Letter to the Editor

Cordial Relations at Showtime

As a board member of the International Textile Market Association (ITMA), I read your article on Dec. 15, 2008 about Showtime and the attempt by Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc (MMPI) to raise the rents in the temporary suites during the show. I felt the article was not truly supportive of MMPI and I wanted to present a more accurate picture of the events that occurred.

First, ITMA has had a longstanding agreement with MMPI that every two years the rent for exhibitors in the temporary suites will increase. This policy was renewed with MMPI when ITMA signed the new Showtime agreement this past summer. The new leases handed out at this recent show coincided with the beginning of a new two-year period. Unfortunately, the business climate has changed radically and several of our exhibitors did raise a concern about the increase with the ITMA office.

When Catherine Morsell, executive director of ITMA, Tim McGee of MMPI and I met to discuss the matter, we had an extremely positive meeting. MMPI agreed to delay the rent increase for the June 2009 show since their goal is to be a supportive partner with the members of ITMA. In fact, MMPI is taking a very proactive role under Tim's leadership to assist the ITMA in marketing Showtime as the leading home decorative textile show within the United States.

During our membership meeting on the last day of the show, the announcement to delay the rent was made by Tim and the members expressed their appreciation to him. The ITMA followed up this announcement with a letter that we distributed at the show as well as e-mailed to our members reinforcing MMPI positive support to our membership and show.

Should you have further questions, please direct your inquiries to Catherine or me.

Steven Shelly, president of ITMA

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