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Cinde W. Ingram

MMPI launches Lake Living

About 90 home decor and gift vendors at the Merchandise Mart will display products defining the concept of Lake Living this month during The Chicago Market: Living and Giving.

Craig Dooley, MMPI vice president of marketing, was pleased with the initial number of participating exhibitors. Casual furniture manufacturers' permanent showrooms on floors 16 and 17 generally will be open and accessible to attendees. Dooley hopes both vendors and retail buyers will recognize their opportunity to capitalize on the mindset and lifestyle of fresh water homes and second homes.

"Retreat means different things for different people," Dooley said. "To some people, it is the urban Chicago lakefront and shopping the Magnificent Mile. To others, it's a place where cars aren't allowed."

In July, MMPI displayed a Lake Living house, which will again appear with new accessories in its South Lobby near the Mart's front entrance.

Second home sales accounted for four out of 10 residential transactions in 2005, the National Association of Realtors reported. With baby boomers driving demand, NAR predicted sales of vacation homes will remain strong for the foreseeable future.

Banking on those statistics, MMPI aims to pull together products that reflect Midwest's respect for Minnesota's Land of 10,000 Lakes, all the Great Lakes and other fresh waters.

"Lake Living is one of those categories that has national appeal, but because of our geographic location and position in the industry, we can deliver it better than anyone else," Dooley said.

He expects the Lake Living collaboration will only grow in time for the Sept. 17–20 Casual Market.

Display of furniture and accessories at Merchandise Mart captures lifestyle and mindset of Lake Living.

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