us a world-class venue in which to present to major customers our greatly expanded product offering where the industry does their buying — in the Far East."

Because RIO feels there is room for trend-conscious designs in the under $500 patio set market, that's where it is putting its effort. The company is betting their creativity and engineering superiority will propel it to the position of a major player in the mass portion of a business that helps Americans claim the new room in their homes — the outdoor room that is their patio.

"We see our move as a three-year process of increasing line breadth and depth," Warren Cohen said. He pointed out the launch includes dining sets, open-stock stacking chairs, open-stock deep-seating stack chairs, bistro and conversation sets, promo folding sets and chairs and open-stock market umbrellas. Plus, there are accessories including loungers, accent tables and a RIO Creations category exclusive — color-coordinated rolling party coolers.

Rio Brands' new Laguna set

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