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Cinde W. Ingram

Musical chairs

As we start a new decade, everyone is shaking off the frightening economic free-falls of the past couple of years

As we start a new decade, everyone is shaking off the frightening economic free-falls of the past couple of years.

In this issue, Casual Living takes a look at what’s happening with outdoor furniture sales in sunny Florida, which often serves as a business barometer for regions with colder climates. One of the first and hardest hit when the national housing market sputtered and stalled, Florida’s slow transition toward its new norm is described by retailers and manufacturers as more sustainable than a fast snapback.

We’re also featuring Victory Furniture, a long-time outdoor furniture retail specialist in Southern California, which serves as another divining rod for the casual industry. Now in its third generation, the 64-year-old retail chain partners with Treasures Furniture to display its outdoor furnishings on a 4,000-sq.-ft. covered balcony in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Partnerships in paradise may be hard to imagine if you’re surrounded by snow and ice when you read this. To focus that mental image, read our report about the new partnership between Schou and Margaritaville Enterprises to create outdoor furniture inspired by the laid-back lifestyle songwriter Jimmy Buffett made famous over the past four decades. If you’ve ever visited one of the Margaritaville restaurants or attended a Buffett concert, you know the sense of excitement and escapism shared by music lovers of all ages – whether or not dressed like pirates, parrots or sharks. Not knowing “where to go when the volcano blows” is something small children and grandparents sing without fear as the volcano rumbles nearby.

Schou USA President Christopher Curran said working with Margaritaville is like being given a license to have fun.

For a sampling of how fabric suppliers are providing fun patterns and colors, see the latest swatches in our Fabric Showcase. Our exclusive fabric research also provides answers about best-sellers along with trend predictions.

Despite the lingering doom-and-gloom of the global economy, or perhaps because of it, consumers’ desires for fun, excitement and escape are stronger selling points than ever for the leisure industry. We always talk about this being a fun industry. If you’re waiting for permission to have fun with the products you design, make or sell, now is the time to act without asking. Make your product or your store a fun experience.

Anybody ready for a mango margarita or a cheeseburger in paradise?

Feedback? Send your comments to:
Cinde W. Ingram
Casual Living Editor-In-Chief
7025 Albert Pick Rd., Suite 200, Greensboro, N.C. 27409

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