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Blue skies

Nicole Crews, Brent Felgner, Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, October 25, 2011

The sun shone intently on the International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market throughout its four-day run at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

"We've had a lot of the larger retailers go through our booth. We're getting support from furniture stores like Nebraska Furniture Mart, HOM and R.C. Willey. We'll have a full presentation in High Point when we'll devote 4,000 square feet of our showroom to casual."

Mark Gorr, senior VP of casual furniture, Z-Line Designs

"I think people are very upbeat and it's been a positive market. It's a good direction for the casual furniture industry. A lot of smaller manufacturers are growing with the business. We're seeing an upgraded, fashionable look. The icfa does a great job with this show."

John Brennen III, executive VP, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.

"We've been overwhelmed with the positive response from existing dealers and also from new dealers. This market seems to have a very positive mood to it. Dealers are not as conservative anymore. They're more committed to carrying more inventory and to having more things on their floor." [Known for its high-end tabletops, Ancient Mosaic Studios developed a composite tabletop to hit price points dealers requested and filled out its offerings with three collections of cast and extruded aluminum chairs.] "It's going to change our company. I think it makes us much more attractive."

John Wasylenko, director of sales and marketing, Ancient Mosaic Studios

Designed LivingDesigned Living launched its reconfi gurable, Lego-like Flex-line Furniture in nauti-navy and ship’s white.Steve & JamesSteve & James gleaned inspiration from Dutch Delft pottery lines to formulate the woven design manufactured by Indonesia-based fabric manufacturer and newcomer to Chicago Ateja.
Designed by Raymond WaitesDesigned by Raymond Waites, the Cocoon Collection touched on the recurring blue and white palette at Lane Venture.

"We are solidly booked. Everyone we would expect to be here is here plus a lot of new people since we've opened up the door by closing a gap in pricing. Now buyers who previously didn't think Gloster fit into their budget are seeing a whole new side to us."

Eric Parsons, president, Gloster Furniture

"It's been tough since early in July for a lot of stores, but we've had a lot of people come in, so I think it depends a lot upon the attitude of the buyer. Those that are approaching things with positivity seem to be much more successful than the naysayers."

Terri Lee Rogers, VP of sales and marketing, OW Lee

"We really want to be a fashion house and be a brand known for color, style and quality. We have 200 appointments more than last year, so no one here is complaining."

Steve Lowsky, executive VP, Pride Family Brands

"We've been overwhelmed. We have opened lots of new accounts."

Allen Robertson, VP of sales, Capel Rugs

"It's been phenomenal. Panama Jack has been a homerun for us. Rooms to Go is considering it. The majors want it for next year. We've written container orders from Hawaii to the East Coast. They're excited about the price points and the brand. Right now the trend is still outdoors."

Allen Calzadilla, president, Pelican Reef

Treasure GardenTreasure Garden and Shademaker showcased their umbrella mechanics in their newly expanded showroom.Actiwin’s ApexActiwin’s Apex sectional is awash in Sunbrella’s Pacifi c Blue.
Erwin and SonsErwin and Sons introduced the Newport Collection featuring WonderWood and a smooth-sailing smattering of cool, blue tones.

"We started out of the gates Monday morning at a fast pace and have stayed busy. All of the people who said they would come to see us did come see us."

Louis Torrans, co-owner, Torrans Manufacturing Company

"It's all about color as it always is. We know from people coming in that they've seen it and they want to see the full line. We have six different price points now and three different constructions."

Charlie Peck, president, Trans-Ocean

"I think people are looking for something new, fresh and different. They are willing to reach out and put it on their floors."

Zachary Bryant, VP of merchandising, Lane Venture

"The show's been good, better than it's been in a long time. Our customers are feeling more confident. They use our space more and stock more of the bestselling orders. I think they're ready to make commitments and meet the deadlines."

Barbara Simeon, business manager, Jewels of Java

"Our booth has been non-stop busy. People keep coming back because we offer good product and excellent customer service. I think people appreciate that in today's world."

Eric Dych, VP, Erwin and Sons

"We've seen the retailers we need to see. The people who are coming in are qualified and ready to buy."

Jay Hansard, sales representative, Padma's Plantation

Richard Frinier’s Maison JardinRichard Frinier’s Maison Jardin Collection for Century is marked by his Provence-inspired fabric collection for Sunbrella.Classic-Maxim Outdoor ArtClassic-Maxim Outdoor Art digs deep into cobalt pigment ore and origins with designs based on document pottery and porcelain dating back to the ninth century.
Phifer partnered with Steve & JamesPhifer partnered with Steve & James to form a custom weave suitable for furniture construction. The textile is shown here in two-tone.

"We now have confirmed another double-digit increase for next year. We are very happy with where we are positioned. We increased our full-line retail sales with many new stores this year and anticipate adding a least as many in 2012."

Bob Gaylord, president, Agio

"I have written more orders than I ever have at a show. This really helps us grow our business this year. Former dealers who have held back for the last year or so have come to see us. People are very positive and they're saying, ‘I'm glad you're back."

Gene Crouch, general manager, Meadowcraft

"I think the market mood has been very good. We had a very good early-buy season and I look forward to continuing that through the fall. Everything is going well. There are a lot of good vibes here and the retail perspective is good. The traffic that is here is solid and serious."

Joseph Cilio, president, Alfresco Home

"I'm hearing nothing but good things from manufacturers and retailers alike. The product itself is astounding this market."

Joe Logan, executive director, International Casual Furnishings Association

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