The August 17 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 15th annual “People To Watch” in housewares during the next 12 months.
Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, “People To Watch” represents a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.
The HomeWorld “People To Watch” are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.
Bob Maricich, International Market Centers, Chairman and CEO
CREDENTIALS: Bob Maricich has a long history in the furnishings business including a stint as president and CEO of Century Furniture. Prior to that, he was president of American Drew and American of Martinsville after holding senior positions at companies such as Flexsteel and Texaco. He took over Internationals Market Centers leadership in 2008.
WHAT TO WATCH: Maricich has taken IMC and its trade show enterprises forward through the purchase of buildings in High Point, NC, that serve a critical role at the High Point Market, the acquisition of AmericasMart, home of the Atlanta Market and other shows, and that of the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. In doing so, he helped position the company as the foremost trade show player in the home furnishings industry and a significant one in other sectors. At the same time, he has overseen material upgrades to properties and strategic extensions of products including into the gift business at the IMC’s Las Vegas Market. The main challenge he faces now is navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down or forced the repositioning of trade shows and has constrained the company’s operations.
PERSPECTIVE: “In the short term, we are rising to the occasion by reengineering our physical markets, introducing new ‘Together Safely’ health and safety guidelines and protocols for in-person gatherings and pivoting to provide digital programming that maintains industry connection and community,” Maricich said. “Buyers want physical markets, and we are doing all we can to be imaginative and evolutionary and to be flexible as the current situation changes. Digital is an important enhancement to physical. Our development of IMC’s new digital innovation division, which was launched in January, has enabled us to provide our customers with interim technology— such as the ShopZio B2B e-commerce platform and Catalog Connexion for sourcing and discovery— to help them weather current disruption to physical markets. Ultimately, we are focused on making commerce more efficient, effective and compelling for our customers. Despite the pandemic, we are moving forward with capital projects such as the opening of the Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas and the Atlanta Next renovation and remerchandising that will improve the physical market experience in Las Vegas and Atlanta.” —Mike Duff
2021 HomeWorld Business People To Watch (click on name for profile):