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Straight from the Atlanta Rug Show

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta International Area Rug Show started this week, and here are some of the highlights:

• Mohawk Select, a Mohawk Industries rug brand that launched last year, continues to expand its domestically made line of machine-woven premium heat-set polypropylene rugs with new sizes -- 2-by-4 accents and 8-foot rounds. The round rugs come in 25 new and existing patterns and the accent rugs are available in 50 patterns.• One month short of his one-year anniversary with Shaw Industries, John McLeod called it quits Friday to open a new home textiles importing company. He and John Azzolino, formerly of Mohawk Home, are partners and co-owners of Direct Home, based inAtlanta. Prior to joining Shaw in August 2004 under the then-newly created post of vice president of sales and marketing for mass merchants, McLeod was vice president of sales for the now-defunct Burlington Rug Corp. and before that held the same position at Mohawk Home, where he worked in various posts for more than a decade. Shaw is beginning to search for a replacement for McLeod, said Kim Barta, brand manager.• Balta U.S. Inc. has "dabbled" in wool offerings in the past, but this market it is moving seriously into the fiber with the debut of a 100 percentNew Zealandwool collection, said Patrick Moyer, president. Titled Nobility, the collection encompasses 20 skus. "This is our first wool collection with American colors and American designs," said Jeff Patrick, director of marketing and national accounts. The previous wool varieties served the European market more. Each rug features eight colors and comes in three colorways.• Orian Rugs has added a new construction to its line this market -- two-ply heat-set polypropylene with tri-colored yarns. The collection is titled Serenity and comes in 30 patterns, most of them contemporary. "We made this because people are looking for texture and a thick hand, not quite like a shag, but close," said Don Newton, senior vice president of sales and marketing. The company also expanded its outdoor faux-sisal line of polypropylene rugs by 50 percent, bringing the count to more than 20 designs.

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