Future San Francisco Markets To Adjoin Gift Fair
Furniture World Magazine
As consumers’ expectations of the retail experience become more sophisticated and demanding, furniture stores that carry gifts and accessories are quickly becoming the new paradigm for success. Therefore, in a strategic move to help its furniture buyers more easily cross-merchandise their stores, the San Francisco Mart announces that it is moving its future market dates, including those for Summer 2005, to adjoin the San Francisco International Gift Fair (SFIGF), and to coincide with the SFIGF PreFair at the GiftCenter & JewelryMart.
The dates for Summer Market will be Wednesday-Saturday, August 3-6. The SFIGF runs Saturday-Wednesday, August 6-10. Management from all three venues are working together to ensure that buyers will continue to experience a show that is very easy to shop. Plans include one badge for all buildings and a free shuttle between each venue.
“Many progressive stores have gotten into the accessory business as a way to bring customers in on a more frequent basis,” says Roseann Carini, SF Mart general manager. “Giving our buyers an efficient way to shop for these impulse purchase items will help them boost their margins and build store traffic.”
Linda Carey, managing partner of Alchemy at Home Division for Ruddell Associates and regional vice president of WithIt, agrees. “As gift and home intersect more in consumers’ minds, smart buyers are purchasing accessories to give their stores a lift,” she says. “To drive traffic, furniture stores need to be a destination for something more besides furniture. They need to think about their consumers, who predominantly are very busy females who shop where they stand.”
Aligning the SF Furniture Market with the Gift Show has been investigated in the past. “The Mart has deliberated a move like this for a number of years, and has had discussions about it with our Board of Governors and Retail Advisory Board,” states Carini. “In the past, we’ve been unable to implement such a change because of our hotel contracts. Now, several synergistic factors are enabling us to modify our dates, which I think will bring new energy to the SF Market.”
“We are pleased to hear that the SF Mart is changing the summer market dates to coincide with the August gift show,” says Sharron Bradley, executive director of the Western Home Furnishings Association (WHFA). “This change will give our retailers the convenience of shopping for both furniture and accessories in one trip accommodating their already very busy schedules.”
In two surveys conducted in 2004 by the SF Mart, buyers and design professionals both indicated a desire for more decorative accessories, wall décor and gifts. Currently, the Mart’s exhibitor mix is heavily weighted toward furniture. The SFIGF’s At Home division will augment that assortment. At Home features more than 150 exhibitors devoted to products that make a home beautiful, including furniture, rugs, lighting, artistic decorative pieces, textiles and wall art. The SFIGF also hosts an exceptional professional seminar program to help retailers develop competitive niches for their stores.
While the Mart has pondered this alliance for awhile, seeing cross-merchandised stores like RS Basso and Z Gallerie thrive in the midst of the economic downturn reignited the discussions. Exhibitors also encouraged Mart management to further explore the possibility after the World Market Center published dates that were nearly concurrent with the Mart’s. “While the World Market Center has since changed its July 2005 dates, we, too, have examined our own business and believe this direction will appeal to existing buyers, as well as attract a new pool of buyers for our exhibitors,” says Carini.
As it has been since its inception in 1915, the Mart is committed to serving the home furnishings and design industry with an outstanding exhibitor mix, including top manufacturers; continuous upgrades to the building; expanded opportunities for year-round business; twice yearly markets; partnerships with industry associations, such as WHFA, PFD, HFRA, HFIA, HIA, IFDA, PBD; and multi-faceted marketing programs.
“San Francisco is a proven marketplace that is very well-represented with trustworthy furniture and accessory manufacturers who provide good quality and customer service,” emphasizes Linda Carey.
As a furniture trade building and design center, the Mart brings more than 20,000 visitors to the City each year during its semiannual Markets, as well as for seminars and shopping throughout the year. To promote its year-round design business, the Mart is working with the San Francisco Design Center for Summer Design Day on July 15. The Mart also opens to the public twice yearly for sample sales in May and November. The two-building complex is located at 1355 Market Street between Ninth and Tenth Streets in San Francisco.
Upcoming SF Market Dates:
Summer Market 2005 – Wednesday – Saturday, August 3-6
Winter Market 2006 – Wednesday – Saturday, February 1-4
Summer Market 2006 – Wednesday – Saturday, August 2-5