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Palliser returns to CFS

17 January 2017
Events, Furniture, Mattresses, Retail

MONTREAL – The exhibit halls for the 2017 edition of the Canadian Furniture Show are beginning to fill and it’s possible the number of participating resources will outnumber last year’s event, particularly now that Palliser Furniture, this country’s largest upholstery maker will return.

“We are definitely ahead of last year’s pace when it comes to space booking,” Pierre Richard, president and chief executive officer of the Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association (QFMA), told Home Goods Online a few days ago. “If this continues, we could have a larger show than last year.”

In 2016, some 230 vendors took part in the Canadian Furniture Show (CFS). Although an exact number of exhibitors for 2017 wasn’t provided, Richard said that as of last week, about 72% of the available floor space for exhibitors had been sold.

Pierre RichardThis year, show management has condensed the floor to cover Halls One through Four of the International Centre, plus the facility’s conference centre. In fact, Palliser will occupy a 13,000 square foot space in the conference centre. The Winnipeg-based upholstery maker has always occupied a semi-private space inside the building during the show. It previously occupied the Aviation Ballroom across from Hall Five.

Resources with permanent showrooms in the International Centre’s SOFA (Source of Furniture and Accessories) annex will also participate in the show. Richard also expects about the same number of manufacturers with showrooms outside the International Centre to participate in this year’s event.

However, Richard was quick to point out the consolidation doesn’t mean less exhibit space or fewer exhibitors. Rather the available space will be more effectively utilised as he admitted there was a great deal of unseen unused space on the 2016 show floor.

“That won’t be the case this year,” he said. “We’re going to have lots of great spaces.”

CFS management believes consolidating the floor will offer benefits to both attending retail buyers and designers as well as to exhibitors. “In fact, this optimised layout has sufficient square footage to stage a bigger show than in 2016,” Richard said in an earlier HGO interview. “It will also be better for visitors, who won’t have to walk as far, and for the exhibitors, who will benefit from more concentrated traffic.”

Registration for retail buyers and other attendees is expected to open on March 1. The 2017 CFS will be held from May 26 to 28.

Related Story: QFMA kicks off drive to CFS 2017
Related Story: Lunch time seminars coming to a more compact 2017 CFS

Silva to produce Jane Lockhart upholstery collection

17 January 2017
Furniture, Manufacturing

TORONTO – Interior designer, author and television personality Jane Lockhart has entered into an alliance with Silva Custom Furniture to produce her line of stationary upholstery. Both are headquartered here.

The Jane by Jane Lockhart upholstery collection was first introduced to the industry at what is now called the Canadian Furniture Show in January 2012 by the Toronto-based Statum Designs. “We have enjoyed a strong, long-lasting relationship with Statum that has seen both our companies grow and evolve over the years,” Lockhart said in a letter to customers. “We are thankful to Statum for their years of dedicated service and wish them well in all their future endeavours.”

The manufacturing partnership with Statum ended on December 31, 2016. However, undelivered existing orders will be completed and Statum will honour pending orders until March 1.

Seen here is the sectional from the Jordon collection, part of Jane by Jane Lockhart upholstery line that will now be manufactured by the Toronto-based Silva Custom Furniture. Lockhart said she was attracted to Silva Custom Furniture, which was founded 36 years ago by Eugene Silva, for a number of reasons but was impressed by the furniture lines it produces for other well designers such as Sarah Richardson and Cobi Ladner.

“Silva was chosen for its ability to customize,” Lockhart explained. “They can manufacture any size, any shape, anything the consumer or retailer wants. We also wanted to present designers and consumers with more choice.”

She added Silva will produce the line as it currently exists although there will be additions to the collection in the coming months.

Lockhart wants the line, which targets the mid-range to high-end price points, expanded beyond the 20 or so retail floors that currently carry the assortment. To help in that effort, Denise Azopardi, a member of the Silva sales team, will be representing the Jane by Jane Lockhart to retailers in Ontario. It will also be offered to all 75 members of Silva’s existing retail network.

Retailers carrying the line include Blue Print, Ottawa; Homesource, Unionville; Attica Furnishings, Halifax; Modern Country Interiors, Saskatoon; Casa Decor, Regina; as well as all three Casalife locations in Toronto.

Lockhart also operates a permanent showroom – called J Studio – in the SOFA annex of the International Centre in Mississauga. Her company’s web site can be found at janelockhart.com.

The company will participate in the upcoming Toronto Furniture Show, which opens at the International Centre on May 26.

Related Story: Designing woman: Colour Jane confident

The drive to grow profit

17 January 2017
People, Products

Albert Marrache firmly believes retailers, particularly independent retailers, should stop trying to grow sales. Their focus should be to grow profits. His friend and partner, Dawn Rowe also believes this. And, for the past 25 years, they have built their business around this fairly simple but nonetheless unorthodox idea.

In many ways, this is a very different industry from the one they entered when they founded Phoenix AMD International in 1991. But their almost evangelical devotion to the idea that profits need to grow, not just or only top line sales, hasn’t changed at all.

Marrache admits getting into what’s now usually referred to as the added-value sector was a bit odd, especially for someone as entrepreneurial as himself. After all, it’s not a business with a high public profile – in fact; there are probably fewer than eight serious category players in all of North America. Phoenix AMD came into being because, by an act of fate, as Marrache was leaving his first and only job in the sector, his exit interview was conducted by the woman who was to become his best friend and partner, Dawn Rowe.

Dawn Rowe and Albert Marrache, the founders of Canadian added-value resource Phoenix AMD International, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016.Marrache launched his career in business as Quebec sales representative for Ultra Care Canada, which at the time was one of the power players in the added-value sector. He worked his way up to becoming vice president of sales for North America before deciding to leave the company. Meanwhile, after a stint in retail working for a now defunct competitor to Black’s and Japan Camera, Rowe joined the company in a human resources role and assigned responsibility for conducting Marrache’s exit interview.

“I remember saying to myself, ‘he’s the only guy in the company who is talking to our customers and he’s the one who is resigning’,” she recalls. “We became the best of friends right from that very moment.”

In a confluence of events, the owner of Ultra Care Canada indicated a desire to sell the company and retire. Marrache and Rowe immediately set upon a plan to do precisely that but before they could present their offer; the assets were sold to one of its U.S.-based competitors.

“We were passionate about the company; we were working with the owner and we cared about our fellow employees,” Marrache recalls. “We were literally devastated when he sold the assets. To this day, we really don’t know what happened or why.”

In hindsight, both also admit they were also more than annoyed by the news. It was the catalyst prompting them to create Phoenix AMD International, which came into being a few months later.

“At that moment, we wanted to take back our market from the U.S. company that bought Ultra Care,” Rowe says, adding, “We also wanted to build something together…to create something where people could grow using our vision, not someone else’s.”

In the beginning
Phoenix started out with a single product: fabric protection. For the first six years, it was the exclusive Canadian distributor of Scotchgard, the fabric protected manufactured by 3M in both Canada and the United States.

Like most newcomers, their more-established competitors didn’t exactly welcome them into the market. “They were loading up retailers with three cans (of protection materials) for the price of two,” Rowe recalls, noting even retailers who embraced their message were having a hard time breaking away to join them because of the more-than-advantageous pricing they were being offered.

Click to read our ‘Spotlight’ on Phoenix AMD in the current issue of the HGO Merchandiser.

Smartech cures the snoring user

17 January 2017
Mattresses

LAS VEGAS – Magniflex will introduce what it describes as an “innovative, integrated sleep system” that will record and analyse data about the user and the environment in which she sleeps at the upcoming Winter 2017 edition of the Las Vegas Market, which is scheduled to open for its usual five-day run here this coming Sunday morning.

Company officials say the system – which has several patents pending – is the only sleep technology available that monitors the user’s sleep, and that of her partner, in real time. Furthermore, the system is designed “provide valuable insight and recommendations that dramatically improve sleep over time.”

A control unit processes the collected data, which can be displayed either on a smartphone ‘app’ or on the Magni Smartech, as the system is called, web site. The Smartech sleep system combines an adjustable base, a mattress and a large number of sensors to record a wide variety of data on the user and her environment. The data points include: the time the user wakes up; the hours slept; the user’s average heart rate and its fluctuations throughout the night; the user’s average respiratory frequency; the brightness and noise level in the bedroom, and so on.

Set to launch at this weekend’s Las Vegas Market, the Magni Smartech sleep system from Magniflex will detect snoring and then adjust itself until it is gone.These sensors are built into the mattress and cannot be removed. The mattress will feel the same regardless of whether the technology is being used, Magniflex officials note.

The state-of-the-art mattress included in the Magni Smartech comes with a removable topper and comes with a variety of comfort inserts to accommodate those who prefer the feel of memory foam, gel foam or latex.  It is also Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified against the presence of harmful off-gassing or VOCs.

The system’s adjustable base has three different ‘soft’ wake-up settings, including an option that will slowly raise the head while simultaneously giving a massage as gradual LED light shines from the bottom. The lights can be adjusted to several different types of colorus and intensities to accommodate the customer’s individual preference.

It also includes pre-set configurations offering the following positions with the click of a button: Zero Gravity (optimizes muscular tension); Raised Leg Relief (improves blood circulation in the legs); and, Reading (best position for reading).

“The most unique feature of the Magni Smartech is its anti-snore function, which automatically recognizes when a sleeper is snoring, changes the bed position until the snoring is gone, then goes back to its original position once the snoring has stopped,” says Richard Landriault, sales director for Magniflex Canada. “This feature is revolutionary because it doesn’t require the snorer’s partner to wake up and manually activate the function. The feature is automatically engaged once the snoring has been recognized.”

The Magni Smartech system will be available only in queen and king sizes and will be ready to ship to retailers in Canada in April 2017 at suggested retail price points of $19,999 and $22,999 respectively.

Magni Smartech was created from our customer’s desire to monitor and improve their sleep using advanced technology,” Landriault says, “We believe the most advanced sleep experiences are born from forward thinking without ever forgetting about the past and this is a perfect example.”

Magniflex officials said they already have 500 units of the Magni Smartech on order with the goal of selling another 500 over the next year or so while noting technology will be vital to growth over the coming years.

“In the next three to four years, we expect to offer our technology as an option with all of our mattress lines so all of our customers can enjoy a significant increase in the quality of their sleep,” Landriault says.

During the Las Vegas Market – which will run from January 22 to 26 – Magniflex can be found in space C1532 at the World Market Center.


HGO's with interview with Pierre Richard about CFS 2017


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