That the window coverings industry has been strong over the past several years and continues growing is undisputed. And the industry’s vitality seems to be reflected in its annual trade show as well.
The 2006 International Window Coverings Expo, held March 30 to April
1 at the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, FL, “surpassed expectations,”
according to the show’s producer, with more than 7,500 attendees
reported. Attendance and exhibitor participation “hit record
numbers,” states Grace McNamara Inc., St. Paul, MN. “It
was [a] record year . . . with more attendees and exhibitors than
ever before.” Well, maybe not more than ever before. In Baltimore
1998, the show’s producers reported “almost 9,000”
in attendance (see D&WC, April 1998, page 76).
To finish playing the numbers game, this year’s show reported
all 50 United States and seven Canadian provinces represented, as
well as attendees from 55 countries. More than 275 companies exhibited
their newest innovations.
Numbers don’t tell the whole story. This year’s show
was appealing for a number of reasons: solid attendance at a new
venue in a new city, a noticeable attention to fabrics and soft
treatments, and some sparkling new product introductions.
A review of this year’s trade show floor has to begin with
the ADO booth right inside the main entrance and the sparking sheer
fabric enclosed in a glass case with an armed guard standing next
to it. Known as Caesar’s Glory, the fabric is being called
the world’s most exclusive: it featured a 28-inch likeness
of Caesar and 4,200 hand-applied Swarovski crystals with 24-carat
gold dust inlaid between. Along the bottom, a 24-carat gold Eurohem,
and for a touch of decadence a circle of stones with a three-carat
diamond and 32 rubies. The display was used to draw attention to
ADO Crystal, a new line of fabrics featuring a pattern of Swarovski
Speaking of fabrics, its return to prominence could be seen beyond
traditional outlets. Chief among them was Aveno Window Coverings,
which over the past several years has been a source for alternate
treatments. This year, Aveno announced an extensive line of soft
treatments, including bedding and accessories.
Capitalizing on recent market trends ITA, Inc. introduced Grand
Pleat to its line of Meridian Home® pleated shades. Reflecting
the move toward wider, more pronounced slates and louvers in horizontal
blinds and shutters, Grand Pleat is offering a pleated width of
almost two inches for greater visual impact and appeal.
Notable for its size was the extended 3,000-plus-square-foot booth
from Norman International. One reason for its size is that Norman
brought shutter sales and installation training directly to the
exhibit floor. Attendees were welcome to attend classes in the booth
covering the shutter marketplace and how to succeed and hang strip
and by-pass track installation along with others.
Another reason for the size of its booth is the line extension Norman
presents including wood blinds, shades and fabrication equipment.
This line actually made its U.S. debut at the International Builders’
Show in Orlando, FL, in January.
New at this year’s show was the Exciting Windows! ExciteVan™.
The company offers a branded professional shop-at-home service and
sales program and the ExciteVan brings it to customers’ doors.
The concept originated with owner Steven Bursten’s Color Van
back in the days when he owned Decorating Den.
On the technology front, Abstrax released its newest version of
its AMI software. Originally created to design, price and quote
custom shutters, the upgrade adds a suite of business and production
reports as well as a scheduling tool to plan and optimize tasks
such as sales and measurement appointments and rescheduling when
For in-home, hands-on wow-factor, Solatech, Inc. showcased the SalesPro
system, which includes a laser measuring device, a handheld tablet
computer, hard drive and printer. During an in-home sales appointment,
laser-accurate measurements can be beamed to the tablet, which can
be downloaded with the latest product specifications from most of
the major window treatments manufactures. Customized quotes, estimates
or invoices (in as much or as little detail as desired) can be printed
before the salesperson leaves. In many cases, the margin on one
sale can cover the monthly fee.
ON TO WASHINGTON
It would be impossible to cover the entire show booth-by-both—that
is what the trade show itself is for! The photographs on the following
pages will present some of the moments captured at this year’s
The 2007 International Window Coverings Expo is scheduled for April
12 to 14 at the Washington DC Convention Center, Washington DC.