HIGH POINT – The spring edition of Premarket got off to a rousing start – and not just over the Saturday and Sunday before the official April 26-27 event.
Dealers were reportedly in town all last week with some coming in as early as Monday and Tuesday according to suppliers showing new product.
Riverside Furniture was among the main points of interest at Premarket as it appeared in its new showroom in the former YMCA building on South Main Street. While the company’s showroom was more than 80% market ready with new product by Friday afternoon, much of the inside of the building is still under construction, leaving dealers eager to see it in its finished form around the June market.
With the exception of some occasional groups and home office pieces, most of its product for the spring market cycle was on display including three new whole home collections and several new standalone casual dining sets.
“We didn’t have everything here, but we were pretty much set up,” said John Iasiello, president, adding that while dealers were looking for in-stock goods, “There is starting to be an appetite for new product.”
Traffic was fairly steady during the event, and Riverside said it was expecting 87 dealers to drop in over the weeklong duration.
A.R.T. Furniture said it started seeing customers Wednesday and was expecting as many as 80 accounts. Its showroom featured four new case goods collections and three line extensions.
“We are calling this the April market because it is. June will be a bonus for us,” said Doug Rozenboom, president, noting that while the company is still working through its backlog, it wanted to also satisfy buyers’ appetites for “newness.” “They are here to look at the new product, and they are here to buy.”
One of the major launches at Premarket was HMI’s launch of the licensed Drew & Jonathan Home line, designed and developed with Drew and Jonathan Scott of Property Brothers fame. It offers some 250 SKUs across three brands including Samuel Lawrence Furniture, Pulaski Furniture and Prime Resources International.
In addition to some 50 upholstery SKUs featured by PRI, the line includes about 200 SKUs split about evenly between Pulaski and SLF. Sources at both companies said reaction to the line was extremely positive, with dealers drawn to the diversity of styles and pieces across the bedroom, dining, occasional, home office and home entertainment categories.
HMI is a division of Hooker Furnishings, which also had a generous assortment of product spread among three new whole home collections including the 70-piece Traditions, which has new vintage/new traditional inspired design elements, the 55-piece urban inspired Chapman and the 50-piece Alhambra, which mixes traditional and transitional design elements.
All received strong interest from dealers as did the company’s new Commerce & Market line of accent furniture sourced from Mexico, India and Vietnam. Hitting a sharper price point than its Mélange accent assortment, the 75-piece line is also slightly smaller in scale and features globally inspired designs aimed at attracting a younger consumer to the Hooker Furniture line.
Vaughan-Bassett added a sleigh bed with a low-profile footboard to its Heritage collection, which is part of its Artisan & Post solid wood line. The new bed helps complete an assortment that already fallen in its top four to five selling groups overall, highlighting dealers’ desire for step-up product.
“We are really excited about where this is going to take the company,” said President Doug Bassett of the expansion of the solid wood lineup.
In addition, the company showed a new veneered bedroom set called Dovetail that offers two beds and is available in four finish options.
Bassett said the company was expecting as many as 140 dealers at Premarket, compared with 99 in the fall and 45 at pre-pandemic events.
Universal Furniture showcased its revamped Curated line featuring 30 new accent pieces all sourced from India, which were shown alongside colorful special order upholstery pieces produced in North Carolina.
The company also showed its new Past Forward collection which features 40 bedroom, dining room and occasional items featuring reinterpretations of classic forms.
The company said it began seeing customers on Sunday with nearly 80 accounts stopping in. During the duration it was expecting as many as 250 dealers, said Jeff Scheffer, president and CEO.
He added that the hunger for product continues.
“Anything they can get,” he said in response to a question about whether dealers are seeking new or inline goods. “There is real shortage of inventory at retail and wholesale. Some people didn’t want to wait until June or couldn’t.”
“’What do you have right now?’ is top of mind for everybody,” said Neil MacKenzie, vice president, marketing, adding that customers are seeing some items in person for the first time that they may have only seen before digitally and also are seeing a refresh of the color palette in upholstery with bright new tones, a theme highlighted perhaps most visibly in its Curated display.