The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) has announced Friday, January 26, 2007, as the entry deadline for its annual Product Innovation Awards, which recognize significant product developments in the window coverings industry. The awards presentation program will be held in conjunction with the International Window Coverings Expo, April 11 to 14 in Washington, DC. All entries will be displayed on the exhibit floor as well as on the WCMA Web site, with a link to the company’s home page.
All manufacturers and suppliers of window covering products in the United States and Canada are eligible for a Product Innovation Award. Companies will be honored for their design creativity, technical advancement and overall innovation during the past year. Entries will be judged in the following product categories: alternative shading products, cellular shades, curtains and draperies, horizontal blinds, motorization, pleated and roller shades, shutters, specialty applications, verticals, wood blinds/shadings (wood, faux wood) and merchandising. In each product category, awards will be presented for best new technical innovation, best new style concept, most innovative overall design, and best safety innovation. There is also an overall category: Product of the Year.
For the past 15 years the Product Innovation Awards Program has presented awards to many of the industry’s top manufacturers as well a new “rising star” companies.
For more information, or to submit an entry, please contact Bruce Baiter at (212) 297-2104. Entry forms are available online at www.wcmanet.org
NORMAN SHUTTERS NEW HANDS-ON TRAINING SEMINARS
Norman Shutters, Santa Fe Springs, CA, announces the launch of its new three-day intensive hands-on shutter seminars with 26 dates nationwide through 2007.
The new course will focus on the Norman Shutters product line, shutter design options, ordering and comprehensive hands-on measurement and installation sessions. Class topics will include troubleshooting, track systems, specialty shapes, measurement fundamentals, French doors and corner/bay windows. It is targeted at all levels of window covering professionals including designers, salespersons and installers.
This course will equip attendees with knowledge and confidence in the shutter design.
HOME DECOR PRODUCTS PURCHASES NATIONBLINDS.COM
Home Décor Products, Inc., Edison, NJ, has announced it has reached an agreement to purchase all of the assets of NationBlinds.com from Stafford, TX-based interactive retail company Merrick Group. The purchase means Home Decor Products has now established its tenth online home-improvement and décor retail business.
NationBlinds.com, first launched by the Merrick Group in November 2005, had established itself as a leading retail hub for the window coverings category. The services offered through the site specifically aid consumers in measuring and custom fitting their window furnishings. NationBlinds.com offers all types of window shades including wood, faux wood, cellular, woven wood and bamboo, aluminum, roller, Roman and pleated shades.
“For a long time, Home Décor Products has viewed the window furnishings category as a strategic growth opportunity for the company,” said Michael Golden, CEO. “Through the acquisition of NationBlinds we have been able to significantly speed up our entry into the market. Merrick has built a terrific user experience and established strong vendor relationships that can easily be leveraged on the Home Décor Products platform.”
Home Décor Products has plans to extend the established success of NationBlinds.com by including product lines from some of the largest brands in the blinds industry. Home Décor Products also has plans to add a wallpaper category to NationBlinds.com.
THREE MORE REASONS TO RIDE
Bob Lee, Enhance Your Vision, Barrington, IL, is at it again. In 2001, Lee completed a 3,200-mile bicycle trip across the United States to raise money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (see D&WC, August 2001, page 24). In 2003, he and his son, Scott, rode from New York City to Washington, DC, for World T.E.A.M. Sports, an organization that brings able and disabled together in unity and peace (see D&WC, January 2004, page 62).
Now Lee is preparing for a 6,500-mile bicycle ride for three reasons: ALS, the American Cancer Society and The Hospice Concept. Lee will donate 100 percent of the funds he raises to these three charities. The journey begins March 2007.
Already several industry leaders have joined as sponsors including Hunter Douglas, Designer Blinds of Omaha and Norman Shutters.
For more information, visit www.3reasons.org.
BTX INTRODUCES PLUG-AND-PLAY DRAPERY AUTOMATION SYSTEM
BTX Window Automation, Dallas, TX, has introduced a new motor line: the Sofia™ MMC for use with its 5060 drapery headrail system. A sophisticated electronic processor complemented by an RF receiver is built into the Sofia motor series. This permits easy RF communication and control of up to 10 separate drapery systems by means of one 10-channel remote, the company states. The system can be directly plugged into a standard 120v AC power outlet, which provides a true plug-and-play solution that will cut installation time and decrease cost.
To integrate into control networks, the 5060 Sofia MMC is equipped with a low-voltage port that accepts RJ 11 jacks (similar to phone jacks). The RJ 11 plug also makes it easy to connect one or multiple systems to low voltage switches for switch control.
The MMC has been provided with easy-to-set dipswitches for selecting momentary or maintained switching. An additional polarity dipswitch permits instant change of operating direction in case directional switches have been wired in reverse.
SOMFY LAUNCHES HOME MOTION
Somfy, Cranbury, NJ, has launched a new brand expression: Home Motion. Home Motion by Somfy® is a simple and striking expression of Somfy’s evolution to a brand identifiable by consumers that embodies both the technological innovation and the lifestyle benefits of its products, the company states. It universally communicates all of Somfy’s interior and exterior products and offerings as well as expands the context of its solutions by emphasizing the centerpiece of consumers’ lives, the home, it adds.
Somfy is a leading in manufacturer of specialized motors and electronic controls for residential and commercial interior and exterior window coverings markets. For more than three decades its engineers have been designing products to motorize interior and exterior window coverings such as awnings, rolling shutters, exterior solar screens, interior shades, wood blinds, draperies, projection screens and more.
CUSTOM BLIND FABRICATORS ADDS ECLIPSE SHUTTERS
Custom Blind Fabricators, Detroit, MI, announces the addition of Eclipse Shutters to its product offering. Custom Blind Fabricators has been in the window coverings business for more than 20 years. It currently services Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, western Pennsylvania and northern Kentucky.
Custom Blind Fabricators owner, Frank DiGiglio said, “We feel Eclipse Shutters fits in perfectly with our philosophy of being able to deliver top-quality products in one week or less.”
An Eclipse dealer training seminar was held at Custom Blind Fabricators in August to kick off the program.
OLDE TOWNE WINDOW WORKS EXPANDS FABRIC, PRODUCT SELECTION
Olde Towne Window Works, Fredericksburg, VA, introduced its latest line of fabrics in September. Olde Towne added 46 new patterns to its existing collection of decorative fabrics, bringing the total now to 300 fabrics in the Uptown Line of Home Fashions (see D&WC, September 2004, page 28).
In addition, Olde Towne Window Works introduced a new line of Faux Silk drapery panels. All of these products, as well as its entire line, can be seen on the company’s updated Web site oldetownewindowworks.com.
BLIND BUCK OPENS DESIGNER FABRIC OUTLET
Blind Buck Interiors, Salem, MA, announced its newly renovated showroom featuring a designer discount fabric outlet with a grand opening on November 18.
A mainstay on Main St. in Salem since 1984, the new showroom features over 7,000 yards of fabrics representing fabric houses such as Waverly, Stroheim, Kravet and Robert Allen with tapestries, jacquards, velvets, prints, toiles, microfiber, silks and more. Blind Buck Interiors also provides 70,000 samples of cut-to-order fabrics, all complementing its interior design, custom draperies, window treatments and upholstery services.
Proprietors Ernest Hillier and Larry Tomasini are known for quality design and upholstery work for clientele from Lake Placid, NY, to Stockbridge, MA, and from Londonderry, VT, to Saratoga Springs, NY, as well as New York City and Boston.
The showroom, housed in an historic Salem storefront, provides the only store of its kind in the region, the company states. Included in the store offerings will be table linens, Mole Hollow candles and hotel-quality bed linens.
WILLIAMSBURG, WAVERLY INTRODUCE NEWEST COLLECTION
Williamsburg® and Waverly® have joined together to introduce their newest fabric collection: Natural Elegance. Inspired by designs and colors from costumes, textiles and rare books in the Colonial Williamsburg archives, this collection captures the natural motifs so popular in 18th-century style. It shows a very strong island influence, as wealthy clients once sponsored botanists to venture to remote areas in the Caribbean to gather seeds, specimens and information.
The four printed and four woven patterns debuted at Showtime Market in December in High Point, NC. Each fabric carries a meaningful 18th-century name and a natural color palette, such as mineral, pear, rosewood, grass or indigo.
The Colonial Williamsburg Products Program includes 60 licensees producing more than 7,000 products under the Williamsburg and Williamsburg Reserve brands. It operates 24 retail stores, a mail-order catalog and an e-commerce site. Sales of its products support the preservation, research and educational programs of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the not-for-profit organization that oversees the restored colonial capital in Williamsburg, VA.
Waverly has been licensed by Williamsburg since 1999 to produce a line of fabrics and wallpapers with a lively and contemporary look inspired by the Colonial Williamsburg collection of antique fabrics and wall coverings.
DRAPER RECOGNIZED BY INDIANA GOVERNOR
Draper, Inc., Spiceland, IN, has received a Governor’s Century Business Award from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. The award honors Indiana businesses that have been in operation for 100 years and have a history of community service. Since its start in 1902 as a window shade manufacturer, Draper has grown into the world’s second-largest projection screen manufacturer, and a major player in window shades, gymnasium equipment and lifts and mounts product categories, the company states.
Nominated by individuals or organizations within the same community, the awards honor Indiana’s well-established companies and their outstanding contributions to the economic growth and prosperity of the state. “We’re grateful for the recognition,” said Draper President John Pidgeon, “but we in turn want to recognize all of our employees, past and present. They are the ones who made Draper the solid business that it is and has been for more than a century.
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS
In the November Portfolio (“That’s Entertainment!”) the manufacturer and product shown in the photograph on page 46 were misidentified. The photo caption should have read: "Ready to entertain! This contemporary decor room is accentuated with Clearview™ shutters from Eclipse Shutters featuring sculptured sophistication." We regret the error.