Outdoor trends gain attention at HD Expo
Cinde W Ingram & Jamie Sorcher -- Casual Living, 5/20/2013 12:49:16 PM
LAS VEGAS - Designers, buyers and specifiers for hotels, restaurants, international resorts and a few independent specialty retailers had projects in hand and inspiration in mind as they shopped the Hospitality Design Expo, May 15-17.
Most of the more than 900 exhibitors said they were pleased with the show's relocation to Mandalay Bay Convention Center from its former location at the Sands. Some of more than 7,000 professionals attending the show found a nearby food court and restaurants convenient although some said the Expo's L-shaped layout was confusing.
"From an exhibitor viewpoint, the parking is better for set-up," said Charles W. Hessler, executive vice president, Barlow Tyrie. "It's a good change. The vibe is back. Budgets are opening up again for projects that have been stalled for years."
"We've seen more people the first day than the whole show last year," said Bryan Echols, Lloyd Flanders sales rep. "The newer loft looks have been very well received here. They responded instantly."
Tropitone Furniture took its display up to a second story level for the first time to show off its expanded South Beach Collection, which added cushions in showy red and black color combinations. "Because South Beach really fits that type of feel, and night clubs are using lofts now," said Tanya Stevens, VP of marketing, Tropitone.
Lane Venture dressed up its display by mixing in high-end designs by Henredon, Pearson and Maitland-Smith. "That's one of the benefits of being part of Furniture Brands International," said Lane Venture President Gary McCray. "People are coming in and they are working on projects."
The contract side of the business is growing very steadily, Telescope Casual President Henry Vanderminden IV said.
"It was a really good show," said Judy Calzadilla, VP of Skyline Design. "We do get a lot of international business here. We saw a buyer who will furnish a huge project in Nigeria, but also saw people representing resorts from Dubois to Jamaica."
Brightly colored oversized containers and cement fire tables that drew double-takes at High Point Market also attracted buyers to Seasonal Living's booth at HD Expo.
Tim Capron, co-president of Castellano by Ancient Mosaic Studios, described the show as great. "Contract is new for us so we didn't know exactly what to expect," he said. "We've been slammed."
Paul Knapp, CEO, FiberBuilt Umbrellas agreed. "We're really busy," he said. "Business is good, but we're gearing more toward the retail market."
Retailer William Thomas, president of Rancho Mirage, Calif.-based Desert Patio, described the HD Expo as innovative. "It gives you lots of inspiration and design ideas," he said. "I watch this for trends and I picked out a few accent items for changing the look of our four stores. Business is picking up. Customers are building houses and big projects again, but the aspirational customer is still on the sidelines. Customers are becoming very receptive to new materials, like marine grade polymers."
Terra Furniture's outdoor lighting products were also drawing attention to its booth. "We've really had a lot of success at this show," said Jerry Rosengren, VP, Terra Furniture.
Sharing Terra's booth was Outdoor Design Studio's Dan Christopherson, who was introducing the Sol Dura brand with Sol Bresa chaise and separate Sol Cabana, a portable shade canopy designed to supply retractable cover for any chaise up to 36 inches wide. Although the canopy is easily moved on its roller-blade wheels, he noted a petite buyer from Hawaii picked up the 40-pound cabana on her shoulder and said men at the beach should be able to carry one on each shoulder.
"Our brand is all about taking the indoors outdoors and the outdoors in - blurring the line," said Karen Bienart, design consultant at Kenneth Cobonpue USA, which showed a large gazebo and chairs that could be translated with indoor or outdoor materials.
Mike Miller of Select Outdoor Kitchens was answering questions about its weather-resistant cabinets and a growing number of available finishes and countertop options.
Other outdoor kitchen lines were among the many first-time exhibitors, all of whom said they were pleased with the show's traffic and the potential to break into the contract market and make new contacts.
Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens was one of those first time exhibitors. "We're showing multi-piece doors with color," said Mitch Slater, president and founder of Danver, the manufacturer. "Designers like this because that is where the action is. It also gives them more options because that upscale customer wants to be different."
Slater said the company does 20 shows a year and that he wasn't sure how this one would rank. "We are busy," he said when Casual Living stopped by late in the morning of opening day. "Traffic at the show is wonderful. I didn't think we had a great location, but our day is going great."
First-time vendor at the show Trinity Hammocks was also looking for that big break. "We've seen more people in an hour than I did in Chicago," said Gilbert Tourville, president, referencing the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market. "This is only the second show that we have done, but what we have here is an amusing, fun object that touches on that vacation vibe. This could be residential or commercial; we just don't know which market will take off first."
The Outdoor Greatroom Company also was exhibiting at the show for the first time. One of its booth highlights was a pub-height table with fire. "We are really a fire table company now even though we used to be much more focused on grills," said Ross Johnson, VP of sales.
ParrLuxe was showing a sea cabana that the company is promoting as "floating real estate." The ramped-up raft has wraparound seating and overhead shade. It was conceived by Stuart Parr, a New York-based designer and movie producer (8 Mile). The eye-catching cabana has both residential and commercial potential. It is available in four sizes with starting prices at about $20,000. It was the company's first time showing at HD Expo.
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