Heimtextil 'Productive' for Vendors
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 1/26/2009 12:00:00 AM
Frankfurt, Germany —
Despite a marked decline in attendance from earlier years, the American exhibitors at Heimtextil here earlier this month were generally comfortable with their results.
The American exhibitors appeared to be pulling in potential and current customers, even as overall exhibitor numbers were down based on the numbers of stand locations that were covered over and identified with the company names of those who had committed for the spaces but not shown up.
The American retailing contingent was down in terms of number of companies represented, as well as number of people per company.
"It was a productive period, even though there were fewer exhibitors," commented Bob Hickman, svp of United Feather & Down, which shared space with its European partner, Molina of Italy. "Molina had a phenomenal show," he added.
"It was very good for us, even though attendance was down significantly," said Mike Harris, ceo of Faribault. "People were there to do business and we expanded our customer base in other parts of the world." In addition, Faribault had visitors from U.S. retailers that had not expected to see, Harris noted.
For Lonnie Scheps, vp of Hudson Inds., it was a matter of quality traffic versus sheer numbers: "It was better than I expected, and we had very modest expectations." Equally as important as sales to retailers "is that we had good European distribution opportunities, which was one of our key objectives. And we had a nice number of leads that will result in business. This [foam pillow and topper] category is still fascinating to European customers."
"It was sparse but there was quality if not quantity" in terms of buyer numbers, said Robert Harrisburg, owner of Bosal Foam and Fiber. "We'll be back, no question."
"We hit a home run; we walked away pleasantly surprised," commented Stan Fradin, president of Roc-Lon. "We wrote orders for new accounts as well as doing good business with existing customers."
For Dormisette/Stellar Alliance, "There were motivated buyers, but it was a disappointing show. The results were expected — ok — and we had good meetings," explained Ryan Jones, one of the principals. On the other hand, Wulfing, which it represents in the United States "saw all its key European customers," he added.
For ATD-American, "We picked up good new accounts and the regulars were here," said Timothy Voit, international sales manager. Overall, he said, "It was slow, just like 2007."
"It shook out very well for us; it was a global coming-out party and I felt really good about introducing our new facilities to the global market," said Scott Maddalene, svp at WestPoint Home. "That gave us a good point of differentiation." The company returned to Heimtextil after an absence of several years "and it was better than I expected," Maddalene noted.
For Charlie Schlang and Greg Haft, who represent Kitan and several Asian suppliers, "We are extremely pleased with the North American turnout. They were serious buyers and are working on programs for this year and beyond," Schlang explained.
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