Expectations Solid for Mini-Market

New York — While some New York showroom suppliers plan to put on a full-court press during the February Mini-Market in anticipation of shifting market dates, the majority appear to be treating the event as they always have.

“I'm out there already trying to preview retailers who are outside of New York, and I'll be out there previewing spring after Mini-Market,” said Rick Lipton, director of bath coordinates, Baltic Linen Co. “We really don't develop specifically for the markets anymore. We're developing new product constantly.”

Creative Bath Products has already begun previewing its holiday line, according to Bob Weiss, sales and marketing director. “The retailers want a first jump on trends. If you have something fantastic, they don't want to wait until market to see it.”

Bob Altbaier, senior vice president of Down Lite International, said that Feb. 5 — opening day of the Mini-Market — is also Super Bowl Sunday, and predicted no upsurge in buyer attendance. “We think it will continue to be treated as a mini-market, not a regular market at this point,” he said.

But some suppliers are treating February as a major market.

Veratex plans to show 13 to 14 new beds at the Mini-Market and just six to eight in April, according to Dale Talbert, vice president. “If the stores don't treat the markets differently, then we can't either — and must be prepared with as much new product as we can have ready,” he said. “I personally believe Nike's right: Just Do It.”

Frank Foley, president/CEO of CHF Industries, said that for Donna Karan Home, February will replace April as the major market. “For the rest (of CHF's product line),” Foley said, “we will expand our private label product development for Mini-Market. As for April, markets become more a customer/brand-specific activity. We see that market (Mini-Market) as verification of product.”

Peter McCabe, president of Biederlack of America, said he is more concerned about the relocation of the major fall market from October to August. “There's never been anything in the middle of the summer,” he said. “How are people going to deal with the heat, the humidity and the unavailability of hotel rooms at the height of the tourist season?”

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