A new strategic alliance has been formed between Springs Window Fashions Division, Inc., Middleton, WI, and Harmonic Design, Inc., Valencia, CA. Under the agreement, Harmonic Design will provide its Sensor Shade® technology for Springs' new AutoMate[TM] motorization system.
Harmonic Design will provide the system to Springs' fabricators in late summer 2000, replacing the current AutoVue® system, according to a Springs statement. The first product under the new alliance will allow consumers to remotely control two-inch wood, faux wood and vinyl horizontal blinds marketed under the Graber® brand.
"We are experiencing strong demand for battery-operated remote control window coverings because they are both convenient and affordable," said Ron Zabel, Springs Window Fashions president. "Adding Harmonic Design's innovative technology will enhance our product line and help us meet growing consumer interest in this feature," he added.
Harmonic Design's Sensor Shade for Skylights received the Technical Innovation of the Year Award from the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) earlier this year. (See D&WC, May 2000.)
GILMORE, KRESTA FORM JOINT VENTURE
A new joint venture, Kresta-Gilmore Window Fashions LLC, has been announced by John and Ken Gilmore of Gilmore Enterprises, Chatsworth, CA, and Kresta Holdings Co., Perth, Australia, the parent company of Mardo. The new company will operate concurrently with Gilmore Enterprises and is established with the initial goal of marketing Softview Venetian Shades in North America.
John and Ken Gilmore will manage Kresta-Gilmore. Craig Robinson has been appointed vice president of sales. "In the future we foresee additional marketing opportunities arising from our combined strengths," said Robinson. "Kresta brings fully integrated manufacturing including superior fabric weaving and finishing technology in roller shades and vertical blinds to the new venture. Gilmore adds its innovative component systems and well developed North American distribution network."
Softvew Venetian Shades combine the traditional soft and airy look of a classic window shade with the 21st-century light-control system of a horizontal blind. Mardo markets Softview Venetian Shades under the Ventex brand name in Australia and elsewhere throughout the world. (See D&WC, April 2000.)
Gilmore has begun shipping the merchandising package for Softview Venetian Shades. The package consists of a 28-page sample album showcasing 54 SKUs in four patterns illustrated with fashion photography.
COMFORTEX LAUNCHES WINDOWCONNECTION.COM
Comfortex Corp., Maplewood, NY, has formed a separate Internet company to market and sell window fashions through its worldwide network of independent dealers.
WindowConnection.com will establish and be supported by a network of Comfortex retail fabricators and select retailers. These Dealer Network Members will receive orders generated by the Internet and will provide custom order measurement verification, delivery and installation services in a way that is intended to provide the best in high-tech Internet services with the personal services of local window treatment professionals.
The WindowConnection.com Web site was introduced to Comfortex Composers and select retailers at a three-day e-commerce conference in Albany, NY. Comfortex plans to begin promoting its new service later this month through an integrated program using national magazines, Internet marketing and a national public relations campaign.
BLIND MAKER ENDS EXCLUSIVE SPRINGS/GRABER RELATIONSHIP
The Blind Maker, Austin, TX, has announced it intends to terminate its current exclusive fabrication arrangement with Springs Window Fashions Division, Inc. after 20 years of fabricating Springs' window fashions products. According to a statement released in mid-July, The Blind Maker notified Springs of its decision on May 19, 2000. The Blind Maker will continue to be an exclusive full-line fabricator through November 19, 2000, and plans to continue on a non-exclusive arrangement after that.
"I want The Blind Maker to be able to offer a program that is focused on the independent retailer and not available at the mass merchant," said Ray Hicks, The Blind Maker president and owner. "Our mission for the past 20 years has been to fabricate brand name window coverings at competitive prices with superior quality and service to the trade only. We haven't changed in that regard."
The Blind Maker is developing a new dealer program under the Kirsch brand name from Levolor Home Fashions that it intends to offer after its exclusive relationship with Springs terminates.
ACME HOSTS INSIGHT PROGRAM
ACME Window Coverings, Willowbrook, IL, will sponsor a Hunter Douglas Insight Product & Design Fair on September 6, 2000, in Oakbrook, IL.
The program will be highlighted by speakers Margi Kyle, ASID, IDS, and Jeff Janke. Kyle is best known and recognized for the television programs she has hosted and produced including "Dr. Decorator" and "The Designing Doctor." Janke will share his extensive expertise on cash-flow management, strategic analysis, pricing, marketing and advertising.
Hunter Douglas has joined forces with ASID to offer CEU credit for several of the Insight classes. To register, or for more information, contact ACME at (630) 654-2900, (800) 825-2263.
DDI OPENS NEW FRANCHISES
Decorating Den Interiors (DDI), Montgomery Village, MD, has announced the opening of its newest franchises: two in Ontario, Canada; two in North Carolina; and one each in Virginia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Florida.
DDI offers consumers a full-service shop-at-home interior decorating service. Each new franchise owner attend DDI's extensive training courses held at the company's headquarters.
WAVERLY, SUNSHINE DRAPERY TEAM AGAINST BREAST CANCER
Waverly, New York, NY, and Sunshine Drapery & Interior Fashions, St. Louis, MO, held a fund-raising event in June featuring Christopher Lowell, the host of the Discovery Channel's "The Christopher Lowell Show."
A cocktail reception and the presentation of Lowell's seminar, "The Seven Layers of Design," raised money and awareness for the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure. Founded in 1982, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is a national organization established to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease.
SUPERIOR CREATES COMPOSITE FABRIC
By combining warp knit with stitchbond fabrics in a composite construction, Superior Fabrics, Pompano Beach, FL, as created a new line of fabrics that exhibit the best properties of both.
These new constructions give relatively dense, heavy fabrics with very high tensile strength, tear resistance and bursting strength making them ideal for the industrial and utilities markets, according to a company statement.
RAE INTRODUCES NEW BLACKOUT PROGRAM
Rae Textiles, a division of Rae Trading Corp., New York, NY, is introducing a new program of printed blackout fabrics to be shown for the first time at the Decosit exhibition in September.
The new group will feature six patterns in a range of colors that will coordinate with matching fabrics and bedspreads. The new program will be done with a wet printing process that will offer superior color definition with a full blackout and fire retardant backing.
SPECTRUM FABRICS DRESS TABLES AT FIRST LADY LUCHEON
Three patterns from Spectrum Fabrics, New York, NY, were selected to decorate tables at The First Lady's Luncheon in May honoring Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 43rd First Lady of the United States.
Three complementary patterns from Spectrum's French in the Country Manor Collection were chosen for floor-length table covers, table toppers and napkins. The project was coordinated and fabricated by Patti Coons, a senior vice president at Decorating Den Interiors, Montgomery Village, MD.
The annual First Lady's Luncheon is hosted by the Congressional Club, a non-partisan group of spouses of members of the House of Representatives, Senate, Supreme Court and the President's Cabinet.
BOSTON SHOW READY FOR FALL PREMIER
The 52nd edition of the Boston Curtain & Drapery Show will be held October 14 to 15, 2000, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI. For the first time, the event is held on dates in the fall rather than its traditional early February/March pattern. The show organizers followed a broad consensus of exhibitors and attendees who favored this change-of-season positioning. The show is co-produced by Messe Frankfurt and Window Fashions magazine and sponsored by the Boston Curtain & Drapery Club.
An anticipated 50-plus exhibitors will fill some 20,000 gross square feet of space in the center's exhibition area. Exhibiting manufacturers and distributors will display a wide variety of their newest lines including hard and soft window treatments, decorative accessories, shutters, motorization products, fabrics, textile products, wall coverings, awnings and workroom supplies.
Historically, the show draws 1,300 retailers and designers from the northeastern United States and Canada.
IFDA CONFERENCE LOOKS TO GLOBAL FUTURE
The opportunities for growing business in the next couple of decades will be a major theme of the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) conference November 2 to 5 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
Titled "Honor the Past: Envision the Future" the conference also will include a varied program of events and tours of some of the Washington area's significant restorations. Speakers will include John J. McDevitt, corporate economist for 3-M Corp., who will open Friday's business session discussing business conditions during the last quarter of 2000 and global prospects for 2001; and Ambassador Craig Johnstone, vice president of the international division of the United States Chamber of Commerce, a former ambassador and key state department member, who will address the conference on emerging trends in globalization.
QUÉBEC EXHIBIT SCHEDULED
Québec Vous Attend, an annual exhibition featuring interior decorating products, has been scheduled for March 11 to 12, 2001, at the Centre des Congrés de Québec, Québec, Québec, Canada.
More than 135 exhibitors from Canada, the United States and Europe are expected to offer the latest trends in draperies and window coverings, bed coverings, wall coverings, bathroom accessories, decorative hardware and floor coverings. The attendance includes interior designers, architects and decorators.
For more information, contact Jacques Poliquin, (418) 666-9785.