Good Buzz, Thin Crowd at Heimtextil

Carole Sloan, January 14, 2008

Home textiles exhibitors at Heimtextil here last week were pleased with results despite the obvious decline in attendance.

Overall, exhibitors reported declines in U.S. retailer participation and fewer players from most parts of the world.

In decorative fabrics, although there were fewer U.S. exhibitors, results were more than positive.

At Westgate by adf, "We had a great show — our target customers showed. Orders were OK, but this has become a 'show-and-tell' event," said Billy DeSousa, vp international sales. Westgate, he noted, benefited from a change in halls and a markedly upgraded show space presentation.

For both Duralee and Fabricut, this Heimtextil presented a big question before the show started. Each, after they signed up here, had been accepted by the Maison&Objet fair that takes place later this month. The results here will force them to evaluate both the Heimtex and Maison opportunities and possibly lead them to show at both in 2009.

Lee Silberman, svp of Duralee, noted of Heimtextil, "The show was much better than I expected — from traffic to business."

Similarly, David Finer, ceo of Fabricut, is fairly convinced that the company will show again here in '09 despite also showing at Maison.

Fabricut had stronger results than anticipated and also uses Heimtextil as an opportunity to work with many suppliers.

Cynthia Parrish, international sales manager for Valdese, ranked the show as good in terms of increasing the company's connections and exposure. Valdese upgraded and relocated its space, she said, adding, "It was a good stepping stone."

"It's been a busy couple of days," said Stephan Sayer, sales director. The company was "trying for more exposure and we had reassurance from customers after all we've been through."

Stan Fradin, president, Roc-Lon, said, "In a word: outstanding. The floodgates opened — we had new customers and those we hadn't seen in a while showed up."

In the manufactured product segment, U.S. exhibitors were satisfied with exposure despite the lack of crowds.

"It was OK — still worthwhile, and we'll be back in '09," said Tim Voit, international sales manager, ATD-American. "We saw some good European customers and this is one of the best places to meet Canadian and Mexican customers."

For Faribault, "It was OK, not disappointing, and we should be back next year," said Brian Ashley, vp, national sales manager.

"Traffic was way off, but we saw all our major customers," said Alen York, principal of Stellar Alliance.

"Heimtex is a one-stop sourcing event, as well as good for seeing customers," said Bob Hickman, vp, United Feather & Down. "More than half of our usual customers didn't come."

Traffic "was a little less but it was worthwhile," agreed Jim England, managing director, Blue Ridge Home Fashions. "We were happy to be here."

"I have a lot of leads but this will probably be the first Heimtex I went without orders," said Bob Harrisburg, president, Bosal Foam & Fiber. "But I'll definitely come back."

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