If you were looking for shutter panels with woven wood inserts . . . if you were looking for woven wood fabrics transformed into horizontal blinds . . . if you were looking for shutter panels with elliptical, translucent vanes . . . if you were looking for a worktable with an attachment to fabricate your own wood arch treatments . . . if you were looking for a drapery fabric that actually can improve the indoor air quality of the room it graces, then the International Window Coverings Expo (IWEC) in College Park, GA, April 6 to 9 was a good place to be.
If you were looking for a new shutter component/fabrication offering
. . . if you were looking for a new wholesale shutter program .
. . if you were looking for new motorization options, including
technology that makes linking whole-house systems easier . . . if
you were looking for software that will help with fabricating shutters
to intricate specifications; ordering and pricing hard treatment
products from a host of suppliers; creating work orders, invoices
and with keeping the business book as well as designing and presenting
your creative ideas to clients, then (again) the IWCE was a good
place to be.
All of these products and programs were highlights of this year’s
show. Of course, there were many, many product lines exhibited:
new styles and colors of trimmings and decorative hardware, workroom
supplies and equipment, textiles, wall coverings, accessories, soft
treatments, even awnings. Go through the photographs on the following
pages and you will get a good idea of who was there and what was
Officially, at this year’s IWCE, the “total number of
registered attendees reached nearly 7,000,” according to the
show’s producer. There also were more than 260 companies exhibiting.
These figures put the show on par with several of the industry’s
previous shows—a bit fewer attendees, but more exhibitors that
last year, for example (see D&WC, June 2004, page 26).
These numbers are noteworthy, too, in light of the fact that a couple
of the “big name” industry suppliers—the ones everybody
always asks about—chose not to exhibit this year. It shows
that, regardless, the window coverings industry has stabilized into
a yearly gathering of about this size and content.
This year’s show did have a fresh look and feel about it. Some
of that has to do with the Expo’s new location. Three years
in a row and five out of the last seven years in Baltimore, MD,
had taken a toll, so moving to the Atlanta area provided a needed
change of venue. The exhibit facility itself, the Georgia International
Convention Center, was new, which was immediately apparent upon
Several exhibitors took advantage of the new location by reconfiguring
and sprucing up their booths with fresh colors and new vignettes.
A few exhibitors took larger spaces this year than last; a few others
downsized a bit.
As far as business goes, everyone—exhibitors and attendees
alike—seemed very happy with the turnout, the products, the
volume and quality of leads. One nagging question, especially for
the show’s largest exhibitors, is, does this industry really
need a show every year? Apparently so. At least, there is no indication
that anything other than an annual show is being considered.
In 2006, the IWCE makes another move—into an area where it
has never gone before: the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, FL, March
30 to April 1. (No fooling!)