HIGH POINT, NC— The Fall High Point Market was eventful, with many mass-market vendors introducing new brands and product lines, some celebrating milestones and International Market Centers announcing fresh local investments.
At the show, gaming and electric fireplace furniture had a high profile, even attracting real and fanciful celebrity appearances, while styles continued to shift toward brighter, homier renditions even as an eclecticism born of style mixing remained a dominant force in product development.
Desks and other home office products have become increasingly function driven, demonstrated not only by the growth of adjustable workstations but also by revival of the L-desk at a smaller scale and the debut of maker’s desks, as has occurred under the OSP Home brand.
OSP also has been among those mass-market furniture vendors pushing development of gaming desks and related items, with the category featured at its market showroom. Dorel Industries advanced its gaming furniture initiatives at market with the introduction of its new NTense brand. Z-Line Designs unveiled its Star Wars collection of products in a High Point launch that included a Darth Vader appearance.
Also making the point with celebrity participation, Greentouch introduced its Kathy Ireland lineup of electric fireplace furniture, which complements its Scott Brothers product line. The company hosted two appearances by CEO Kathy Ireland to help kick off the collection.
As more consumers warm to electric fireplaces, Twin Star Home demonstrated how it is applying long experience in the segment, featuring newly developed versions of its all-weather heater/fan enabled CoolGlow product among other initiatives.
As with desks, electric fireplace furniture is arriving at market in a wider variety of designs, scales and feature presentations to make products more specific in their appeal, giving retailers the chance to customize their consumer propositions to the personal preference of increasingly demanding consumers.
HMIdea, from Home Meridian International, made its debut at the High Point Market under newly appointed CEO Jay Jordan, previewing a multi-room product line with special emphasis on easy, quick assembly and a goal of keeping put-together time for 90% of products under 30 minutes.
Rather than introduce, Homestar reaffirmed its place in the mass-market furniture sector after the company sold its U.S. plant to Ashley Furniture Industries, telling High Point attendees that it was relocating its corporate office and distribution center in the U.S. After market, the company announced that it would move U.S. offices and distribution operations from Statesville, NC, to Dallas where it is building a new facility that is set to open as a fully operational asset on December 1.
Major mass-market buyers attended the Fall High Point Market in good number, to the satisfaction of the ready-to-assemble furniture vendors and others who supply the mass-market retail sector, although overall traffic was fragmented and came off as somewhat light as a tropical storm loomed over the event.
At the show, International Market Centers announced a $33.5 million capital investment in its several High Point Market properties, including a new, more dynamic Commerce Street entrance to the International Home Furnishings Center. IMC also promised customer-facing renovations and refurbishments to several of its other central High Point properties as part of a broader three-year, cross-campus capital investment strategy reflecting the organization’s commitment to growing and enriching the market and the surrounding community.
IMC’s commitment to High Point is ongoing. On October 11, IMC announced that it had entered into an agreement to purchase the 50,542-square-foot showroom building located at 121 North Hamilton Street in downtown High Point, which would be the 17th building in the company’s portfolio of properties in the community.
In announcing the new initiative, Bob Maricich, IMC CEO, called re-investment in High Point essential to spurring “continual growth, relevance and the value proposition of attending market.”
Sauder Woodworking celebrated at the show, as the company turns 85 this year. In its showroom, the company featured introductions and expanded and revisited collections offering new items and looks. In one initiative, Sauder has been updating finishes on popular collections to give them new style orientations. As it did so, Sauder also demonstrated an important trend development, the development of colorways that fall between the grays and whites that have been selling well in the mass market. The new looks, frequently including natural elements such as dark veins as part of wood-pattern veneers, provide fresh choices for the growing number of consumers who favor brighter furniture, which may suit small space and other spaces where natural light is limited. The developments also suggested that the trend of bringing natural, outdoorsy touches into the home is alive and well, with the corollary that Scandinavian style continues influencing mass-market furniture in new ways.
At the core of its effort, Sauder introduced five new collections. Two, Linden Market and Granite Trace, are what Sauder calls curated collections. They draw from earlier best-selling groups, but they are updated and refreshed with finishes. The nine-piece Linden Market collection appeared at the company’s showroom in a split oak finish that enlivened a dresser, chest, nightstand, TV stands, storage credenzas and storage cabinet, with product prices starting at $149.99. Granite Trace, with its cedar finish and weathered farmhouse look includes a desk, a storage cabinet, a console, decorative bookcases, accent tables and TV stands, with prices starting at $109.99. Both curated collections are currently available.
Nicole Paparelli, a Sauder furniture designer, noted, “Our curated collections take some of our top selling silhouettes and introduce them in an updated finish, which gives them a different look and appeal. These collections also contribute to the eclectic nature of our consumers, giving them more options and inspiration to mix and match. Linden Market speaks to the consumer looking for contemporary with a touch of transitional and familiarity. The new refined-looking and bright split oak finish is accompanied by graphic black accents; combined this collection has a more dramatic look.”
Sauder maintained that each of its five new collections has a unique style. The Willow Place prototype collection offers a clean and contemporary/transitional over 12 pieces including furniture for the bedroom, home office and living room, and will be ready to ship during February 2020 with prices starting at $119.99. The Garden Villa collection offers a TV stand, desk, storage organizer and a tall and short bookcase in designs that combine country, cottage and farmhouse elements at prices beginning at $149.99 and with a December rollout target.
Sporting a light, neutral laurel oak finish, Summit Station comes with open or closed architecture and long chamfered edges on door and drawer panels, all in a mixed transitional and contemporary style applied to a dresser, chest, armoire, wardrobe, nightstand and twin bed as well as two TV stands and two desks, with availability beginning this month at prices that start at $79.99.
The Dorel Home division of Dorel Industries has been introducing and promoting brands and followed up at High Point, where two new banners emerged: NTense for gaming and Ollie & Hutch for pet furniture.
The company developed NTense to offer technology enhanced and functional gaming furniture for kids and adults. Products feature sleek styling, relevant storage components, ventilation for electronic equipment, RGB light bars, built-in speakers and accessories that contribute to the gaming activity. Ollie & Hutch features pet products that can mix into existing consumer home décor in novel ways. The brand covers pet sofas in a chesterfield look and pet beds in farmhouse style, as well as litter box enclosures and aquarium stands that blend into the home.
The launch of the new labels follows Dorel’s recent debut and development of the CosmoLiving by Cosmopolitan, Novogratz and Little Seeds brands. Under the CosmoLiving banner, for instance, Dorel is adding outdoor furniture and an Italian manufactured hybrid mattress that mixes foam and coils. At its High Point showroom, Dorel also featured locker looks in its System Build storage group and gave showroom visitors a preview of the company’s Heartland Cabinetry relaunch.
With its introduction of its six paired Star Wars desks and chairs, Z-Line built out a gaming initiative that already had produced an own brand, ZLD. The company has been refining its gaming designs as to function, with new constructions, storage elements and aesthetics, such as carbon fiber paper that gives desks a high-tech look, based on consumer feedback. It also has been updating its gaming chair line with new big and tall options and integrated LED lighting, including an executive chair with lighting added under an encompassing mesh border.
Linon Powell made a major point of casual dining, with breakfast nooks featured on the Linon side of the business. The company made a point of providing mix-and-matchable pieces that can help retailers offer consumers choices.
Powell focused on more traditional if not formal dining table and chair combinations but with a twist given new products arrived based on best sellers with updated aesthetics to make them appeal even more broadly. Powell dining also focused on lighter finishes and chair upholstery. As a consequence, it began a company initiative to add easy-clean performance fabrics to seating and, potentially, other fabric upholstery used so lighter looks don’t worry stain-conscious consumers.
Accent furniture and seating were a point of emphasis in the Linon Powell showroom, but benches and small ottomans were a significant part of the mix. On the Powell side, new bedroom products were a conspicuous addition, particularly on the juvenile side.
Twin Star Home emphasized new products that could work with and within existing collections at its showroom, particularly in traditional and farmhouse designs. The company features an 18th century-inspired deep espresso finish mantel with faux drawer side cabinets in its Traditional Classics collection and four rustic, shabby chic designs with a distinct American accent under the Modern Farmhouse designation. The company continued to emphasize its all-weather CoolGlow electric fireplace line, and it added three new pieces to its ActiveLife series of adjustable height desks
South Shore Furniture debuted more than 40 products at the fall market including the new Hype and Maliza collections, which included dining- and drinking-related furniture options such as buffets and bar carts. The company also spotlighted multiple changing tables for baby care featuring fresh finishes and storage elements, as well as a small-scale crafting desk in the Crea collection.
Casual dining, with a mix-and-match sensibility, was a point of emphasis at LumiSource, which also featured the Chloe accent chair, with a rich velvet upholstered seat and backrest, tufting and plush padding, and the velvet and gold metal Marla nesting ottoman, in addition to a two-piece nesting strap storage ottoman set.
OSP Home clearly designed several products it featured at High Point for a purpose. Not only did the company offer new gaming and makers desks, but it also introduced the Elmington ottoman, which can be used for resting feet and as seating, plus it offers interior storage and a fold-up work surface, taking care of many needs in one product.