Heimtex offers quality not quantity

Carole Sloan, December 31, 1969

MIAMI BEACH, FL — With most exhibitors decrying the sparseness of attendance, a number of them also reported good business at Heimtextil America here last week.

And almost as important, some exhibitors related, contacts were solidified and new contacts were made. The contact element of the show was especially important in the contract side of the fabric business, exhibitors noted.

The show is targeted to customers in Latin America and South America, but a few exhibitors expressed the view that Messe Frankfurt, sponsor of the show here, should also market the show more extensively to U.S. customers in the Southeast.

American exhibitors, while still the largest national group, were in the minority in terms of the total exhibitor base, which this year came from nearly 30 countries.

"The lack of traffic is in direct relationship to the American exhibitor participation," Chris Geiger, export manager for New York-based Covington Industries insisted. "The buyers are attracted by the American contingent, and the Asian suppliers are an alternative, but not the draw," he maintained.

Despite the marked drop in American exhibitors — some of whom showed in nearby hotels — Geiger said, "We wrote business, but not as much we needed. I strongly believe in the venue. It's a needed cost-effective way to present product to Central and South American customers, but Messe needs to do more heavy marketing."

Rocco Simone of New York-based Sunbury "had a great first day, made the show right then." The New York-based company's business was all export — to Latin America, Mexico, Puerto Rico — and all higher-end residential goods rather than residential and contract.

Also positive about the show was Herb Kahan, president of Regal Fabrics, Middleton, MA, who noted, "We had lots of people to talk with and make connections. Orders were so-so, nothing special, but we got to see a lot of people we don't see regularly."

Johnny Keeton Studios, New York, represents a range of exporters from England, Turkey, China and Canada. "I was disappointed in the U.S. presence, but the show was very good for us," Keeton reported.

"We had some decent people, but not enough. That's the chronic problem with this show," said Deborah Newberger, president of Dana Mills, Lincolnshire, IL. Despite this, she feels the show paid off primarily because "we took a smaller space."

"We came here for the hospitality business," explained George Kerr, vp, Perfect Fit and head of its Decorama Desley Cortley division.

Kerr related, "We were pleasantly surprised. We think the show will pan out."

In addition, the Hialeah, FL-based company "got an excellent placement for our custom bedding program," he said.

Bob Mazur, sales executive for Z-Tex, Chicago, a first-time attendee, called the show slow, but noted: "We don't have a basis of comparison."

Z-Tex exports only through brokers, not direct, so any business placed here would be through jobbers that would buy containers.

Calling this year's event "not as good as last time," Cathy Chuan Huang, vp, JST America, Miami, noted, "We brought more new designs than ever — tapestries, chenilles, jacquards."

Next year's Heimtextil America will take place from May 15 to May 17 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

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