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Emphasis on quality at Atlanta Rug show

The summer markets for home textiles are typically slow in traffic, compared to the fall and winter trade shows that usually boast strong turnouts.

And the biannual Atlanta International Area Rug Show is no different.

And yet, because of the types of buyers that it attracts— from major retail specialty, department stores and catalogs — this event remains vitally important to the industry. "It's not the quantity but quality of the retailers that come. The Atlanta Rug Show has it," affirmed Patrick Moyer, president, Balta U.S., which is exhibiting for the first time at the show with a double booth in the second-floor temporary showrooms.

From July 18 to 21, more than 500,000 handmade and machine-made area rugs in more than 150 permanent showrooms and many temporary exhibitor spaces will be showcased at the event.

While acknowledging a lethargic economy has slowed business somewhat, Jeff Jacobs, vp of marketing for Sugar Valley, GA-based Mohawk Home, remains "cautiously optimistic" about his expectations for this July market.

"While this show is less important to us than the January show, we expect it to be successful," he said. "Business is pretty good, and we've got some newness we're putting into this market. I think traffic should be okay."

Far more optimistic is Kea Capel, director of marketing and creative services for Troy, NC-based Capel Corp. She expects a buyer turnout 25 percent higher this summer compared to last July.

"We are expecting plus-business results, and we expect buyers are coming in to see new and unique product and new constructions like our felts and knitted cottons, for example," Capel said. "The Atlanta show is a good market for us to develop our proprietary private label business because it's the market where we see the bigger and more prominent buyers."

Steve Mazarakis, president, Hellenic Rug Imports, Brooklyn, NY, offered added incentive to buyers still trying to decide whether to attend the event.

"I think that if the retailers miss this show they will be behind six months in the industry," Mazarakis said. "There is always something new going on. I feel that if the retailer comes to the show and doesn't come to Hellenic, they will really miss the boat."

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