Over 154 Years of Service to the Furniture Industry
 Furniture World Logo

Atlanta Casual Show Debut

Furniture World Magazine


A dazzling new home for 130 outdoor furniture exhibitors will greet retailers at AmericasMart in July.

There’s a major change coming in 2023 for outdoor furniture as buyers set their sights on a new show venue, Casual Market Atlanta at AmericasMart, in July. Furniture World asked Jackie Hirschhaut, executive director of the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA), to share her thoughts about what Furniture World readers can expect to find.

“Construction,” she explained, “has been ongoing for over a year resulting in four floors of permanent outdoor showrooms and one-and-a-half floors of temporary spaces that will be ready for the opening. It’s a dazzling new home for 130 outdoor furniture exhibitors whose showrooms will be separated by glass perimeter walls to let buyers see what showroom assortments look like before they step inside.

“Excitement is building for the debut. Furniture retailers that haven’t visited AmericasMart in the past few months will be amazed. They will see the whole gamut of outdoor furniture, ranging from moderately priced to high-end designer lines. Also, decorative accessories, including umbrellas and pavilions, outdoor rugs, planters and wall décor will be displayed. Permanent showrooms will occupy floors two, three, four and five. Temporary exhibitors will occupy half of the sixth floor and the entire seventh floor.”

Hirschhaut noted that compared to the High Point and Vegas shows, a different mix of industry people attend the Casual Show. “There’s a mix of outdoor specialty store buyers as well as full-line brick-and-mortar furniture retailers and professional designers,” she observed. “You can’t experience such a wide variety of products for outdoor living anywhere else.

Casual Market Atlanta will open on July 10, one day before the summer Atlanta Gift and Home Market opens and will continue through Thursday, July 13.

Casual Show Events

The July show will include lots of events including ICFA’s 65th Birthday Bash on Monday evening, an Outdoor Living Seminar on Tuesday afternoon and, to promote the Association’s philanthropy partnership with City of Hope. ICFA is hosting ‘Pink Out Atlanta.’ Show participants are invited to wear pink apparel on Tuesday. Attendees can help increase awareness and show support for breast cancer research by picking up a pink stone bracelet or hot pink pocket square in the ICFA Member Lounge with a donation of $50 or more. “Our slogan is, ‘Show your support for those remembered, today’s fighters, survivors and City of Hope!,’” she added. For more information or to donate, visit https://OurHope.CityofHope.org/ICFA.

Hirschhaut explained that ICFA has always held its Awards Gala at special venues and this year will be no different. “We’re excited about going to the Georgia Aquarium, a landmark attraction,” she said. “It’s a couple of blocks from AmericasMart. Folks that attend the gala will see amazing aquatic displays while catching up with friends and colleagues.

“At the Gala, ICFA will recognize excellence in the outdoor furniture industry, presenting a number of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement and the Apollo and Design Excellence awards. We’re introducing the Dudley K. Flanders Future Leadership Award this year to recognize a rising young professional.”

Outdoor Design Days

In addition to events during the July show, two floors at AmericasMart will have showrooms that remain open to retailers and designers on weekdays throughout the year. ICFA will also host Outdoor Design Days in mid-September at AmericasMart, a three-day event on September 18-20 providing programming and networking opportunities for professional designers. “This event is also ideal for store owners who are too busy in July to leave their stores to attend Casual Market Atlanta or other buyers who want to check inventory levels at the end of the season before placing new orders.”

ICFA Programs

In addition to organizing the Casual Show, ICFA provides services such as sales training and retail operations programs for its members. “Our members,“ she said, “include retailers, manufacturers, independent sales representatives, designers and the Solution Partners supplier companies, making ICFA the heart of the outdoor furniture industry.

“We host an annual educational conference where members enjoy keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking time with industry peers. On February 18-21, 2024, the educational conference will take place at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho, a mid-century modern, boutique hotel. It’s close to great retail stores in the Scottsdale marketplace for our retail design tour. More information will be available at Casual Market Atlanta.

“This in-person event supplements ICFA’s mobile app that members use to communicate year-round. The app is useful for keeping track of what their industry peers are doing as well as discuss business opportunities and challenges.”

Furniture World asked Hirschhaut if full-line furniture retailers that might already belong to HFA, might benefit from joining ICFA. “Yes,” she replied. “We have some shared members who benefit from our focus on casual home furnishings. For retailers, joining ICFA is affordable. Dues are based on the number of retail stores a company operates. The annual fee is $300 for one, two or three stores. Retail operations with six or more stores pay just $600 annually. It’s a tremendous value due to the financial support for programs provided by outdoor furniture manufacturers and ICFA Solution Partners.”

Outdoor Trend Research

ICFA’s annual consumer study conducted by Wakefield Research asks shoppers to share what they are thinking about purchasing for their outdoor spaces.

“We all know that for most people, the value of outdoor spaces increased dramatically during COVID,” Hirschhaut told Furniture World. “That explosive growth has cooled, but strong demand continues.

“ICFA’s national research shows that 54 percent of the thousands of households that interviewed in January 2023, planned to purchase items for their outdoor spaces this year. Seating is still a key item on their lists, but there’s a stated shift toward looking for items such as outdoor lighting, umbrellas, pergolas, awnings, fire pits, cushions, pillows, rugs and other decorative items to add personal touches to their spaces. Also, water features and outdoor kitchens to complete the experience.”

Additional ICFA Wakefield Research findings:

  • 64% of Americans said that they spend a lot more time in their outdoor spaces compared to a year ago.

  • 80% said their outdoor living space is more valuable than ever.

  • Americans (with outdoor living spaces) spend an average of nine hours per week enjoying them, compared to seven hours last year.


For more information on the International Casual Furniture Association, visit www.icfanet.org, or contact Hirschhaut at Jackie@ICFAnet.org.

Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at editor@furninfo.com.