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Atlanta winter market sparks optimism for 2012

Jesse Burkhart, Nicole Crews -- Casual Living, February 9, 2012

With few exceptions, outdoor furniture and accessories suppliers reported strong foot traffic and order writing at last month's Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, lending an upbeat mood to begin the calendar year. The mostly positive accounts follow two consecutive years in which the Atlanta January market was beset with poor weather conditions that discouraged attendance, but an unseasonably warm winter goaded buyers to make the trip to AmericasMart this year, where showrooms boomed and bustled with retailers buzzing over this season's product introductions and line expansions.

"We were out with L.L. Bean last night and found out that we have the front cover of their 100th anniversary issue. We will be featuring our bright Adirondacks and we are very excited about that."

MARK PHILLABAUM, co-founder, Poly-Wood


"Foot traffic has been very strong. I haven't seen this type of foot traffic in four years. There's no weather issues for the most part - at least in Atlanta - so people are getting here. People seem really upbeat and excited to be here."

JOSEPH CILIO, president, Alfresco Home


"It's gone well and traffic is up. It's hard to fall out of a hole though so I would say that this is more of a typical market and that things are getting back to normal. We are seeing a lot of new dealers and getting a positive vibe from them and great buzz about 2012."

TAD VARGA, president, Three Birds Casual
Lorenzo’s Woodworks introduces the Rustic Art Birdhouse Collection featuring architectural elements and repurposed vintage materials.
Lorenzo’s Woodworks
New to the industryNew to the industry, Pamela Crawford’s Color Your Patio coordinated accents include outdoor pop art like the gerbera daisy sextych.
Manual Woodworkers & Weavers promotes team spirit with outdoor pillows emblazoned with your favorite college or university logo.
Manual Woodworkers
Spotlighting an elegantSpotlighting an elegant scrolled design on the back, the Veracruz chaise lounger from Three Coins Cast garnered the attention of Atlanta market buyers.
Color gushes from the kaleidoscopic Kingston loveseat and armchair, the best-selling living set for Jewels of Java at the Atlanta market.
Color gushes
Muted colorwaysMuted colorways and intricate detailing are hallmarks of Alfresco Home’s expanded pottery line, which “is really beginning to get some legs to it,” President Joseph Cilio said.


"We're off to a great start. Our sales are good, we've introduced a new catalog and we've got new product, so we're very pleased. We've actually had a price decrease for 2012. I made some changes to make our manufacturing costs go down a little, so I'm extending that to my buyers."

SUSIE POWELL, owner, Three Coins Cast


"We're definitely bringing out new product [this market]. We've always done treated pine, and so the biggest change we've made is we've brought out a polymer product, and about half the orders written at the show have been for polymer."

REBECCA LY, president, Uwharrie Chair Company


"It's better than last year since we were iced in then. For two years in a row we've had bad storms - and the weather is definitely a factor during these winter markets - so [traffic] has definitely picked up from that. The weather is nice, and I think that gives people better spirits."

BARBARA SIMEON, business manager, Jewels of Java


"We heard a lot of good things about this market, and we've gotten a good response. At the Atlanta market, you don't see a lot of the wicker, and the [buyers] see us and are surprised to see it. We've noticed that motion is really hot right now, so once we know if a line is successful for us, we've been trying to add on more motion pieces."

WINNIE NG, U.S. sales manager, Ratana Home & Floral
Napa Home & Garden owns the exclusive rights to sell synthetic pottery by Elho, a Holland-based company making its U.S. debut.
Napa Home & Garden
Weather…Or Not by Push BackWeather…Or Not by Push Back Time is a line of handcarved, customizable, convertible swings that feature a back that switches directions for reversible views and pulls out completely to form a day bed.
Wood Fire brings the barnyard to the backyard with recycled tin critters crafted in Mexico.
Wood Fire brings
The Right Mat by CustomThe Right Mat by Custom Cordage is made from recycled lobster fi shing three-strand fl oating ropes that are obsolete due to federal regulations that require sinking line to prevent whale entanglement.
Frank Perez-Andreu, president of garden accessories supplier La Candela, reported perpetual interest in the Hummingbird outdoor torch, part of the Museum Collection.
Frank Perez-Andreu
Telescope CasualTelescope Casual individualized the glider mechanism so those with a laid-back approach can do it individually.


"We've definitely seen a tremendous increase in traffic this year, which is exciting for us because we have lots of new product to showcase to buyers. January is always a really strong market for us. [In 2012], we see extended product categories for us by capitalizing on our ability to customize product, and we're really focusing on keeping our specialty stores happy."

TAMMY HICKEL, executive VP and general manager, Magnet Works


"It is basically the best market I have seen in a while. I've seen people here I've never seen here before. There are some major [retailers] here, as well as some really large companies. It has been years coming, but the market is back."

SHARON DEFELICE, CEO, Two Dogs Designs


"The January market has always been the best for us. There seems to be more upbeat people this year. We just introduced firepits at this show for the first time [in company history]. Several orders we've written have included those, and our swivel club chairs have always been popular for us."

STEVE PATTON, Southeast sales representative, Windham

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