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Area Rug Power on Display in Atlanta

Suppliers at the Atlanta International Area Rug Market showed a broad range of innovations in their lines, with plenty of retail potential stemming from new colors, new fabrications, and new designer collections. Here are some of the highlights.

• Sugar Valley, Ga.-based Karastan is taking its Axminster Shapura collection to a new generation that hits a more moderate price bracket. Priced at about 20% less than Shapura rugs, the new Sierra Mar collection is Wilton woven at the company's North Carolina facility. It comes in three designs — Capri, Ventana, and Sedona. Colorways center on robin's egg, maize, henna, and limestone. A Sierra Mar 6-by-9 is set to retail for $899, versus a same-size Shapura at $1,199.

• Known for its contemporary design tilt, Sugar Valley, Ga.-based Mohawk Select this market is expanding into traditional looks for the first time with the addition of the Foundations collection to its line. It comes in four designs and is made in a heavy and thick olefin construction. It hits Mohawk Select's middle price point tier at $220 for a 6-by-9.

• Veratex has added 90-line wool hook area rugs to its offerings this market. Designs are Jacobean inspired and focus on large-scale florals as well as some paisley patterns. These rugs employ an airbrushing technique for shading effects. Other introductions include new tufted cotton flannel rugs in large scale florals, and wool-and-viscose shag rugs.

• Couristan, based in Fort Lee, N.J., recently doubled its Dalton, Ga. warehouse to about 280,000 square feet. It houses the company's expanded area rug and broadloom offerings.

Couristan debuted 124 rugs at this market — the largest number of new products the company has ever shown at a single event. This includes handmade, power loomed, tufted, promotional to high-end products, and a new palette that centers on many metallic colors. Examples include: Vogue, a cut-and-loop pile; Botanics, a wool-and-silk dense pile; Vinyasa, a textured solid; and Woven Treasures, a 100% wool power-loomed space-dyed and vegetable-dyed and washed collection in six patterns.

• Dalton, Ga.-based United Weavers of America has created its first shag collection. This 100% acrylic group is not solid colored — it comes in 24 patterns. A 5-by-8 is set to retail for $249.

• Milliken Rugs showed the next generation of its Stainmaster-branded Signature collection, which hits a more aggressive price point of $149 for a 6-by-9. Its predecessor retails for $219.

The company also took some of its most popular medallion designs from the Abbyson and Romany Vine collections and created open-field coordinate border patterns. Milliken also has created an indoor-outdoor non-skid backing, Odyssey, which employs a Milliken-made stain- and fade-resistant process.

• 828 International Trading Co. is showing a new collection titled Chairman, which is a tribute to the company's late founder and president, Jim Clardy. He passed away in April 2004 at the age of 50 from heart complications. The Chairman collection is a 60-count, 2.5 kg, 80% New Zealand wool and 20% Seridian wool grouping made in India.

• Printed and tufted accent rug manufacturer Brumlow Home, based in Calhoun, Ga., is celebrating its 25th anniversary with new activity in area sizes, imports, and new manufacturing techniques.

Hiring Patrick Moyer as president last August, the company explored new products that at this market have come to fruition. "We've stretched the capabilities of all of our equipment," said Moyer, referring to Brumlow's printing and tufting machinery for its core line of domestically made scatter rugs.

Brumlow's printed area rug offerings now include looks created with cut-and-loop technology, tip sheering, delustered yarns, more transitional and textured styles, and more sizes, from 21-inch-by-34-inch through 9-foot-by-12-foot.

The Luna collection is a woven cut-and-loop group of 100% heat-set polypropylene rugs from Belgium. Luna rugs feature four colors.

Transition is a tufted collection in nylon yarns. The Terrace collection is an entry into the outdoor rug category. Also new is the Super Shag solid-colored collection and the berber Mystique and Ovation collections, made of polypropylene and in a tip sheer construction.

Another new direction is importing, a first for the domestic manufacturer. "I traveled all over — China, Europe, Asia — to see where I could find unique items to offer our customers," Moyer said. The results include the hand-carved Ismir collection, woven in Turkey in 20 designs. A 5-by-8 is set to retail for $199.

The company is renovating its New York City showroom at 295 Fifth Ave. The new area rug sizes will now occupy half of the space and Brumlow's scatter size will make up the other half.

• Three-generation family owned and operated Capel Inc., based in Troy, N.C., is celebrating its 90th anniversary in business with its largest number of new introductions. Highlights include: the wool three-ply braided rug collection, Gramercy, coordinating with best-selling styles in the hand-tufted Kaimuri collection; new indoor/outdoor rugs in the Fresh Air and Finesse collections; expansions in the thick woven wool Pebbles collection; and new styles in the 100% New Zealand wool tufted Andes group.

• Dalton, Ga.-based Shaw Living showcased parent firm Shaw Ind.'s breadth of floor covering offerings — hard surface, carpet, and area rugs — in its new 12,000-square-foot showroom.

Additions to the area rug programs include a new palette to the Renaissance collection of Eversoft-branded nylon rugs; a new modern and contemporary design approach to the Tommy Bahama collection; and a brightly colored assortment for Kathy Ireland's Young Attitudes line.

• On this, the 10th anniversary of its New Wave collection, New York-based Momeni added several new patterns that have taken the collection to 108 total rugs. The first was introduced in 1997.

• Dalton, Ga.-based Balta US, the North American unit of the Belgium firm, promoted Dimitri Verhoye to vp, sales and marketing, replacing Patrick Moyer, who left the company last August to become president of Brumlow Home.

Verhoye, previously head of sales in Eastern Europe, Belgium, and The Netherlands, joined Balta in 2005, and has worked in sales for the past 13 years.

"Our plan is to expand our range in the United States with new collections, especially Shimmer and Antique," he said, referring to the introduction highlights for this market. Both employ a new yarn system that adds sheen. This system is made in-house by Balta, and was in development for the past year.

• Saddle Brook, N.J.-based Nourison launched its new designer license program with Liz Claiborne this market. It comprises three collections: Modern Elegance, a New Zealand wool and Luxelle (Nourison-made mercerized cotton silk-like yarn) machine-made in a hard-twist construction; Radiant Impressions, a machine-made New Zealand wool group with hand-carved effects; and Landscape Stripes, a hand-spun wool tufted grouping in organic styles and colorways.

Also is an opening price point collection for the Calvin Klein designer license program. Titled Woven Textures, the rugs are machine-made in a wool-and-polypropylene blend and hit a $500 price tag for a 5-by-8. The next step up in price point is $699 for rugs in the Loom Select, New Patina, and Luster Wash collections.

• Sphinx by Oriental Weavers showed more than half a dozen new rug collections at market, spanning traditional to contemporary designs — all in machine-made constructions. The company is planning to unveil a new product category in time for the New York Home Fashions Week. Details are still not being released.

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