The latest information compiled by Opinion Research Corporation’s Caravan® for the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) concluded that 83 percent of Americans surveyed are aware that pull-cords on certain draperies and window blinds can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children. Moreover, the percentage of Americans surveyed who are aware of a potential hazard associated with the interior cords running through the slats of some window blinds rose more than four percent from 2006, to 76 percent. This survey is based on interviews conducted in January with 506 men and 508 women 18 years of age and older. The Caravan study has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
According to information provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 1990 more than 200 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords. WCSC, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing consumer information and educational materials on window cord safety, offers consumers free retrofit devices for addressing cord hazards on older window treatments. It also provides design and installation guidelines to ensure product safety. (See D&WC, October 2006, page 46.)
The Window Covering Safety Council is a coalition of major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings.
HUNTER DOUGLAS SHADES WIN GOOD DESIGN AWARD
Designer Screen Shades from Hunter Douglas, Upper Saddle River, NJ, garnered a Good Design™ Award. This product collection now features 97 SKUs of residential screen fabrics with two new fabric collections: Pampered and Spice Rack. As before, most fabrics are available as both Jubilance® Roman shades and Remembrance® window shades.
The Good Design Awards are one of the oldest design competitions. They are hosted by the Chicago (IL) Athenaeum, a distinguished cultural institution and one of the few museums of architecture and design in the United States. The Good Design program bestows international recognition upon designers and manufacturers for advancing new and innovative product concepts and originality and for stretching the envelope beyond what is considered standard product design.
This year, the Good Design Awards were judged by a jury of design professionals including architects, designers and authorities in the design world. There were close to 1,000 entries from six continents, which contributed to the international importance of the historic award.
“We are very pleased to have this recognition and to be in company with winners representing the world’s most prestigious industrial design firms and manufacturers in more then 25 countries,” said Mark Schneider, marketing manager for Hunter Douglas Designer Shades. Hunter Douglas was the only window covering company to receive this notable award, the company states.
SUNLAND EXPANDS CHINA PRODUCTION FACILITY
Sunland Shutters has recently completed a major expansion in its China production facility. Sunland Shutters, Long Beach, CA, uses its location in China to manufacture its custom import wood line, Lexwood.
The goal of the expansion is to accommodate the company’s increased volume of business and to improve the overall quality control process, it states. This significant investment will showcase a number of improvements including production equipment, increased quality control inspection areas and new and improved state-of-the-art finishing stations. Climate controlled drying and curing rooms finalize the finish on Lexwood Shutters.
COMFORTEX WINNERS ESCAPE THE COLD
Comfortex Window Fashions Maplewood, NY, has announced the winning dealer and consumer of its Escape the Cold Sweepstakes, which ran from November 15, 2006, through January 15, 2007. This nationwide sweepstakes gave participants the opportunity to win a four-day, three-night trip for two to Cancun, Mexico.
American Window Fashions, Jacksonville, FL, is the BlindCrafter dealer to win. American Window Fashions has been in business for 20 years and has been a BlindCrafter since its inception in 1992.
Placing a special emphasis on customer service, American Window Fashions specializes in custom-made blinds, shades and shutters, offering consumers a variety of choices to suit their home design needs. With 5,000 square feet to manufacture products on-site, the business currently has a dozen employees on staff.
Valerie Simons, Debary, FL, was the grand prize consumer winner. Simons entered the Windows to Paradise Sweepstakes by mailing in an entry form after hearing about the contest from a friend.
ITA MOVES TO NEW PALM COAST HEADQUARTERS
ITA, Inc. has announced the relocation of its headquarters from St. Augustine, FL, to a newly constructed building down the coast at Six Meridian Home Lane, Palm Coast, FL.
According to ITA Managing Director Leonard Siegel, the move had been planned in response to continued strong sales activity and anticipated expansion of the company’s diversified product lines. The new facility offers more space and more technologically advanced features to support the company’s growing sales, marketing and product development teams, the company states. Among the amenities will be a fully equipped conference center and showroom.
The new headquarters also will be located closer to ITA’s three-year-old distribution, testing and training center in Ormond Beach, enabling the company to realize enhanced operating efficiencies and delivery times, it adds.
As developer of the property, ITA was able to incorporate the Meridian Home® brand name as part of the street address, which reflects ITA’s continuing commitment to its flagship brand, Siegel said.
SHUTTERSMART LAUNCHES POLYCLAD HARDWOOD SHUTTER
Following the introduction of it’s WoodTex finish, ShutterSmart announces it’s new PolyClad Hardwood shutter built with a solid wood core clad in a polyresin finish. The combination delivers a shutter that can do everything a wood shutter can with the advantages of durability and low maintenance, the company states.
“Our hard wood construction allows us to do everything a wood shutter does including building large door-like panels, arches and French door cut outs. And with the new WoodTex finish, ShutterSmart feels just like wood to the touch,” said Viken Ohanesian, president.
ShutterSmart is a division of US Polymers Inc and sells it’s Polyclad Hardwood Shutters through a network of authorized dealers and fabricators nationwide.
NEW DESIGN CAPABILITIES WITH DREAMDRAPER UPGRADE
DreamDraper®, Bethlehem, PA, has announced a new feature upgrade to its G4 design program. Key additions include the timesaving Photo Crop feature to facilitate cutting around furniture and designing on a photograph, in seconds.
A new Image Transparency feature allows the designer to more easily incorporate furniture and accessory images from manufacturers’ Web sites into their designs and remove the background color.
DreamDraper now also gives the user the ability to set his or her own custom preferences for text settings and drawing tools, and these settings are remembered every time the program is opened.
New features also have been added to the Dimension Tool and Layers tools.
G4 is Vista-ready and is fully compatible with Microsoft’s new operating system.
WOVEN WOOD BLIND OFFERS ALTERNATIVE
Decorator Shades & Blinds, New Britain, PA, introduces a two-inch woven bamboo blind that blends the most popular elements of a two-inch horizontal blind with the popular look of a woven wood shade. These bamboo blinds allow the homeowner to tilt them for light control and provide a subdued semi-opaque light when closed.
The bamboo slats are made of natural woven wood pieces that are woven together to form a slightly curved slat. A fabric backing is attached to the back of the slat to provide stability, increase privacy and protect against UV rays. The bottomrail, wand, tassels and three-inch valance are the same premium stained basswood as used on Decorator Shades & Blind’s two-inch stained wood blinds.
RM COCO INVITES CUSTOMERS ON EUROPEAN ADVENTURE
RM Coco, Cape Girardeau, MO, has announced its Mediterranean Cruise Seaside Adventure promotion, which runs from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2008. Customers can earn points with purchases made throughout the two-year time. Each item has a set point allotment and occasionally special bonus points are offered on selected items.
The trip, an eight-day/seven-night cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Sea featuring ports of call in Spain, France and Italy, will be taken in May or June 2009, the company states.
“We have taken wonderful trips in the past with our customers and are very excited to announce the destination of the trip to be taken in 2009,” said Jim Rust, president. “A Mediterranean cruise has many inspiring ports of call with rich history and we felt this would be the perfect way to tell our best customers ‘Thank you’.”
“This trip gives the owners and sales representatives a chance to get to know our customers. We see them in the field but this gives us the opportunity to learn about their business, what they need and how we can best serve them,” said Mike Watson, vice president of sales. “Attendees also enjoy conversing with their peers in the industry and learning new trends.”
RM Coco is a wholesale distributor/converter of exclusive decorative drapery and upholstery fabrics, trim and custom hardware serving the residential and commercial markets. Custom Creations, a division of RM Coco, specializes in custom top treatments, bedspreads, cornices and drapery.
GLEN RAVEN INTRODUCES VIVITEX FABRICS BRAND
Glen Raven Custom Fabrics has introduced Vivitex™, a new brand name for its growing collection of inkjet printable fabrics.
“The new brand name represents a combination of ‘vivid’ and ‘textiles,’ which emphasizes the print clarity offered by our inkjet fabrics, ” said Mike Von Wachenfeldt, digital fabrics product manager for Glen Raven, the makers of Sunbrella® and other performance fabrics.
Vivitex fabrics feature inkjet receptive coatings suitable for most solvent, eco-solvent and UV inkjet machines. Vivitex fabrics are suitable for indoor and outdoor applications and are available in 54- and 60-inch widths. Future development work with inkjet fabrics will include enhanced print clarity, wider fabrics, faster print speeds, reduced ink consumption and support for a broader array of markets, according to Von Wachenfeldt.
“Our goal is to push the performance envelope even further with inkjet printable fabrics, and we wanted a brand name that would help us in creating an expanded market presence,” he said.
PATE-MEADOWS RELEASES EXCLUSIVE NEW PATTERNS
Pate-Meadows Designs, Bessemer, AL, announces the spring release of three new patterns: Delaine, Abigail and Eleanor. These three styles will debut at the International Window Coverings Expo in April and will be available on the company Web site, www.patemeadows.com, that month also.
Pate-Meadows also is adding to its line of knobs and finials. It plans to offer two new exclusive styles of knobs this spring.
The Show Home Pattern line of window treatment patterns by Pate-Meadows Designs is now available in more than 90 fabric stores across the United States. It also has designed an exclusive line of window treatment patterns for Southern Living Magazine.
LUTRON OPENS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION CENTERS
Lutron Electronics has opened its Customer Experience and Education Centers at its world headquarters in Coopersburg, PA. The Customer Experience Center is the company’s third. Similar facilities exist in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Plantation, FL. A fourth center, located in Orange County, CA, is slated to open in 2007. The Education Center is the first for the company.
As a resource for Lutron customers, including electrical contractors, residential systems providers, architects/designers and window system providers, the centers can be used to offer its clients a firsthand lighting control experience in a home-like or business setting.
The Customer Experience Center encompasses 4,000 square feet of space and contains numerous vignettes to represent rooms in a home: kitchen, family room, foyer, master bedroom, master bathroom, patio, gallery and home theater.
The Customer Education Center encompasses 10,000 square feet of space and features four state-of-the-art classrooms, each featuring a different Lutron system, that can host a total of 120 people. The Customer Education Center serves as the primary training facility for all Lutron customers, whether they are residentially or commercially focused.
FABRICUT INTRODUCES TREND
Fabricut has launched its newly developed fabric brand: Trend, a variety of products ranging from drapery, multi-purpose, sheers, silks, faux silks, linings and trimmings. The style of product covers the spectrum from contemporary to traditional and everything in between, the company states.
As the business of interior design expands to a more diverse demographic, Trend is aimed at designers and workrooms in accommodating the more value-conscious client without compromising function and form. Trend Managing Director Rebecca Creal states, “Trend is fulfilling the general movement in the marketplace of a need for beautiful fabrics at an exceptional value. Just because it’s affordable does not mean it can’t be stylish and exciting.”
Trend will debut at the 2007 International Window Coverings Expo in Washington, DC.
HUNTER DOUGLAS INSTALLER TRAINING PROGRAM BEGINS SPRING SESSIONS
In the custom window coverings business, the last person the customer sees isn’t the retailer; it’s the installer. Understanding that this important last step can color a customer’s perception of the entire transaction, Hunter Douglas, Upper Saddle River, NJ, provides ongoing installer training programs to properly educate professional installers on the most effective and up-to-date methods of installing its innovative products.
The Certified Professional InstallerSM (CPI) Training Program is a two-day workshop that will teach installers how they can directly influence repeat business. It will cover the installation of Hunter Douglas products including Silhouette® and Nantucket™ window shadings, Duette® honeycomb shades with the Vertiglide™ hardware system, Vignette® Modern Roman Shades, Luminette® Privacy Sheers with and without PowerGlide® remote control, and Alouette® LightLouvers.
Lifting systems covered will include PowerRise® battery-powered remote control motorization, the EasyRise® continuous cord loop system, the LiteRise® system for cordless lifting and the UltraGlide® single retractable cord system.
Six CPI training sessions are scheduled for spring 2007 beginning March 13 to 14, Melville, NY, and running through May 15 to 16 in Atlanta, GA. Workshops are limited to 50 participants in each location, and each installer is required to have a minimum of three years of installation experience. Installers can register for the program online at http://dealers.hunterdouglas.com.
ELEGINE’S MOTORIZED SYSTEMS DEBUT AT HEIMTEXTIL
Virginia-based Elegine USA exhibited at the Heimtextil show in January along with European fabric supplier Top Ram Window Coverings. Elegine is launching new state-of-the-art electronic drapery/shade motors that are simple to install and do not need complicated electronic solutions, the company states. All the electronics are integrated into motors.
Elegine is an Australian-born electronics company focused on establishing worldwide fabrication/distribution networks in the window fashions, home automation and building markets. Elegine’s USA sales and marketing arm, Window Coverings Associates, is led by Margaret (Meg) Strickler Wattiker, a long-time veteran of the office automation/electronics industry.
ASTRUP PRODUCT CATALOG No. 131 AVAILABLE
Now celebrating 131 years of service in the industrial textiles industry, The Astrup Co., Cleveland, OH, has just released its bi-annual product catalog featuring more than 10,000 items. The catalog is now available at all Astrup Distribution Centers. The catalog is also available on CD-ROM.
Featuring the entire Astrup product line, the catalog represents Astrup’s 131 years of experience researching, locating and supplying the materials its customers need to build their businesses, the company states.
The No. 131 Astrup Catalog contains nearly 400 pages of fabrics, hardware, cordage and finishing supplies used in the manufacture of awnings, signs, tarpaulins, tents, outdoor furniture and umbrellas, marine tops and covers and other fabric products for residential, commercial and architectural applications.
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS
In a Special Report in the January 2007 issue (page 22) Sunland Shutters’ product was incorrectly identified in a sidebar, “Simply Beautiful.”
The paragraph should have read: “Adding to the value of Sunland shutters are that they are quality custom-built and fully framed, offer superb light, noise and temperature control, and boost the value of any home.” We regret the error.