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Mini-Market Mood Upbeat, Eye on April

It wasn't a typical Mini-market with lots of holiday cheer. And it truly wasn't a real market. For both buyers and sellers it was a dress rehearsal for the April market.

For most of the manufacturers showing here last week, holiday merchandise was low on the list for the limited numbers of retailers in attendance.

“We had lots of action on our new bedding launch, as well as throws, which is our hottest category,” said Bud Frankel, chairman of Arlee. “We didn't see many buyers, but in these categories we had good response. There wasn't much interest this time for pillows, tabletop and windows — that will happen in April.”

Said Frank Foley, ceo of CHF Industries, “For those retailers who came in, it was representative of the kind of business we do in April — furthering of design and product projects already underway. The collaborative efforts in design and product development are the way markets in the future will be.”

Overall, Foley said, “I was very pleased, not as much by physical buying, but more decisions were made.”

Lydia Rose, principal of Rose Tree Linens, observed, “I typically don't come in for Mini-market but we had a lot of appointments — no walk-ins — and I didn't leave until Thursday night. We had a lot of commitments; it was great!”

Noting that traffic was considerably down, Park Smith, chairman of his namesake company, said, “Those who came in made it worth it and it wasn't just holiday, but all merchandise.”

“We're quite optimistic about the commitments,” said Michael Vidra, president of Next. ”

At Croscill, which introduced a major new product offering, “We had a very nice market with many appointments, but no drop-ins,” said Julie Brady, vp. For April, “We will add things that weren't ready now.”

It was more of a overall product market than holiday-focused, explained Corey Faul, president of Newport/Layton.

“We had the best Mini-market ever; we brought out more product in bedding, and our rug program has begun to blossom,” said Dale Talbert, vp, Veratex.

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