Best of Atlanta 2015

Last week at The Atlanta Gourmet Market®, we celebrated the gourmet industry’s finest with our annual Best of Atlanta awards. Congratulations to the following winners!

  • Fox Point Farm’s Fabulous Fudge Sauce for Best Chocolate and Goat Milk Caramels in Salted Vanilla for Best Candy (Non-chocolate)
    Fox Point Farm 2 Fox Point Farm 3



  • Sable & Rosenfeld’s Tipsy Tapas Cheese Stuffed Baby Squash for Wild Card
    Sable and Rosenfeld

  • Plentiful Pantry’s Thai Coconut Soup for Best Soup
    Plentiful Pantry
    In addition to top gourmet products, excellence in visual design was celebrated by the Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market® and The Atlanta Gourmet Market® BEST OF SHOW award, presented to Never Lose Hope Designs.

best booth IMG_4519

Tuft Stuff All Over Market

Sometimes the classic looks in home furnishings are the most relevant. Showrooms across the July 2015 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market Home category prominently feature tufting in a wide array of fabrics and styles.

Englishman's     Taylor Burke Home      Taylor Burke Home 2

Certainly not a new technique, tufting finds renewed emphasis by combining it with creative new accents such as wood and metal. It’s also featured in a broad range of materials from velvet to linen to leather.

Design Legacy     Oly Studio     Cyan

Pieces are contemporary without being stark and others are traditional without reverting back to the same old looks. Added touches such as crystal and metal buttons further emphasize the added texture of the finish.

Classic Home     Taylor Burke Home 2     Pasha


Tufting creates visual interest and adds texture in a wealth of styles and options. Find a wide variety of products at each Market and in between at showrooms Open Daily.

Boston International Logo Change & Launch Party at AmericasMart

As companies grow, it’s imperative for their corporate images to evolve as well. One component of that change includes corporate identity. Embarking on a journey to change existing marketing materials is more of a challenge than some anticipate. Read about one company’s experience with updating their logo.

By Christina Soave
Public Relations, Product & Marketing Coordinator for Boston International, Inc.

No doubt it’s a scary leap to rebrand an established business- will people still recognize us? Will our consumers and employees like this change? How can this be done without harming the equity of the company? Will the ever-growing to-do-list of re-branding be too overwhelming?

Many of these questions were on the minds of Boston International employees when our company, a leader in gift housewares decided to re-brand the company and unveil a new logo this year. This would mark the most dramatic change in the company’s visual identity since its inception in 1986. The decision to make this change was made when we felt like our current logo wasn’t communicating our new “modern” and “evolving” direction.

Our first step was to reach out to a professional with marketing communications experience. That’s where Peter Harris Creative out of Keene, New Hampshire dove in to get us started. The entire process took about 6-8 weeks starting with an initial survey distributed to BI’s key players. The survey was for Peter Harris Creative to get a feel for our primary customers and their relationship with us, our critique on the current logo, desires for the new one and essentially what was working for us and what was not.

BI - Logo 2The critique of the previous logo concluded that our company name does not say a lot about our company or its products. It was also cumbersome, coming in at a whopping 7 syllables, therefore the new direction would focus on the initials “BI”, our nickname. It should also capture our company’s contemporary and energetic spirit.BI - Logo

The toughest part came with the design process, sorting through the varying ideas and opinions regarding the new logo concepts at hand. To get management and staff on the same page seemed to be a struggle. Choosing colors was another challenging task and involved lots of research about what different colors mean and what these colors say about you as a company. This led us to blue, a calming color, and orange, reflecting excitement and enthusiasm to make a balance. Lastly, we had to make sure the logo would work well graphically with our products, catalog and brand as a whole.

We learned that branding is reciprocal and feedback will vary. Once the initial logo was definite and its meaning clear, we were ready to share it and its meaning to our audience. The new logo accentuates our initials “BI” and captures the artistic nature of the company through an exclusive hand-drawn font and watercolor effect. We are excited to be unveiling our new logo at the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishing Market this July 2015. To share in our enthusiasm, we will be holding a launch party on Friday night during the show and giving away fashion totes sporting the new logo. We feel it’s a symbol of the many exciting developments to come for “BI”, and we hope to share our passion for the gift industry. The details for the party and other show specials can be found below.

Boston International Logo Launch Party

Boston International Showroom #819

AmericasMart- Building 2, 8th floor

Friday July 10th– 6pm-8pm

BI Show Specials:

Orders $300-$799 with immediate shipping receive a 5% freight cap

Orders $800 and more with immediate shipping receive Net60 and a 5% freight cap

The Top 10 List: Hall & Oates

Hall and Oates 1Hall & Oates made history in the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s, from hit-songs to groundbreaking tunes that are still popular today.  They have sold more albums than any other musical duo in history and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.  In this day and age, popular musical artists and modern day civilians repeatedly “jam out” to Hall & Oates hits through their radios and iTunes library.  The iconic band is set to hit the stage at this year’s ICON HONORS, an event hosted by AmericasMart to honor outstanding members in the gift and home furnishings industry.  ICON Honors will take place in conjunction with The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market® on Thursday, July 9.

Hall & Oates’ top ten hits have been showcased for decades, and we can’t help but wonder, which ones will be on their set list this July?  We’ll start with their list of top ten hits!

1.  “Say It Isn’t So,” released in 1981 from their album Rock and Soul Part 1, steals the number one spot.

2.  “Out Of Touch,” Hall & Oates’ last big hit, comes in at number two.

3.  The all-time favorite, “You Make My Dreams (Come True),” from album Voices, slips in as number three.

4.  “Sara Smile,” the groups first top ten hit released in 1976, takes number four.

5.  The second hit single from their album Private Eyes, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” comes in at number five.

6.  “Every Time You Go Away,” from Voices in 1980, takes number six.

7.  Coming in at number seven and released in 1982, from their album H2O, is “Maneater.”

8.  “Kiss On My List” was Hall & Oates’ second Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, released in 1980.

9.  “Rich Girl,” from the album Bigger Than Both Of Us, ranks in at number nine.

10.  Lastly, “Private Eyes,” released in 1981, is the last hit on Hall & Oates top ten list.

Image and Video Sources

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Explore, Discover and Buy in the Temps

Shop Temps for the Next Big Thing

AWH_PHOTO-8131-2To set their shops apart from competitors, successful buyers purchase not only top-selling merchandise, but also exclusive products that customers can’t easily find in other stores. To fulfill this shopping mission, the cleverest among them head straight to Temporaries at AmericasMart to peruse one of the most expansive such collections in the nation for both home, gift and apparel.

“Temps is where the next big trends emerge,” says Jo Ann Miller Marshall, executive vice president, AmericasMart Atlanta. “Experts from our team search the country – and the globe — to find exhibitors offering unique items.” The selections are culled from trips to about 75 different locations, including stops in Paris, Frankfurt, High Point, New York and Las Vegas. It involves a lot of research, talking and listening to manufacturers and artists, and many miles of “boots on the ground.” With deep experience in their category niches and a passion for what they do, these buyers have a knack for identifying what’s in vogue and a nose for the next big thing.

For example, the nationwide sensation Elf on the Shelf rose to popularity in the market’s Temps area. In fact, many of the permanent showrooms initially started as temporary exhibitors.

“Temporaries is an incubator for tomorrow’s permanent showroom space,” explains Marshall. “If you are just now discovering a line in showroom, five years ago you could have been ahead of the curve if you had discovered them in temps. This approach enables exhibitors to cultivate a buyer base and move up to showrooms.”

Style-driven collections
Some temps areas feature juried collections, vetted for discerning buyers. For Gift & Home Markets, these include Boutique, Emerging Artists, Gardens LUXE, Gentleman’s Boutique, Gourmet LUXE, Handmade Design, Handmade Jewelry, HIGH DESIGN®, HIGH DESIGN® LUXE, Made in America, Modern Baby & Contemporary Kid, On Trend Gifts and Tabletop LUXE. During Apparel, there’s Premiere®, Young Contemporary, Ready-To-Wear, Shoe Studio, Fashion Accessories, Children’s World and more.

The January and July Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Markets feature more than 4,000 temporary booths in 33 product categories, each conveniently located near the related permanent showroom space. Each Apparel Market feature multiple floors of temps, with a broad range of price points and style designations.

“This arrangement makes it easy for buyers to locate products,” says Marshall. In addition, the AmericasMart App ( enhances the shopping experience, packed with information to help you navigate, gain the most from the show and enhance your efficiency.

“Temps at our Apparel Markets constantly break new ground. We have lines that end upAWH_PHOTO-4660-2 being named among Oprah’s favorites. And, our Emerging Designer Showcase provide the next great names in design an opportunity to meet top buyers,” says Marshall.

“One of the distinctive aspects of our major January and July shows is an equal focus on home and gift,” says Marshall. We want buyers to leave the Market with a feeling of excitement. Shopping temps gives you the opportunity to find that new line that no one else in your town has discovered.”

Shop Temporaries in all three buildings, organized by product collection, during the January and July Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and in designated locations during the other Markets of the year. 

Raising a Glass

Here’s to increased barware and stemware sales

waterford-mixology-mad-men-editionThank Don Draper: The suave fictional character from Mad Men deserves credit for helping to fuel the current cocktail craze, which is boosting sales of barware and glassware across the country. Consumers are buying more specialized glassware than they have in decades. Learn to understand the finer points of barware and stemware to ensure you have the right selection for your store. Here are some starting points when you’re shopping AmericasMart:

  • Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm with too many choices, particularly wine glasses. Most customers will only need a red wine glass and a white wine glass, and perhaps a champagne flute.
  • Partner with reps or manufacturers for employee education. Your staff should be knowledgeable about everything from the composition and manufacturing processes of the products, to the various shapes of glasses and stems.
  • Brush up on your beer knowledge. The craft beer movement shows no signs of slowing down, and you can increase your customer base – especially of men –by carrying an assortment of craft beer glasses. If you have a beer shop or a growler shop in your area, consider co-marketing with them to promote both of your businesses.
  • Offer brochures or other flyers that have facts, information and care instructions about the different materials used for your glassware, whether it’s glass, crystal, lead-free crystal, or acrylic/co-polyester.
  • Partner with a local restaurant or bar for a cocktail seminar. The mixologist or bartender can teach your customers how to make a cocktail, and you can promote glassware, serving pieces, and other entertaining items.

Waterford_London_Desktop_bar_BB_Italia“It seems everyone’s doing a spin on classic cocktails,” says Price Ketchiff, vice president of retail sales for the U.S. and Canada for Crystal of America. “The push from Mad Men has helped revive the speakeasy, and we’re seeing a lot of craft cocktails in the restaurant and bar scene. People are paying attention to that and replicating it at home.” Crystal of America is the parent company for Riedel, Spiegelau and Nachman.

Some of the most popular glassware shapes include double old fashioneds and highballs, as well as a revival of the coupe shape: a curvier version of a martini glass or champagne saucer.

Fortessa2“When you’re out at a restaurant or a bar, you see a lot more cocktail menus than ever before,” agrees Lara Aldrich, vice president for the consumer products division of Fortessa, parent company for Schott Zwiesel and D&V. Like Ketchiff, Aldrich sees the coup champagne glass as being a strong seller, and also sees growth in whisky glasses of all types, whether for neat pours, double old fashioneds or whisky based cocktails.

And speaking of Mad Men, Waterford scored the trendy show’s license for a barware line. The Mad Men collection helped Waterford expand the already hot barware business with designs inspired by the 1960s, says Rick Fencel, vice president of sales for independent accounts.

In terms of wine glasses, casualization just keeps going to a new level every year, translating into the growing popularity of stemless wine glasses. The other trend is in softer and curvier shapes, and more attention to detail.

spiegelau-beer-tasting-setAlong with cocktails, the craft beer movement is also gaining momentum, and with it, beer glasses that are specially shaped to complement different beer varieties. Spiegelau has several different beer glass shapes, including a recently introduced IPA glass, as well as glasses for stout, pilsner, lager, Belgian ale and hefeweissen (wheat beer). As with wine glasses, “The shape of the [beer] glass plays a role in the transfer of taste and aroma to your palate,” says Ketchiff. Rather than working with designers, Spiegelau develops glass shapes with sensory workshops; in the case of its IPA glass, the company held a workshop with Dogfish Head Brewery.

The Latest about Lead

Schott ZwieselMore and more manufacturers are making lead-free crystal and glass, on the heels of California’s Prop 65, which requires retailers in that state to post warnings to consumers about products with lead content. While manufacturers say that the lead content in crystal was never enough to endanger consumers, the legislation has encouraged them to find other ways to give strength and clarity to their glass formulations.

All crystal glassware has a metal component, so manufacturers seek alternatives that can lend similar properties. For M. Block, this means a new material called Kwarx, which has the clarity and look of lead crystal, but twice the strength of regular glass, and the durability to be washed in commercial dishwashers without clouding over time. Kwarx is used to make stemware including red wine balloons and tulips for white wines, says Don Brown, the recently retired vice president of the Block House division.

And Schott Zwiesel crystal is made of Triton Crystal, which contains titanium oxide in place of lead, for added strength and brilliance. Other manufacturers, similarly, have their own proprietary crystal formulations to take advantage of various minerals and ingredients that will give crystal the look, durability, and enduring clarity of lead crystal.

One word: Plastics

LeadingwareCasualization as another strong trend in barware – mason jars affixed to wine stems, for example – and with that comes acrylic, which is a strong seller for outdoor entertaining, poolside or picnics. LeadingWare Group offers a plastic material created by the Eastman company; Tritan Co-polyester. It is touted as being 90 percent as clear as crystal, unbreakable, dishwasher safe, and BPA-free. This material is being used to make elegant, high-end stemware and barware shapes that have the advantage of being virtually indestructible. It’s reusable (but also recyclable), which makes it a greener option than disposable plastic drinkware that’s often used at outdoor parties.

To educate consumers about this option, Judy Ko, CEO of Leadingware Group, encourages retailers to arrange for wine tastings so consumers can get used to sipping from this type of drinking vessel, and to realize that they are a far cry from cheap disposable stemware. “They can understand that these are ‘real’ wine glasses,” and that drinking from them doesn’t negatively affect the experience of enjoying a glass of wine.


For more information: Fortessa Tableware Solutions 800.296.7508,; M. Block/Block House – 800.621.8845,; Leadingware714.965.1616,; Crystal of America888.4RIEDEL,; Lenox800.223.4311,; Waterford877.720.3485, 


Outside the Lines

The modern American backyard is better than ever

Intro section image A-2Between staycations and everyday hustle and bustle, people are savoring the time they get to spend at home. The idea of entertaining friends and enjoying family time extends from bigger kitchens to home theaters to outdoor rooms.

A broader array of products and materials that are more durable – and more stylish – in a wide range of price points, makes it possible for anyone to extend living space into the backyard and do more than just sit in a lawn chair or nap in a hammock.

Outdoor kitchens rival inside counterparts with built-in grills and side burners, refrigerators and large stone countertops. Dining areas can be casual or sophisticated, depending the style of the home and the homeowners. Start with some basic questions to help guide the best options to create the ideal outdoor living space.

  1. How will the space be used? Dining, playing, relaxing or something else. Determining your top priority drives the initial emphasis, especially if the project is done in phases.
  2. How much sun? This dictates the need for umbrellas, gazebos, sunshades, etc. Should they be portable or permanent structures?
  3. Do you have adequate power resources? All the weather proof lamps are fabulous, but you still need power. Same for most water features. But, there are always lots of solar powered options too.
  4. Do you need weatherproof or weather resistant? Learn how fabrics are constructed so you have realistic expectations. The same goes for other products. Withstanding 10 hours of sun and 100 degree temps or eight months of freezing ice and snow will do a number on almost any outdoor product.
  5. A family with small children will obviously have different priorities than empty nesters reviving a love of gardening. Finding the right furniture and accessories to suit their needs will bring smiles year around when they find they’d prefer spending their leisure time at home, in their own backyard.

tab section image A-2 A fire pit provides a comfortable place to dry off after a summer swim or stay warm and roast a few marshmallows in the fall.


intro section image B-2 A round dining set with a built-in Lazy Susan and a neutral umbrella provides an elegant, stylish outdoor eating area.



tab section image C-2Everyone can’t have a backyard pool, but anyone can create a cozy seating area with comfortable chairs.

Find all the outdoor living products you need for any season in The Gardens, Building 2, Floors 9 & 10, during Markets and weekdays between Markets. There’s always a helpful staff member ready to help you find the perfect pieces for your casual living project.



Photo credits: Kipp Burgoyne Photography

Interior Design: Michelle Troxell, Grace Thomas Designs

Editorial credit: Casual Living