After emptying the shelves during the fourth quarter holiday season, positive consequences of a more stable economy and falling gas prices, gourmet insiders kicked off the year by attending regional trade shows to research new products, meet with key vendors, and discuss new ways to restock and reinvigorate consumers in 2015.
The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market brought together retailers and suppliers through both intimate buying group-driven events, as well as traditional showroom browsing. All parties mutually agreed that, while the previous year got off to a slow start in regards to sales, a bustling fourth quarter made for a positive buying atmosphere heading in to 2015.
At the Dallas Market Center, a significant increase in attendance could be seen from the Southeast, noting more than a 50% increase from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina combined, market officials said. Atlanta, too, reported all-time records in attendance and activity at the market. Key highlights included the opening of the new Floor 6 bridge between Home & Rug collection in Building 1 and and the Gift collection in Building 2.
At Atlanta, Gourmet Catalog members came in record-breaking numbers to attend the company’s 12th annual Start of the Year Member Conference. There, they were able to get first-looks at new products from roughly 180 vendor members, sales demonstrations, and listen in on keynote speakers, such as Le Creuset CEO Faye Gooding.
“We were especially impressed by how willing the other retailers were to share ideas and offer solutions to each other,” said Suzanne Lane from Gray Goose Cookery in Old Mystic, CT. “It is a very supportive atmosphere.”
HTI Buying Group members were given similar opportunities in Dallas where the company maintains a permanent showroom. The group hosted a number of events and training seminars during the market to educate and engage retailers as well as allow for networking with each other and with vendor members.
“Dallas was a very profitable market for us. The sharing and education with other members is just a priceless perk,” Caroline Peterson of Plum’s Cooking Co. is Sioux Falls, SD said of the market.