Rug suppliers express optimism about show
By Cecile B. Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 1/14/2002 12:00:00 AM
With the same optimism that a new year brings, rug suppliers are confident that the Atlanta International Area Rug Show will be one of the best in recent memory.
Some may think it's easy to hold high expectations for buyer turnout in Atlanta in comparison to a lackluster New York Home Textiles market in October — just weeks after the Sept. 11 tragedy.
But the consensus is that appointment rosters are up considerably, and rug suppliers are preparing to impress with strong introductions.
"I think this will be one of the best January markets ever," David Starr, national sales manager, Anderson, SC-based Orian Rugs, told HTT.
Starr said Orian has made appointments with 25 percent more buyers than usual. But more importantly, Starr said, was the quality of retailers.
"I'm talking about 25 percent more of the larger retailers — department stores, mass merchants and home centers," he said. "And I think it's because a lot of people who didn't go to New York in October are looking for inventory now."
To service its growing roster of potential customers, Orian has enhanced some of its more popular existing collections with new colorways and patterns.
Chas Sydney, vp, area rugs, for AmericasMart Atlanta, the site of this biannual event, said, "If a buyer hasn't been to the rug show in a while, this year is the time to make a comeback because it's going to be the place to be."
Sydney said that, without being specific about market's attendance list, "all the hotels in downtown are fully booked, which is a great indication of the turnout we'll be having."
And based on the work of AmericasMart's Buyer Relations Team, a group assigned to encourage buyer attendance to the event, Sydney added: "We'll be seeing a vast majority of all the major players attending, and in some cases, many retailers will be sending more than one buyer. It's shaping up to be one of our best years ever."
Mohawk Home is "preparing for it to be a very strong market," said Patrick Moyer, vp of marketing. Among the introductions is the launch of Mohawk's new collection of rugs designed by licensing partner Chris Madden.
The market's climate seems to be perfect for Saddle Brook, NJ-based Nourison to unveil its new Calvin Klein line of licensed goods, said Ed Vairo, director of creative marketing.
"We definitely expect traffic to be up," Vairo told HTT. "Most people basically have a good attitude about this market and believe as we do that we are turning a corner and looking forward to a better spring."
Adairsville, GA-based Louis de Poortere is nearly doubling its runner program by adding 300 skus to its existing Jeravan, Mossoul, Pergame and Mahajeran collections, as well as launching four new runner lines — Vincenzo, Antalia Cordal, Richelieu and Classics — in anticipation of "an exceptional market," Terry Flamant, president, told HTT.
"For me, it's turning out to be the most exciting year in my nine years with Louis de Poortere," he added.
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