Outdoor exhibitors ready for Atlanta Market debut

Casual News Now recently spoke with International Market Centers about the upcoming Atlanta Market Jan. 10-16 to learn what changes the casual industry can expect.

As a follow-up, we spoke to a few exhibitors to see how they’re preparing for the January market, as well as the big July show.

As January approaches, nearly 50 outdoor manufacturers are gearing up for the first Atlanta market since IMC purchased the Casual Market. Although the casual show sponsored by the International Casual Furnishings Association won’t officially happen until July 2023, part of the reason IMC bought the market was to bring new buyers to outdoor companies throughout the year.

“At AmericasMart in Atlanta, we can offer ICFA the space and the accessibility that it needs,” says Scott Eckman, IMC executive vice president and chief revenue officer. The casual offerings include nearly 50 purpose-built showrooms on four contiguous floors (AmericasMart Building 1, Floors 2-5) with an updated trade show hall just above in Building 1, Floor 7.

One main advantage of the move, according to Ekman, is that casual furniture will be shown at two dedicated ICFA events and also offered with four IMC markets each year: Casual Market Atlanta (July, co-located with Atlanta Market), Outdoor Design Days (September, co-located with Fall Market), Atlanta Market (January and July), Spring Market (March) and Fall Market (September). 

Leisa McCollister, vice president of marketing at O.W. Lee in Comfort, Texas, says its showroom will be open in January and fully merchandised. 

She adds that the company has never shown in Atlanta before and will use July for its official grand opening but will be very much open for business in January as well.

“We are sending less staff than we will in July, similar to how we staff up for shows at Las Vegas market,” she explains. “We will be adding more fixtures and signage, etc. between January and July. We are using January to get into the space and see how we will really use it before we add the final touches.”

William Kruzel, business development partner at Mamagreen, with headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, says the company is going “all out” as far as making sure the showroom is ready. The company plans to have a number of C-level team members present.

“The only real change for July then is to apply all the lessons learned from January, perhaps add a few fun events and schedule more rep meetings,” he says. “We’re displaying our newest 2022, one-half line extensions with new pricing for 2023 (no more freight surcharges) and new marketing materials. I’m pretty excited and know it will be a learning experience for all involved.”

Castelle, based in St. Augustine, Florida, also will be participating in the January show, but Rory Rehmert, senior vice president of sales, says this will be a soft opening.

“While we will not be fully set up, we will be ready to do business,” he explains. “The January show will give us the opportunity to be visible to dealers and designers that frequent the gift show. We will be able to get a read on the January market and be able to get a lay of the land in our new space.”

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