Jesse Burkhart -- 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."
"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."
"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."
|Lorenzo’s Woodworks introduces the Rustic
Art Birdhouse Collection featuring architectural
elements and repurposed vintage
|New 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.|
|Spotlighting an elegant
scrolled design on the
back, the Veracruz
chaise lounger from
Three Coins Cast
garnered the attention
|Color gushes from the kaleidoscopic Kingston loveseat and armchair,
the best-selling living set for Jewels of Java at the Atlanta
|Muted 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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
rights to sell
by Elho, a
its U.S. debut.|
|Weather…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.|
|The 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.|
|Telescope 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."
"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."
"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."
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