Major players in casual industry choosing High Point
Staff Staff -- Casual Living, July 27, 2010
The category may be called casual but the pace of growth is anything but as two more major brands have committed to showing at High Point Market in October.
Summer Classics, a 25-year-old manufacturer based in Montevallo, Ala., will debut at the IHFC this fall in space W168.
"We have been thinking about High Point for years," said Bew White, Summer Classics' president. "Now that we have seen how the casual category has grown there, especially in the big building, it's clear there is an opportunity to expand our business with furniture stores. For us, the key was that our new space is so well-located and highly visible."
White launched the company in 1986 as The Vista Corporation, selling Adirondack style chairs, outdoor planters and benches. In 1996, with a name change to Summer Classics, the company added painted wooden furniture, market umbrellas and umbrella bases. Today, Summer Classics offers a diverse line of products, including hand-wrought and cast aluminum, weather-resistant wicker, imported indoor furniture, decorative accessories and outdoor fabrics. Its line is available in all 50 states and Canada.
Half-way around the world, Universal Furniture PT has become Indonesia's largest casual furniture company. Founded in 1993, the company has grown to include several factories totaling more than one million square feet of production space and 8,000 employees, serving customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
From its beginnings using woven natural Pulut Rattan, Universal PT's offerings have expanded and now include synthetic wickers, all produced under strict, lead-free and environmentally aware practices. The showroom is located in space H534.
With the arrival of these two companies, High Point's increasing influence on the category becomes even more apparent, according to Tom Mitchell, president and CEO of the IHFC. "More furniture stores and designers shop High Point," Mitchell said. "So, it's only logical for more casual producers to show in the IHFC to tap that channel."
Opening in 1921, IHFC was the original showroom building in High Point and after 89 years of expansion remains the centerpiece of the world's largest home-furnishings trade show that attracts more than 80,000 participants twice a year to 2,000 showrooms covering 11.5 million square feet. IHFC alone is home to 500 of the leading home furnishings manufacturers, including 13 of the top 20 companies, and covers 3.5 million square feet.