As always a wide range of products was exhibited on the trade show floor, which featured horizontal and vertical blinds, shades and shutters along with decorative hardware, components, fabrication tools, workroom supplies, wall coverings, design and marketing aids, software and fabrics.
Many exhibitors presented first looks at new product line. Notably, Hunter Douglas offered two new lift systems for blinds and shades including a retractable cord/clutch system. It also offered a first glimpse at a new retailer program that centers on product presentation, but encompasses business development aids as well. The program, Hunter Douglas Window Gallery, is scheduled for a full-blown roll-out in January 2000.
Kirsch offered its new Romanette Roman shades and premiered its Raymond Waites Collection of decorative drapery hardware as part of its C.W. Kirsch Signature Series. BTX/Elero Motorization Supply introduced a complete range of motorized blind and shade lift systems, components and controls it is making available through a new fabricator program. Vertilux presented a side tracked shade that was new for this show along with a collection of fabric verticals. The Levolor Home Fashions booth took a New Age approach with calming music and a softer overall look to its window treatment displays.
Education was the theme at the Draperies & Window Coverings booth. A series of 10 well attended design, workroom and marketing seminars was offered free to attendees as part of its Interior Fashions University (IFU). Internet access also was available for attendees to visit industry Web sites. Many of the show's exhibitors sponsored the D&WC Internet Cafe and the magazine's Web page (www.DWCdesigNet.com). A new consumer-oriented Web page also was unveiled. Buywindowcoverings.com will help put home owners in touch with local window coverings retailers through a searchable database format.
This year, scheduling enough setup time for exhibitors reportedly led to shifting the show by one day to open on Saturday and run through Monday, rather than its traditional Friday to Sunday schedule. While Saturday's opening day was a thriving way to begin the show, it was clear that nearly all exhibitors were displeased with low exhibit hall traffic on Monday. Indications are that this problem won't be repeated. For 2000, the International Window Coverings Expo returns to Baltimore, MD, and is slated for April 12 to 16, which returns the show days to their previous weekend schedule.