Good News & More News
July has always been our Fabric issue. It was selected to coincide with the ICFA Preview Show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. That show is really the first time patio retailers get to see next year’s offerings of both fabrics and frames (see new fabrics in "Inspiration Is Everywhere").
It wasn’t always that way. We’re old enough to remember when manufacturers found a four-day market in September to be sufficient. Then along came a new CEO at Brown Jordan, who had the brilliant idea of beating other manufacturers to the retailers’ wallets.
He lined up 18 18-wheelers (or so the story goes) and headed for Lake Las Vegas where he had struck a deal to exclusively place Brown Jordan furniture throughout the grounds of the Hyatt hotel (I think).
Well, the stampede was on! The ICFA and its manufacturers decided to create a three-day show at the Merchandise Mart in July, and it existed until the coronavirus came to town.
Will it exist once more when it’s safe to go out?
Who knows? But the better question is – is it really necessary? That’s a question that always stimulates conflicting answers. Most patio manufacturers like it for it gives them a chance to work with their larger, most important customers at a leisurely pace (unlike the hectic atmosphere of Casual Market Chicago in September).
But this is a new day, with a new reluctance to gather in groups unless absolutely necessary. If the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) can handle 4,400 exhibitors and 170,000 attendees in four days, and the International Builders Show (IBS) can accommodate 95,000 attendees in three days, then it stands to reason that Casual Market Chicago could easily do so in four days. Just sayin’.
Need Some Good News?
Leave it to writer Lisa Readie Mayer to uncover sunshine on a cloudy day, or terrific sales in the time of COVIC-19. Case in point . . .
“One of the neat things we’re seeing is families are reuniting around the grill,” says Lisa Gilliatt, owner of The Grill Works in Marion, Iowa. “People are home, they have time to cook, and they’re looking for ways to keep the family busy.”
By May, Gilliatt’s grill sales were up 78% over last year, with growth across all grill categories, accessories, and fuels. “We’re selling grills so fast we can’t keep them in stock,” she says. “We would receive 45 grills on a Monday, and they were all presold. We would have another 95 grills coming in the following two weeks, and most of those were already presold.”
For more good news, see "A Mirror of 2008!".
Much More Than Electric Fireplaces
If you believe that Glen Dimplex is just a manufacturer of electric fireplaces, you’re wrong, and not alone. It also manufactures wood-burning hearth products, other domestic appliances, cooling, ventilation, and renewable energy sources.
Want to learn more about Glen Dimplex? See "The Electrification of Comfort" and meet Robert Bartucci, chief executive of Glen Dimplex Americas. He’s someone that you really should know.
Be careful. Be smart.