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In with the new

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, January 14, 2002

It really was clear this time around. The 24th Showtime in High Point, NC, last week was a far cry in its makeup from the original.

From the visitor or buyer perspective, there were definitely far more non-furniture players than furniture manufacturers — a dramatic reversal from the original concept, which was a show preview of upholstery fabrics for the furniture industry.

Last week, the fabric retailers were out in force and the home textiles manufacturing community, from the biggest mills to the small boutiques, was well represented. So too were the home furnishings retailers, major chains and folks like RV and contract specialists.

And what has happened to the exhibitor base as a result of buyer shifts is quite interesting.

More and more trimmings and embellishment suppliers are showing up at Showtime. They're not your everyday, run-of-the-mill trim folks. These new folks are more like jewelry or accessory suppliers. And they're getting a lot of attention.

At the same time there's a new bunch of exhibitors. One could call them fabric boutiques — they're bringing a whole new look of home furnishings fabrics and creativity to Showtime.

The combination of the core Showtime exhibitors plus the newcomers in trimming and fabrics made this a special treat.

Overall the mood was up. One after another, the exhibitor entourage mentioned how customers were looking for "new." Customers were looking for newness, excitement, innovation — as well as value. The latter is a given in this day and age, so much so that it almost doesn't need to be discussed at any point.

On a last note, it's really time to rethink the timing of Showtime in relation to Heimtextil. With so many customers arriving on Saturday to take advantage of airfare rates, there's no reason the show couldn't officially start then, enabling the many folks who need to be at both the opportunity to do each justice.

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