Pleasant surprise

Carole Sloan, October 22, 2001

What a week it was!

The folks that came into New York for the Home Textiles market did so with some apprehension about conditions here, management concern about the economy, and just a general "what if" about the whole thing.

And despite all these factors, this was a surprisingly positive market week for suppliers and customers alike — albeit shortened for many.

The big questions were: who would come; why would they be here; and, of the absentees, what would be the damage or impact on the entire concept of market?

Well what happened was a huge surprise — pleasant — to both buyer and seller in many instances.

For once, competitive America gave its people the option to fly or not, come to New York or not — and so many opted in the affirmative.

The interesting sidelight was hearing how many of the visitors carved out special time to visit "Ground Zero" — either by subway, which most out-of-towners rarely test, or by Circle Line boat tour as part of a 'round New York on the water scenario.

And for those who elected to stay home, there was no one in the market here who expressed anything except an affirmative posture on that decision.

Yes, attendance was down. To be expected. And it was amazing how many of the out-of-towners did come in. One segment of the retail community — the high-end specialty stores — typically don't do this market, so their absence is a natural, not an event impact.

Overall there was no tearing hankies to shreds about how bad attendance was, nor how bad it was going to impact orders.

As all of our players at Home Textiles Today blanketed the market we found that more and more of those retailers thought to be absent were actually here.

And when we had the opportunity to talk with them, they actually talked of the opportunity to spend more time with suppliers to talk about a range of subjects that typically would not be on either side's agenda.

For companies whose livelihood does not depend on the top 10 retailers, there was a definite plus in the way they and their customers were able to address a broader range of issues.

As for product, we'll discuss that next week.

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