About Kim McCoy

Senior Managing Editor at AmericasMart Atlanta

Paws for a Cause

harry barkerA philanthropic effort might begin with an employee’s personal desire to help others or an unfulfilled corporate commitment to charity. No matter what inspires the act of giving back, charitable efforts can often reap rewards of the soul, far beyond material gains.

Harry Barker, based out of Charleston, South Carolina, creates beautiful, functional, eco-friendly dog products. Our products are an expression of love between people and their pets.

Carol Perkins, founder of Harry Barker decided that one of her first goals when starting the company was to raise awareness and support for the community. When she heard about the Canines for Veterans program in 2011 her interest was immediate because, as she puts it, “we love what they do, and we will do whatever we can to help the program grow.”  Since then, Harry Barker has been a sponsor and an advocate of this truly amazing program.

Canines for Veterans works on a “Triple Win” concept: rescuing shelter dogs, rehabilitating military prisoners and revitalizing wounded veterans. The rescued shelter dogs are given a purpose by being trained to serve wounded veterans.  The military inmates’ rehabilitation is enhanced by their responsibility for training the dogs.  The service dogs are then able to retrieve, carry objects and provide stability for a wounded soldier. Most importantly, the service dogs provide love and companionship that help the transition for select veterans who are disabled by serious physical and mental injuries.

Harry Barker offers a line of products which includes fetch balls, collars and leashes and a canine favorite: CFV Peanut Butter Dog Treats. The recycled steel tins are filled with 12 ounces of all-natural treats baked in the U.S.A. The treats are then packed by people with disabilities as part of a skills training program through The Hope Center of Charleston. Harry Barker donates a portion of the proceeds from the Canines for Veterans product line to the organization. Our favorite part of being involved is getting to see the pups off to their new, happy homes and giving treats and toys to each and every graduate (dog AND veteran) of the program!

Harry Barker has had a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience working alongside Canines for Veterans and will continue to do so in the future.

Come see two American heroes, wounded veteran Dean Suthard and his service dog Esther, at the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market on Thursday, July 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fieldstone showroom, Building 2, space 912.

–Lindsey Griffin

Tips for Success in the Temporaries: Setting up Your Booth

You’ve reserved your space, submitted your payment, now it’s time to create your booth. It’s a good idea to physically map out your booth set before you arrive at market to make sure everything is displayed in an inviting and easy-to-shop way. Here are some tips for setting up your booth.

1. Make your exhibit warm and welcoming
Set up your booth as if it were its own store. Use creative backdrops, custom walls and flooring to attract buyers.
Atlanta Beaus #12. Merchandise your products in an attractive and organized way
Make it easy for buyers to shop your booth. Group together items by theme or color to create visual interest.
Aria Handmade #2 rev3. Lighting is essential
Make sure lighting is spread evenly throughout the booth and that new products are spotlighted.
Zutano #3 rev4. Highlight and clearly identify what is NEW
Buyers love to know what’s new and exciting in the marketplace. Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
Cottage Products #4 crop5. Display company name clearly and professionally
Don’t rely on the sign provided. Proudly display your company name and logo so buyers can make the connection with your brand.
Rewined #5 rev6. Bring your set-up supplies
Keep a kit full of essential tools like tape, scissors, screwdrivers, thumb tacks, extension cords/power strips and fishing line. You never know what you’re going to need at the last minute, so be prepared.
toolbox7. Enjoy this exciting process!
Made In America #6

Looking for more tips from experienced exhibitors? Click here to view our helpful videos.

Tips for Success in the Temporaries

Are you planning to exhibit in the Temporaries? It’s the perfect time to start your pre-market planning! Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Plan your booth
Before you arrive at Market, you’ll need to plan your booth and decide how you are going to display your products, especially if you’re new to Markets. Remember to order display components such as tables, shelving, curtains and table linens well in advance. Review the floor plan and your booth space so you can anticipate and plan ahead for any columns, electrical boxes and height restrictions. It’s a smart idea to test your booth layout in your warehouse or garage to decide on the most attractive and efficient placements.
floor plan2. Invite your buyers
Don’t rely solely on walk-up business; advertise and promote yourself leading up to Market, letting buyers know where to find you. Be sure to include show dates, your booth number and any special offers in your promotional materials.
ad3. Pack your products
Organize and label everything for easier unloading at Market.
crate4. Ship your crates…early!
Ship early and use AmericasMart Logistics to get free storage and delivery to Market.
logistics truck
Looking for more tips from experienced exhibitors? Click here to view our helpful videos.

Ready for Kickoff: Game Day Looks


This gallery contains 7 photos.

Shopping for fall in the South and beyond isn’t complete without stocking up on your game day fashions. Football fans used to search high and low for outfits in their teams’ colors, but more and more designers are listening to their … Continue reading

Taste of the South


This gallery contains 7 photos.

In the South, we pride ourselves on our distinct regional specialties, always prepared with a giant helping of love. Many of our southern vendors are here to tempt your tastebuds with their cherished recipes. Fat Mama’s is famous for tamales in Natchez, MS, … Continue reading

Crazy for Camo

Fueled by the popularity of A&E’s hit series “Duck Dynasty,” camouflage is popping up all over market.

Gib Carson Associates, Building 2, 1319

Gib Carson Associates, Building 2, 1319

The Rep Connection, Building 2, 1407

The Rep Connection, Building 2, 1407



DHR & Co., Building 2, 1500

DHR & Co., Building 2, 1500

Mainstreet Collection, Building 2, 1501

Mainstreet Collection, Building 2, 1501

RPM Gifts & Greetings, Building 2, 1735

RPM Gifts & Greetings, Building 2, 1735


What sets you apart from your competitors?

By Mike Gomez, President, Allegro Consulting

I attended a gathering of a select group of business owners who were the runner-ups for the “Small Business Person of the Year Award”. During the event each owner was asked to stand up and briefly state what they thought made his/her business so successful. One of the owners stated proudly it was his employees – he felt he was able to attract and retain good employees. That was his “secret”. Later, I had the opportunity to privately ask him what made his employees “better” and how was he able to attract them. Here is how the discussion transpired:

I asked, “Are your employees more qualified than your competitors?”
“No”, he replied.
“Do you offer better benefits or pay and thus can attract better employees?”
“Uh, no.”
“Do you train them differently?”
“Do you offer performance incentives or shares of company stock and thus they are more motivated?”
“Is your work environment any different than your competitors?”
“Do you offer more vacation time, gym memberships, or other perks?”
“So then why then do you believe it was your employees and your ability to attract them that sets you apart? Why do you clam this as the reason for your success?”
He hesitated, gave a puzzled look, and then said, “I really don’t know – maybe it is not my employees.”

The sad fact is this owner didn’t know what attribute made his company successful. Most likely his employees are no more or less qualified (better) than his competitors. And because he doesn’t know, he is more likely than not to stray away from it or unknowingly allow it to flitter away. Once this happens, the business is gone.

This owner did not know or understand his company’s core competency; the unique thing they do or process they employ or value they add to win business that would be difficult for their competitors to imitate. Your company’s core competency is the foundation of your business. To grow, you should know what it is, nurture it, and exploit it.

Let’s take a moment to discuss, as an example, the core competencies of two well known businesses, Dominos Pizza and Honda.

Dominos made its mark by guaranteeing a quality pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less. Their core competency was the “process” they designed starting with the how they selected the store locations and ending with the delivery method. It was this value added benefit (a warm pizza delivered quickly) that drove their customers to choose their product over the plethora of other pizza restaurants. Dominos continuously invested to refine that process (their core competency) and keep it as a discriminator and a method for growing their business beyond pizza to now include hot wings, pasta, etc….

Honda’s core competency was building high quality, reliable, light weight engines; first for motorcycles then later small cars, ATVs, lawn mowers, and the rest is history. Their continued investment in engine technology is a reflection of how well they understood what made their product the preferred choice regardless of whether it was in a lawn mower or a luxury automobile.

What is your company’s core competency?

By the way, it is very rarely “our customer service” or “our people”.

Knowing and then nurturing your core competency will ensure it continues to provide you with the competitive advantage necessary to grow your business.

Mike Gomez presents “10 Essential Elements for Long-Term Sustained Growth” as part of The Education Center at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market on Thursday, July 11 at 9:30 a.m. Visit AmericasMart.com for a complete list of seminars and events.

Mike Gomez is president of Allegro Consulting, a growth specialty firm with a singular purpose of helping businesses grow. Allegro helps owners with marketing strategy, sales, and operations. They also provide leadership and business coaching. For more information, visit http://allegroconsultant.com.