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IKEA going to London

13 October 2017
Furniture, Retail

LONDON, Ontario – IKEA Canada will open its 15th full-size store and the third since it announced its aggressive expansion campaign in late 2015 here this southwestern Ontario city of 388,000. It is expected to open in the fall of 2019.

The company – a subsidiary of the global home furnishings giant headquartered in the Netherlands – said in a statement the new 270,000 square foot facility will be built as part of a new retail and commercial complex at the intersection of Highway 401 and Wellington Road in the south end of the city. It will feature a showroom, market hall, a restaurant, the company’s SMALAND children’s play facility and will offer its complete range of services such as home delivery, assembly, planning and exchanges.

An artist’s concept of the new IKEA Canada store set to open in London, Ontario in the fall of 2019. It will be the company’s 15th full-size store and part of its aggressive decade-long expansion project.“We know our loyal customers in the London area and beyond have been passionate supporters of the IKEA brand,” IKEA Canada president Marsha Smith said. “We look forward to welcoming many more customers to the new IKEA store when it opens in fall 2019.”

IKEA opened the first full-size store in the expansion drive two weeks ago – a 330,000 square foot outlet in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is currently building a 340,000 square foot store in Quebec City that is scheduled be online next summer.

A few months after kicking off the expansion drive, IKEA opened a ‘pick-up and order point’ in London. Customers who order product online or at a different IKEA store can pick-up their purchases in these mini-stores. They are also able to buy services to support their purchases, sit at a computer station to browse the range online and have to 99 of IKEA’s most popular products available for immediate takeaway – these displays have a heavy emphasis on furniture.

IKEA believes the new store will have a positive contribution to the London-area economy. In addition to construction jobs, the store will be staffed by between 100 and 150 new IKEA co-workers, in addition to those working in the city’s existing pick-up and order point.

“This is so exciting and much anticipated for many, many Londoners. I am pleased to say a full-size IKEA store will open in London in 2019,” Matt Brown, mayor of the City of London said. “This will create jobs, growth and a regional draw to our city. London is pleased to have a community-minded partner like IKEA set up shop here.”

Like its counterparts in Halifax and Quebec City, IKEA London will be LEED certified. The building will have a rooftop solar photovoltaic installation and a waste management equipment to maximise material recycling and diversion from landfill. Every single light source throughout the property will use LED lighting.

“While the store will operate in a sustainable manner, it will also provide inspiration and solutions that will enable customers to live a more sustainable and healthier life at home,” Smith said. “For example, visitors will find solutions that will help them reduce and sort waste, save water and energy and encourage healthier living.”

She also noted each new store is designed to present local, inspirational home solutions customers can relate to and implement in an affordable way. In order to best represent London and surrounding area customers in the new store, home visits will be conducted during the planning and design process. These will allow IKEA to interview people in their homes to get an understanding of their needs, dreams and frustrations in and around the home. “It is IKEA’s intention with this research not to mirror what people already have in their homes, but to help people live a better everyday life at home,” Smith said.

The expansion campaign will see IKEA Canada double its store count from 12 in 2015 to 24 a decade later while also doubling its sales to an estimated $3.8 billion in 2015.

Related Story: IKEA planning full size store opening for Quebec City in 2018
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IKEA to open Vancouver D.C.

LVM registration desk opens

13 October 2017

LAS VEGAS – The registration desk for the 2018 winter edition of the semi-annual Las Vegas Market (LVM) has opened for retail buyers, interior designers and other industry professionals, its organisers have announced. Held at the World Market Center here, the event is scheduled to run for five days beginning on January 28, 2018.

“Las Vegas Market truly allows buyers to ‘Discover the Extraordinary’, with more than 4,000 resources presented on one easy-to-shop campus with world-class amenities,” Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers (IMC), said in a statement.  “Las Vegas Market is the most comprehensive gift, furniture and home décor market in the Western U.S., and its breadth and depth will expand again this winter with the opening of a third Pavilion and the first-ever co-location with Artexpo Contemporary Las Vegas.”

Winter 2018 Market highlights include continued expansion of gift, home décor and furniture resources in both permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits. Within home décor, there will be a continued focus on better goods, as well as ongoing development of casual and outdoor offerings in the furniture category. Additionally, the top 14 bedding manufacturers in the United States will exhibit at the market.

LVM’s temporary exhibits continue to expand with the opening of a new 15,000-square-foot pavilion. In total, the winter market will present 500-plus temporary gift and home décor exhibitors in three pavilions – occupying 165,000 square feet of exhibit space – and another 100-plus temporary home furnishings exhibitors on the second floor of building ‘B’ and floor 13 of building ‘C’.

The Pavilions will also feature the first semi-annual Artexpo Contemporary Las Vegas, featuring some 100 suppliers of fine art, sculpture, wall art, prints, and one-of-a-kind creations – a synergistic category expansion organisers believe will appeal to the market’s growing base of interior designers, architects, hospitality executives, and upscale retailers.

In addition to product sourcing, the LVM will offer a variety of special events and industry networking opportunities. Its signature First Look trend display and seminar will offer directional trend insights, and a full slate of educational sessions will address colour trends, retailing strategies and more. The event also hosts a full slate of buyer amenities such as fully-equipped Internet lounges, a dedicated international lounge, grab-and-go breakfasts, mother’s lounges and more.

In advance of the event, its web site – – offers several online tools to make market preparation easier and more efficient. The #LVMKT app also makes at-market navigation easier and provides on-the-go access to information and schedules.

Las Vegas Market offers many hotel options for market-goers, from budget-friendly to luxury as well as gaming or non-gaming. The 27 hotel options feature rates ranging from $31 to $219 per night, including 12 hotels with rates of $100 or less per night. For details visit

The dates for the winter 2018 edition of the Las Vegas Market are January 28 through February 1. The permanent showrooms will be open from 8am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and close at 4pm on Thursday.

The market’s web site can be found at

Wiltshire elected CHFA chair

10 October 2017
Community, Furniture, People

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – The board of directors of the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA) has elected industry veteran Mark Wiltshire as its new chairman. He succeeds Laine Reynolds, who stepped down at the association’s recent annual general meeting after serving in the post for a record-setting 12 years.

Wiltshire is currently vice president of sales for Palliser Furniture, and is responsible for both upholstery and case goods in Canada, the United States and worldwide. Prior to joining Palliser in November 2015, he held senior executive positions with Italian upholstery specialist Natuzzi; the now defunct Furniture Brands International, leading its Canadian operations; upholstery specialist La-Z-Boy, where he was charged with running its North American retail operations; and, with what is now called Cantrex Nationwide, the non-member owned buying group based in Montreal.

In announcing his election, the CHFA noted he “has an extensive background in the furniture industry both from a manufacturing/wholesale perspective as well as significant retail experience.”

Mark WiltshireReacting to his selection, Wiltshire said, “Being in the furniture industry my entire career, I am very honoured to be selected chair of the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance. Having worked for some of the biggest brands in the industry; domestically, in the U.S.A. and abroad I believe provides me with a keen perspective of the opportunities and challenges before us as an industry here in Canada.

“I look forward to working closely with my friends at the QFMA (Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association) on matters that affect us all from a national perspective and work towards strengthening our industry overall,” he added.

In addition to Wiltshire, the industry association elected 11 others to its board for 2017 and 2018.

Two other manufacturers from western Canada were named: Terry Clark, president of Acme Chrome Furniture, the casual dining specialist based in Winnipeg; and, Jason Harris, vice president of sales for Stylus Sofas, the stationary upholstery maker based in Vancouver. Wiltshire also sits on the board as a delegate from western Canada.

Four retailers were also named: Steve Braniff, general manager of Dufresne Retail Solutions Group; John Power, general manager of sales and strategic development for Mega Group; Pat Kelly, vice president of furniture for Cantrex Nationwide; and, Dennis Novosel, chairman of destination retailer Stoney Creek Furniture.

Five manufacturers from eastern Canada were selected including: Dino Colalillo, president of the Toronto-based upholstery maker Edgewood Furniture; Mike Dunlop, national sales manager for bedding specialist Serta Canada; Mike James, president of Owen & Company, the Toronto-based Canadian licensee for Kingsdown bedding brand; Laine Reynolds, vice president of sales for Superstyle Furniture; and, Bill Zimmerman, vice president of solid wood case goods producer Durham Furniture.

The CHFA was founded in 1890 as the Ontario Furniture Manufacturers Association. Headquartered in the International Centre here, it is a non-profit organisation serving furniture and mattress manufacturers, distributors, retailers, buying groups and suppliers in the Canadian home furnishings industry.

Fry boutique builds own furniture

10 October 2017
Furniture, Retail

CHATHAM, Ontario – It’s not rare to see a manufacturing warehouse or a furniture boutique, but it’s a little more special to see a decidedly cozy two-in-one operation that’s run by a dedicated and creative couple (and one that often brings their one-year-old daughter to work, no less).

John and Rose Fry, the founders of JM Fry Furniture Design in Chatham, Ontario – not far from London – introduced their company, and John’s unique upholstery and design work, to the furniture world in 2013 (although they hosted their official grand opening event this past May).

Rose and Jim Fry, seen here with daughter Zoey, standing in their new 600 square foot furniture boutique in downtown Chatham, Ontario. Their boutique, complete with a cozy 600 square foot showroom, showcases a range of upholstered pieces created by John Fry, a Canadian-born upholsterer and furniture designer who spent much of his life in Australia (and still has the accent to prove it). The store, in which they both manufacture and sell, fills a niche in an industry that’s dominated by imports. It’s not well known but for the past several years, Canada has imported more upholstery than it manufactured domestically.

“We haven’t found any upholstery types like us, although there are a lot of companies that make wood,” says Rose Fry, adding their boutique-sized company works with a metalworker in Sarnia and a nearby woodworker to round out its offerings.

John, who is an upholsterer by trade, has been in the industry for some time. He co-founded LeftCoast Designs in 2003 after returning home from Australia and moving to Vancouver in 2001. Six years later, he founded ILK Furniture Designs.

“My background is an upholsterer by trade and I worked in various companies. I loved the design aspect rather than reupholstering and I loved the idea of designing my own furniture,” he says. “Rose’s background is in architecture. We started the business out of our home, but I wanted to get into design and we built a few pieces and stored them in the living room and then we looked into getting a store and here we are.”

The couple met in Vancouver when John was working and Rose was studying architecture. Eventually, Rose – who is originally from Ontario – went back to her home province to finish her degree at the University of Waterloo.

“Long story short, I ended up following her out here,” John says.

The couple moved to Chatham in 2011 and kicked off their home business.

The Element is John Fry’s latest design. It incorporates a solid wood support, a metal base and leather upholstered cushions. “We’ve been running the store for a year but the business for four years. We wanted to be able to showcase John’s designs,” says Rose, adding the initial response to their unique operation has been overwhelmingly encouraging.

“It’s been fantastic,” John adds. “It was slow to begin with, but the response from people who came into the store was really positive. It takes a little bit of time for people to buy. They’ll have a chair at home that they want reupholstered and they keep our stuff in mind and come back. Word gets out. People come in saying they’ve heard about us.”

Their product selection is vast and varied. John – who is currently the chief designer but hopes to pass more design work onto Rose going forward – creates modular, contemporary, mixed-material sectionals that are ideal for a stylish living room or chic condo, all while breathing new life into comfortable, cozy pieces that just need the fabric equivalent of a ‘fresh coat of paint’. As for what pieces they fix and create, the couple says they do everything from sofas, chairs and sectionals to tables although wood pieces are typically outsourced as they don’t yet have space for a full wood shop.

They also re-upholster and design benches, ottomans and headboards.

Initially, the couple’s business was primarily driven by customers wanting their existing pieces re-upholstered. Now, they’ve achieved some balance between rejuvenating older pieces and selling their own original designs.

“Getting the word out took some time,” says Rose. “When we first opened the store, people didn’t know we were here. Now word of mouth is spreading. It’s been a big part of our business all along, especially in Chatham.”

Although news about the company has spread well through word of mouth, the business is active on social media – something most companies, especially newer ones are actively embracing at a time when people are more likely to consult Pinterest for ideas rather than magazines.

“We have web site and use Facebook and Instagram and that starts getting word around,” Rose remarks. “Once word gets out, people check out social media. It gives a more visual front for us. We’re putting more of our products online.”

While customers are free to browse the company’s offerings online, they have to visit the store to purchase them.

“Online is more browsing, we haven’t gotten to the point of selling online,” says John. “We have discussed it, but we do a lot of custom work. We have so many fabrics and leg styles and lots of options. We might eventually have staples you can purchase online, but we’ll always urge people to contact us for something more custom.”

Click here to read the rest of Ashley’s profile of John and Rose Fry and their new furniture boutique in the Fall edition of the HGO Merchandiser

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