A surge of enthusiastic buyers from across the country arrived early in Dallas for the first show of the summer season, Total Home & Gift Market, driving record attendance including a historic number of new buyers. Retail decision makers from 47 states attended the trade event, held June 23-29, and ordered deeply to fill depleted inventories.
Attendance was up overall compared with June 2019 and was up compared with January 2021, traditionally a larger event. The number of new buyers was up more than 40% over June 2019. As well, the show continued to expand its geographic footprint: the show saw a 14% increase in buyers from the West, a 24% increase in buyers from the Midwest, and a 36% increase in buyers from the Southeast compared with June 2019.
“This was the strongest summer Total Home & Gift Market in many years,” said Cindy Morris, president and CEO of Dallas Market Center. “Buyers showed up early and ordered deeply. They wanted to be first in line to place orders, and many exhibitors reported 20, 40, 60% increases versus 2019. Buyers from every state arrived with confidence and enthusiasm to fill shelves and discover new products. Most impressive to me was the continuing pattern of new buyers arriving from east and west as well the middle of the country. Thank you to our exhibitors and sales reps who helped deliver a fantastic summer show.”
Buyers from across the U.S. and select countries attended the seven-day trade event that welcomed single and multi-location retail, buying groups, and major stores. Among the first-time buyers was Maura O’Keefe Byrne from Thyme Café and Market in Santa Monica, CA: “It’s our first time to Dallas. There’s a lot of energy in the building, a lot of people are out. We have found a lot of things we’ve seen in other places, but a lot of new things too.” Added Krista Chmielski of Bluemerie Permanent Botanicals in Port Austin, MI: “One of my reps … in Atlanta suggested I try Dallas this time. It’s been a great experience so far, and I know that I’m going to find lots of new things that I wasn’t even expecting.” Dan Saklad of Whisk in Cary, NC said: “It’s is our first time to Dallas. We came for the Gourmet Catalog meeting, and that was the primary purpose, but I will tell you that I have been astounded by what I’ve seen here. It feels fresh. It feels innovative and exciting.”
Exhibitors noted the historic traffic, enthusiasm, and strong order writing. From the Gift neighborhoods, Julia Higgins of Two’s Company commented: “This has been one of our best Dallas shows of all time. A huge amount of customers from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, but we’re also seeing people from outside of that core demographic here.” Added Tara Dikos of Transpac: “The show GREATLY exceeded our expectations as we significantly surpassed 2019 numbers and opened MANY new accounts. Our hope is that this is the first of many signs that retailers will continue to thrive!” And Cliff Price of Cliff Price and Company concluded: “Business was fantastic. It was probably better than I’ve experienced in a long, long time. Everybody was just happy to be here. It’s probably the most fun I think we’ve had at a show that I can remember.”
In the Home Furnishings neighborhoods, business was brisk: Said Amber Graves of C Maddox: “It was crazy. We will have the biggest month we have ever had. We were selling ahead of the show and then did a solid week of business with lots of new buyers.” Added Paul Michael, owner of Market Hill on 6: “The opening day was the best day we’ve ever had here in Dallas. This market is exploding and has amazing momentum.” And Shirin Asghari of MetColors, a new exhibitor in The Gallery said: “It’s been a fantastic show. I’ve seen from the big design firm to a small designer and a lot of shops. I have seen people from all over from Northeast…and from Florida…and from Portland or Washington.”
From the Floral & Holiday neighborhood, Tom Young of AllState Floral commented: “Orders are at their highest we’ve seen in years. We are encouraged to see our buyers return to Dallas with enthusiasm for the product and optimism for the coming year.”
From the Gourmet and Housewares neighborhoods, David Shull of Jura observed: “From coast to coast and the Midwest, everybody’s here. So I can honestly tell you, we’ve met with everybody pretty much around the U.S. And our business is off the charts.” Added Lori Schuman with Hammonds Candies: “This is our third year at the Dallas market and each year we’ve seen an increase of business and we love it because not only do we see mom and pop type of buyers, but we see all sorts of larger buyers as well.”
Debuting during the show were dozens of new or expanding showrooms including legendary brands and hot new companies across gift and home, housewares and gourmet, holiday and floral to lighting and fashion. Inside The Temps at Total Home & Gift Market, hundreds of new and returning exhibitors in four distinct neighborhoods included the largest collection of vintage home ever seen in Dallas and expanded sections of bath, body and spa. Said Susan Shaw, principal with Susan Shaw Jewelry: “Opening day was our biggest day in the history of exhibiting in Dallas. Orders were big and buyers included both loyal and new.” Added Barrett Gross, president, Zafferano America: “The show was a really spectacular success for our brand. We reached dozens of new buyers, opened 30 new accounts, some of them real monsters. We attracted the kind of buyers that we had never attracted before in shows at New York Now and at the Atlanta Market.” And Daniel Basiletti of Ameico concluded: “This show has been fantastic. We haven’t done the Dallas market before and we’re really happy we did. It’s been busy for us. We met a lot of new customers here that we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.”
Taking place at the same time was Lightovation: Dallas International Lighting Show, which welcomed buyers back to the home of residential lighting and numerous expanded and new showrooms across more than 1 million square feet of lighting resources. The KidsWorld Market was also in full swing and saw a sharp increase in new buyers arriving to discover children’s apparel and accessories, gifts, toys and more.
While at the shows, retailers participated in special events, seminars, discussions, organization meetings, and tours while also experiencing displays of product trends to inspire their merchandising and ordering. Tastemaker Thom Filicia participated in a conversation with Adam Glassman of Oprah Daily about his design eye and new collection with Feizy. Additional events included the Gourmet Gold Awards and the HEARTS Awards, celebrating and honoring those who showed outstanding leadership during the pandemic. Uniting multiple industries for the first time, the invitation-only HEARTS Awards was hosted by Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia.
Supporting the comfort, health and safety of all attendees, the market center continues important measures outlined via the plan available on the front page of the website.
For upcoming markets, visit the Dallas Market Center website.
About Dallas Market Center
Dallas Market Center is a global business-to-business trade center and the leading wholesale marketplace in North America connecting retailers and interior designers with top manufacturers in gourmet and housewares, home décor, holiday/floral, gifts, lighting and apparel. Inside its dynamic, five million square foot campus, nearly 200,000 customers from all 50 states and 85 countries seek industry trends, business education and new products from exhibitors throughout the year via dominant trade events for gift, home décor, holiday and floral; the nation’s most comprehensive apparel and accessories markets featuring the latest styles from East Coast and West Coast designers; the largest residential lighting trade event in North America; and the largest and most successful open-daily design center. The marketplace is located in the strongest economic zone in the country. In addition, more than 80% of Dallas Market Center buyers report that they do not shop other market centers. To make plans for upcoming markets, visit the Dallas Market Center website and download the Dallas Market Center App. Also, keep up-to-date on all information by visiting Dallas Market Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Dallas Market Center blog.
Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Nic Ledoux