• Bill McLoughlin

Inaugural Home Furnishings Manufacturing Solutions Expo well received by exhibitors, attendees

Expo may become regular industry event

ATLANTA — If the first year of any new event can be considered a proof of concept then the inaugural Home Furnishings Manufacturing Solutions Expo appears to have cleared the first hurdle on the path to becoming a regular industry event, according to attendees and exhibitors speaking with Furniture Today on the show floor.

The event is a partnership between Exposition Development Corporation and Progressive Business Media, parent company of Furniture Today, along with educational support from the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA).

“We wanted to come and talk to the people we do business with here as well as see if there are other people we should be doing with,” said Mike Jarnigan, president of Woodhaven Furniture, a division of Aaron’s. “This is a positive market and one that’s needed since the others like it have gone away.”

Scott Jorbel, an engineer with La-Z-Boy and one of four company members walking the show floor, said he and his team attended the show looking for potential new suppliers. “We’ve seen some new people we hadn’t seen before,” he said. “We’d come back, and it may make sense to bring some folks from the textiles and manufacturing side of our business as well.”

The Manufacturing and Solutions Expo featured a large number of machinery and equipment demonstrations along with a two full days of educational sessions developed by AHFA as well as information sessions provided by several exhibitors.

While exact attendance numbers were not available at press time, Lorie Gross, show director for Exposition Development Company, said, “What we’re hearing from exhibitors is that they are seeing the right people in terms of companies and they are seeing decision makers.”

Gross noted that registrations included representatives from Ashley Furniture Industries, Ethan Allen, Flexsteel, Gallery Furniture, Rooms To Go and Standard Furniture among others.

Jeff Zimmerman, sales manager at Dapa Products, a supplier of welt cord for furnishings such as pillows and upholstered furniture, said, “I’ve had several good leads so far” as of mid-opening day. He noted that the company attended the event because there were a very limited number of shows attended by the company’s customer base and none that addressed it as directly.

“Most shows are for finished goods and not a lot of purchasing agents attend,” Zimmerman said.

Scott Bridges, president of Vertex Fasteners, a division of Leggett & Platt, indicated the show’s timing presented some challenges in terms of getting the company’s equipment on site due to its close timing to Interzum, a furniture manufacturing and interior design event in Cologne, Germany, that ended May 24.

Despite that, he said, “We’ve been seeing steady traffic, and we’re seeing the right people. We would definitely do this next year and are glad to see the dates

hfmseAttendees gather around a cutting machine demonstration, one of several such demos conducted at the Expo.
move into July which will be helpful.”

The most widely represented segments for the first event were suppliers to the upholstery segment, with cutting machine suppliers dominating the exhibit entrance and holding ongoing demonstrations throughout both days.

A number of exhibitors sold the equipment on site, with one (Zund) posting a sign mid-way through the second day indicating its display piece had been sold to Canadel.

Overall exhibitors noted that the Expo met a currently unfulfilled market segment, providing a space for suppliers of equipment and business solutions specific to the home furnishings industry to meet with their core target audience.

“We’re pleased with the show, especially considering it’s the first one,” said Jimmy Bush, president of the Hickory Springs Division of HSM. “We expect it to grow and think it’s good for the industry. And we are here to support the industry.”

Bill McLoughlinBill McLoughlin | Chief Content Officer

I'm Bill McLoughlin Editor in Chief of Furniture/Today and Chief Content Officer of KidsToday. For over 25 years I've covered retail across more channels of distribution then I can count. My goal on these pages is to share ideas, insights, even random musings to help enhance children’s lifestyle merchandising, whether that is in the form of trend, product or lifestyle information; or simply a fresh take on our society.

Some of you will agree with me, others not. Either way I hope to spark a lively dialogue that can help move the industry forward in positive directions.

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