Sunshine Slowdown

By Chris Gigley

Somewhere on South Florida’s vast and clogged network of roads, routes and highways, Carol Adams is on her way to one of her four interior design and home decor stores. But the owner of Excentricities says her life is a lot easier than it used to be.

For about 28 years, Adams owned and operated another Excentricities location—in Long Island’s gilded Hamptons area. On paper, the Hamptons was a natural fit. The place has lots of vacation homes, disposable income and the kind of irrational high demand for redesign projects that keeps a business like hers flush with work.

Adams herself, however, lacked the one thing her business was known for—balance.

“Our business is spread equally between interior design and retail,” she says. “Our customers can buy anything in our showrooms right off the floor, which often happens. We also try to find one-of-a-kind items to create an interesting mix for our customers.”

Excentricities has been that way since 1986, when Adams opened her first two stores. One was the Hamptons location. The other, in North Palm Beach, is now the flagship store. In 2003, Adams opened a showroom in Delray Beach, Fla. The West Palm Beach location debuted in 2012, and the fifth showroom, in Jupiter, opened its doors two years later. With business booming in South Florida, Adams did the only sane thing this year and closed the Hamptons store. While she still does a lot of running around, at least the distances are commutable by car.

SHOPPING THE RIGHT VIBE

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Adams says she is careful not to streamline the way she buys for each Florida store. Her philosophy is simple. “I just buy whatever I like, frankly,” she says. More specifically, she buys what she likes for each store’s particular customer base, and that makes for a lot of walking when she comes to Atlanta.

“I can’t tell you how many different vendors we have,” she says. “It’s probably anywhere from 500 to 700. I’m not saying that they’re all repeat orders. If it doesn’t sell we don’t buy it again.”

Each store carries several furniture lines with plenty of accessories lines mixed in. Adams says on her most recent trip to The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®, she was pleasantly surprised by how much she found.

“The market has changed dramatically,” she says. “I used to go there to buy little gift items, but there is a lot more furniture now. I found a lot of new vendors. It was great, and it was easy.”

CREATING A STORE IDENTITY
Adams deserves as many breaks as she can get, because even with a more concentrated business she still has plenty of challenges. Above all is maintaining each store’s unique identity per its clientele. “In West Palm Beach we get a lot of wealthy people from Palm Beach, while Delray is more of an eclectic, funky town. It’s very charming,” she says. “In North Palm Beach we get a little older crowd, and Jupiter is a mixed bag.”

Her newest location just might become the most lucrative. “The community is a bit older, but a lot of young people are moving in,” she says. “It’s just booming. It’s unbelievable. I’m a native Floridian, and when I was growing up no one would go to Jupiter. Now everyone wants to go.”

A customized buying strategy is just half the secret to maintaining each store’s character. The other is having the right staff. Adams has 14 employees spread among the four stores. She says she’d love to have more, “but we’re always short of staff.” That means Adams is always on the road to one of her locations to work with staff and clientele. Then, it’s off to the next store. Then the next.

“I’m like the energizer bunny,” she jokes. “I’m always on the go.”

The difference now is that she feels more grounded, and Excentricities is better for it.

For more information, visit excentricities.com.
Images: Steve Tutterow Photography

Mother’s Day: Third Largest Holiday for Consumer Spending

By Christina O’Flaherty

When it comes to showing mom we love her, families choose many forms of affection. From flowers, greeting cards and jewelry to housewares, electronics and special events, there are countless ways of giving thanks—and most consumers are doing it with their wallets.

Eighty-four percent of Americans said they planned on celebrating Mother’s Day, with a whopping average of $172 being spent individually per mom, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 Mother’s Day annual survey. Total spending is expected to reach $21.4 billion.

“It’s clear that Americans want to honor their mothers this Mother’s Day,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Whether it’s a special meal at her favorite restaurant, jewelry or a new smartphone, families are planning to indulge mom again this year.”

After winter holidays and back to school buying, Mother’s Day is the next largest holiday when it comes to consumer spending. Knowing the trends for Mother’s Day can help retailers and manufacturers prepare for this year’s potentially large sales window.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What Americans Plan to Gift on Mother’s Day 2016 (NRF)
Greeting Cards – 78%
Flowers – 66.5%
Special Outing – 55%
Gift Cards – 43%
Clothing – 35%
Jewelry – 35%
Personal Service – 22.5%
Books or CDs – 19.5%
Housewares/ Gardening Tools – 19%
Electronics/ Computer Related Accessories – 14%
Other – 24%

But what does mom say she really desires for her special day? MediaPost Engage:Moms asked more than 500 moms with children under the age of 18 to choose from a list of 15 popular Mother’s Day gift ideas. The greatest number of respondents—20 percent of moms—preferred handmade gifts, followed by a day off (12 percent). Lowest on the list: candy, jewelry and breakfast in bed.

No matter what mom gets this year, chances are, consumers will be buying it. Are you primed to capture their sales? If you haven’t already, consider adding some popular categories—like greeting cards and gift cards—to help attract their attention.

Have some last-minute shopping to do for mom? Head to The Atlanta Spring Immediate Delivery Show® Tuesday, May 3 – Thursday, May 5 at AmericasMart.

“Fresh Food – Delivered Fast” with Classic Fare Catering

Having trouble choosing what food to serve in your showroom during market?  Or do you have the perfect place in mind, but the timing and pricing just aren’t right?  Look no further than Classic Fare Catering, AmericasMart’s on-site catering service, lead by head chef Martin Smetana.  Chef Smetana and his team of talented individuals make Classic Fare the perfect go-to destination for all of your catering needs here at AmericasMart, offering delicious and fresh food choices, excellent service and great pricing.

Recently, Classic Fare has released its new menu, created specifically with Showrooms in mind.  The new menu features a wide variety of options, including decadent French pastries, house-smoked pulled BBQ pork shoulder and fresh waldorf bleu salad. These mouth-watering options are sure to impress your guests and leave them coming back for another delicious bite during the next Market!

Chef Smetana and his team at Classic Fare Catering were kind enough to share one of their unique recipes with us to pass along to our readers.  Below you will find the recipe for their Watermelon and Spinach Salad, along with their Peach Vinegarette which is used to dress this light, summer salad.  We highly recommend trying this at home!


Watermelon & Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

1 oz BABY SPINACH

5 each SEEDLESS WATERMELON, SLICED INTO SQUARE SECTIONS

3 Tbsp. FETA CHEESE, CRUMBLED

2 Tbsp. PECANS, CHOPPED

1 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL

1 tbsp. BALSAMIC GLAZE – DRIZZLE

2 oz. PEACH VINAIGRETTE – OPTIONAL

Directions:

On a plate, alternate watermelon sections and baby spinach, as shown.

Top with feta cheese and pecans, olive oil, and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

Catering 2     Catering 1

Peach Vinaigrette:

Yield 5 servings

1 PEACH, PEELED AND DICED

½  cup RICE WINE VINEGAR

1 cup SALAD OIL

Pinch of SALT


For more information on Classic Fare Catering and our other dining options, visit our Food Services webpage.

For all other inquires and to book services, contact Milena Hernandez at 404-220-2258.

ICON HONORS 2015 Call for Entries Open Now

Your road to ICON HONORS recognition starts here.

Enter to win–and to take your place alongside the best in the home and gift industry.  It’s the most celebrated and respected recognition you can achieve.  And no one is more eligible to win than you.

There are 16 categories of competition within the main categories of INNOVATION, CONTRIBUTION, BRANDING and ACHIEVEMENT.

For more information, view the ICON HONORS 2015 Call for Entries press release.

Your online submission is simpler than ever with new features to make entering even easier.

Every ICON HONOR starts here, so don’t miss your chance.

ENTER NOW!
ICONHONORS.com

ICON HONORS 2014 Call for Entries2

A Look into the Past…Donald J. Hall, Jr. of Hallmark

Hallmark2Donald J. Hall, Jr. of Hallmark received the ICON HONORS 2013 Lifetime Achievement Honor.

Founded in 1910 by Hall’s grandfather from Nebraska with a couple shoeboxes of postcards under his arm and the American dream in his heart, Hallmark has been a family-owned business ever since.

Hallmark1For over 100 years, the company has grown into an iconic brand that employs 12,000 and offers products in 39,000 retail outlets in the U.S. as well as 100 countries around the world.  View this video to find out more: http://youtu.be/u-N8e3JO0Tc

Nominate your heroes or enter your best work today!
http://www.americasmarticonhonors.com/icon-submittal-form/

ICON HONORS 2014: The Time to Enter is NOW

ICON HONORS Logo

ICON HONORS Logo

The ICON HONORS 2014 call for entries closes soon.  Enter today and compete for the home and gift industry’s most celebrated recognition.

ICON HONORS celebrates the highest levels of professional and personal accomplishment. Distinguish your company as one of the gift and home industry’s elite with your submission today.  Make this your year to enter and win!

ENTER NOW!

Are You Ready for July Market?

It’s less than two weeks from the start of the July 2011 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® and Atlanta International Area Rug Market®. Are you prepared?

There are basic components in the groundwork for a successful Market trip. Taking a few simple steps before you ever leave home can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed and scattered and being focused and on top of things.

The key is preparation and organization. What do you need to accomplish? Are you ordering from existing lines to simply fill in inventory? Are you registrationconsidering expanding into a new category? There’s an adage to “buy what yousell, don’t sell what you buy” that applies to almost every retailer. Make a plan and stick to it; otherwise it’s easy to get sidetracked and suddenly find you only have a day left until you go home, and you haven’t accomplished what you intended.

Whether you’ve been coming to AmericasMart for 30 years or it’s your first time, here’s a pre-Market checklist to get started:

  • Hotel Reservations
  • Lots of Business Cards
  • Calculator
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Pre-planned appointment schedule
  • Credit information for new vendors
  • Estimated budget
  • Knowledge of store inventory – what’s selling and what’s lacking
  • Open-to-buy purchase plan by categories
  • Assignments for each member of your buying team
  • Planned merchandise delivery dates
  • Re-sale license or local sales tax number
  • Fast Badge Registration for returning buyers
  • Comfortable shoes.

We want everyone to have the best possible Market experience in Atlanta – starting before you ever leave home. Use AmericasMart.com and theseminar AmericasMart Magazine to plot a course for each day. Don’t forget to include time for educational events (there are some phenomenal learning opportunities at Markets) as well as some of the social events. The Atlanta Buyer’s Guide available at all registration desks has a complete, day-by-day list of what’s happening.

Markets are about more than shopping ’til you drop – have a focused plan so shoppersyou also have time to enjoy Atlanta hospitality!