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Atlanta Rug suppliers hawk wares, hope for more traffic

Atlanta -- The Atlanta International Area Rug Market has had a slow start -- and is likely due for a slower finish -- as showrooms and corridors here are quiet today. Buyers are about, but they are few and hard to find.

Area rug suppliers are here in force, however, with many new wares and sharply price appointed offerings. But with few retailers making an appearance for this slower-than-usual summer market.

Still, eco-friendly and USA-made goods are the widespread themes. Here are some examples of the key products and programs Atlanta exhibitors are fronting:

-- Hellenic Rug Imports debuted its new licensed program with Southern Living Magazine on Sunday, the first day of the rug market.

The company also added additional designs to its designer collection with HGTV celebrity Candice Olson.

Domestic product was another focal point. Hellenic’s Athena and Rhodes custom-order programs comprise wool rugs made to look like sisal. Manufactured at the company's Calhoun, Ga. facility, the rugs are a growing component of Hellenic's portfolio and amount for about 15% of the total sales, said president Steve Mazarakis.

-- Shaw Living continues to push its eco-friendly initiatives with added offerings of recyclable rugs. The new Museum of New Mexico collection, which employs licensed native India-inspired patterns, is just one collection donning Shaw's new "Green" tags that outline the company's "eco-friendly, made in the U.S.A., and available for immediate shipping" competitive advantages with these specific products.

Also new from Shaw is the next generation of opening price point Accent rugs. Titled Concepts, this sister collection is bedecked in a newly related softer palette. A 5-by-8 piece is set to retail for $329.

Lastly, the company is bringing back a holiday accent rug collection after a two-year absence. There are 11 traditional holiday themes, some in traditional interpretations and others with contemporary points of view. They are as 2-foot-7-inch-by-3-foot-10-inch pieces.

--Capel is also on the earth-friendly bandwagon, doing its part via several offerings in braided rugs styles. Earthright is an organic cotton grouping available in four colors. Its eco qualities take its retail price to $480 -- a considerable step up from Capel's average braid at $300 retail.

But price is a different issue with the reprocessed yarn collection titled Ragtime. These pieces, which are made of yarns that would have otherwise been destined for the trash, were recycled into colorful braids that retail for less than Capel's average -- $150 vs. $300, respectively.

-- Couristan's new Organique collection is the company's hat tip to the environment. Its 100% hand-dyed jute content is only one half of the environmental story here -- its hand-spun construction, which softens the jute, is the other.

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