While attendance was just slightly below what show organizers were expecting, by all accounts the Expo was a busy show. Exhibitors' booths were visited by a nearly constant flow of interested attendees, who included buyers, interior designers, fabricators and other industry professionals. In the booths were a wide range of window treatment products including blinds, shades and shutters along with fabrication tools, fabrics, bedding, and design and marketing aids.
Many new or updated booths added to the show's appearance. "I hope that there is new excitement in the industry," said Sander Johnson, Kirsch.
The Internet Cafe by Draperies & Window Coverings proved a popular stop for attendees whose interest in the marketing and research capabilities of the Internet and the World Wide Web has reached a new high point. Live Web access, and especially the D&WC home page (www.dwcdesignet.com) and its links to site sponsors, drew approving reviews.
Many other booths also included products introduced at the show-some available, some ready for roll-out. For example, Levolor Home Fashions modeled its line of cordless mini-blinds, pleated shades and wood blinds; A.F. Schmalzried showcased its Tropical Collection of brightly colored trims, cords and tassels; and Excel Window Treatments featured a line of printed and burnout sheer fabric verticals-just to name a few. Walking the show floor anyone would quickly realize the extent to which motorization has swept the industry. Numerous suppliers offered this option for virtually any type of window treatment available.
Some exhibitors took their booths a step further. Hunter Douglas Window Fashions held sessions on color and style trends and marketing tips in a classroom built as part of its booth. Allied/All-Teck held live performances by a magician to highlight its new fabric-like product. Hamilton Designs Inc. held a raffle for a custom hardwood traverse rod. The winner was Elaine Hertz, At Your Door Decor, Crofton, MD.
As in past years, Baltimore again proved a successful location for the show. Easy access for the entire East Coast and beyond helped draw attendees and exhibitors alike. Comfortex Corp., Maplewood, NY, brought in its sales representatives and customer service department for possibly the largest exhibitor contingent at the show. Vertilux Ltd., Miami, FL, had nearly as large of a representation.
Visitors to the show came from 51 countries. "We were able to see customers from Brazil, Venezuela and the Netherlands," said John Celesia, Rockland Industries.
The International Window Coverings Expo is produced by Messe Frankfurt, Inc. and Window Fashions magazine.