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  • E-mail Directory - a listing of industry members and their e-mail addresses. You can add your information to our list. This section also has a dealer search function if you are looking for a casual furniture dealer in your area.
  • Consumer Information - get some great explanations about the current state of casual furniture and tips on buying the right set for you.
  • Retail Ideas - helpful hints on being a better source for your customers.
  • Industry Calendar - a list of upcoming industry events.
  • Product Portfolio - Check out the latest and greatest from some of the casual furniture industry's premier manufacturers.
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  • Industry News - catch up on the latest news below or read Casual Affairs, the On-line CFR newsletter.




If you have industry news or an announcement to make, please e-mail Holly Gordon at [email protected] and she will be sure to get the information onto the web site.

Go here for an archive of earlier articles.

Articles for January 2006

Patio Living Concepts adds national sales network
1/30/2006

Patio Living Concepts, a St. Albans, Mo.-based outdoor lighting and accessories manufacturer, has added a national sales rep force to service casual furniture retailers and selective pool/spa stores.

They include: Don Dilliplane serving Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida Panhandle; Vern Lachowitzer, Florida; Bob Dorsey, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois; Mike Anderson, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South and North Dakota; Arden Bradley, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky; Charlie Beamer, Maryland, Pennsylvania, northern Virginia and eastern West Virginia; Mike Hammer, western West Virginia and Ohio; Phil Fowler, New Jersey, Delaware, northeastern Pennsylvania, New York City and Staten Island, N.Y.; Laura Hutchinson-Sax, upper New York; Marty Berk, Connecticut, Rhode Island; Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine; Tim Woods, Virginia, North and South Carolina; Garner Associates with Gil Garner and Len McClendon serving Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi; Chichester Company with principal Kirk Wissbaum serving Washington, Idaho, Oregon and western Montana; Michael Shortridge in Colorado, eastern and southern Montana; Dick Smith, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Nevada and southern California; Sara Johansen, northern California, Utah, Idaho and Oregon.

Also, Jack McFadzen, Ontario, Canada and Jean-Marie Legault, Quebec, Prince Island, New Foundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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Peking Handicraft introduces grill collection
1/30/2006

Peking Handicraft, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based manufacturer and wholesaler specializing in home textiles, decorative accessories and giftware, introduced a grill collection of aprons, pot holders and mitts by designer Karen Rossi.

All are crafted of 100% cotton canvas and feature an innovative computerized embroidery. Suggested retail for the items range from $9 to $30.

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CRB Industries debuts outdoor collection
1/30/2006


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"We've had a lot of experience with pet products, so we know what it takes to survive in a harsh climate," said Eliot Abrahams, CRB managing director.

Each product is rated for more than 1,000 hours of UV protection.

"Our trimmings were already well suited for commercial use," Abrahams said. "Inherent properties include stain resistance, colorfast, easy to clean and quick drying. A little bit more work with the engineers and our products are now suitable for a new market."

CRB Industries is a market leader in trimmings for the home textile industry.Manufactured in Canada, the company may be contacted at [email protected]

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Cook-N-Dine expands distribution network
1/30/2006

Miami-based Cook-N-Dine USA appointed BKE Supply to handle distribution of its patented Cook-N-Dine products.

Operating out of Indio, Calif., BKE will oversee distribution in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico as well as the Western Texas panhandle. Cook-N-Dine USA is the independent importer of the German Cook-N-Dine product line for the Americas, Canada and the Caribbean.

"A product like Cook-N-Dine definitely has the potential to reinvent the high-end indoor/outdoor appliance market once again," said Bruce Cato, national sales coordinator for Cook-N-Dine and one of the early pioneers of Viking and Dynasty commercial-style products. "It is safe to say that BKE, Inc. will be joined by others to cover the remaining territories very shortly."

An innovative product line by CDS, Munich/Germany, Cook-N-Dine includes round and rectangular cook-tops as well as round freestanding tables in various sizes and heights. The electrically powered units are equipped with high-tech heating elements which cause the stainless steel surface to gently bow downward in the up to 430 F hot cooking center, thus containing all cooking juices. All Cook-N-Dine units have a warming area, where the heat remains at about half of the set cooking temperature. This allows the creation of complete meals. When switched off with the dial, the center reverts to be completely flat again. German engineered of heavy 8-10 gauge (3/16" -1/8" thick) best alloy 304 stainless steel, Cook-N-Dine is cold pressed and hand-welded for extreme durability. Cook-N-Dine is the safe flameless choice for upscale consumers who love the clean lines of European design for their new outdoor kitchen or balcony, and the perfect complement to any grill or barbecue. The all-stainless units withstand the elements and are a great addition to all dining spaces, indoors and out. Low maintenance, a Cook-N-Dine can quickly be cleaned with plain water while still warm. Starting at $1,600 retail for the portable unit, Cook-N-Dine is available through appliance, kitchen and bath retailers, as well as specialty stores and casual furniture dealers. For more information or details, visit http://www.Cook-N-Dine-USA.com and request the info-kit CD-ROM with product videos and POP sales material. Or contact Cook-N-Dine USA in Miami via phone at 305-865-0141.

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Pellet Hearth System Reference Manual updated for 2006
1/23/2006

The Pellet Hearth Systems Reference Manual has been updated for 2006, and is available from the HPB Education Foundation. It is the latest systems manual to be revised to incorporate current information and technical product improvements.

In 2005, the Gas and Wood-burning Hearth Systems reference manuals were updated. All three manuals are revised periodically in compliance with nationally recognized procedures relevant to technical certifications. The exams leading to National Fireplace Institute certified status and for renewal of the NFI certification are based upon the new manual content. Manuals in all three fuels are available now toward taking exams at the 2006 HPBExpo at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 9-11. Expo Education courses begin the day before, March 8.

"It's important that industry professionals study the new reference manual edition as they come up on the need to renew their certifications by taking the new exam," said Sue Kalish, NFI Executive Director.

In the Pellet Hearth Systems manual, some of the changes include footnotes that now reference all code information in the text - including references to the 2003 edition of both NFPA 211 and the International Residential Code. Specific section references allow users to find code references for further information or to show a customer or building official. Clarification of important information about floor protection requirements is covered in detail. There is new and revised information on the latest technology, including microprocessor controls and venting products. A section on interpreting code regulations and manufacturers' instructions offers tips and examples to help navigate these important areas.

To renew NFI certification in Gas, Pellet, or Woodburning, attendees to the EXPO can purchase the study manuals, complete with new codes and technical advances, and the new exam for $269. Those new to NFI certification can purchase the study manual and exam for $349. Both those who are renewing NFI certification or are new to NFI will need to take the 6-hour review course.

In addition to NFI review courses and exams at the HPBEXPO, educational opportunities abound for attendees to gather important knowledge and tips leading to profitable business decisions via the dozens of other management and operations seminars available to show attendees who purchase an Education Passport for $69.

Education hours are Wednesday (the day prior to the show opening), March 8, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, March 9, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, March 10, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, March 11, 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

For a complete schedule of education and certification test offerings, visit www.hpbexpo.com where registration is available on line, or call (703) 524-8030.

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ITMA announces schedule for educational tour
1/23/2006

The International Textile Market Association will host its 7th annual "Fabric: From Concept to Consumer" educational tour Jan. 25-27 in High Point, N.C.

The tour, which draws students and educators from colleges and universities throughout the country, will host approximately 25 guests for the three-day event. ITMA Member companies and industry supporters who will participate include Valdese Weavers; Valdese, N.C., Tietex Interiors, High Point, N.C.; Pearson, High Point, N.C.; Wesley Mancini Ltd., Charlotte, N.C. and others.

One of the tour highlights is a mixer with industry textile designers where students can ask questions and show off their portfolios. The mixer will be held Thursday, Jan. 26, at the String Splinter Club starting at 5:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending should contact the ITMA Office. Founded in 1990, the ITMA is a non-profit trade association, consisting of mills, converters, tanneries and trimming manufacturers that supply decorative coverings for the home furnishings industry. Its main objective is to stimulate growth and development within the home furnishings industry. The ITMA is the producer of Showtime, the largest textile market in the United States.

For more information, call 336-885-6842 or visit www.itma-showtime.com.

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GAME debuts Solar Dolphin pool light
1/23/2006

Great American Merchandise Events is introducing solar-powered Dolphin lights to add whimsy to pools, spas or other backyard settings.

Charged by the sun, and powered by a rechargeable battery, the Solar Dolphin's neon light automatically turns on at dusk, providing a soft night light until dawn. The Solar-Powered Dolphin is waterproof, requires no wiring, measures 8"w x 7"h x 10.5"d and ships UPS.

"Everyone loves dolphins -- combine that with our solar feature and this loveable character will put a great glow on any pool or spa," said Eric Schechter, president of GAME. "You can also add a little mood lighting by making the Solar Dolphin a patio table centerpiece, or a graceful accent to flowerbed.

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Alfresco Home expands candle collection
1/23/2006

To complement its Holiday Decor Collection, Alfresco Home is introducing more than 90 hand-made Italian design candles. Individually wrapped candles as well as 10 new boxed sets with phenomenal price points will be available for retailers. According to Joseph Cilio, president of Alfresco Home, the boxed sets are perfect for customers looking for corporate, holiday, house warming or even shower gifts.

Dominating the collection are brilliant lacquer and metallic colors of gold, blue, burgundy and green and are available in a variety of sizes including cone, pillar, ball or teardrop. New to the metallic series is a black lacquer with etched holly designs in either pillar or ball shape.

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Revived Hotel Valley Ho launches new look in outdoor furniture
1/23/2006

The late December re-opening of Scottsdale, Ariz.'s oldest and now hippest hotel also marked the poolside debut of CMS Commercial Furniture's latest lines of fully upholstered outdoor furniture.

The pool at the renovated vintage hotel promises to be a focal point for Scottsdale's daytime and evening social life. Stylish seating by CMS designer Jeannie Flynn and Scottsdale designer Mario Lopez creates an outdoor living space that will keep the party lounging comfortably all day.

Working with Cole Martinez Curtis, the California design firm that shaped the modern retro design of Hotel Valley Ho, CMS and Mario Lopez Design created furnishings that reflect the hotel's updated mid-century mood. CMS Rikki chairs and Mario Lopez Scottsdale chaises and ottomans create inviting and intimate conversation areas around the pool and the outdoor bar. Scottsdale sofas and the new OH ottomans tempt guests to stretch out and relax in the more private and cozy cabanas.

Moving beyond straps and slings, CMS brings a new look to outdoor furniture. The combination of durable aluminum frames and the next generation of designer outdoor fabrics makes possible elegant, weather-resistant furniture that truly moves living space outdoors.

The new CMS lines will be shown April 27-29 at the Las Vegas Hospitality Design Show, where in 2005 the Neo Contour chaise took its place with the Cabane de Soleil as one of CMS Furniture's award-winning designs.

For more information on CMS Commercial Furniture and Mario Lopez Design, contact Jeannie Flynn at 480-206-6634.

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Registration strong for Spoga/Gafa
1/19/2006

Trade show sponsor Koelnmesse reported a large number of registrations received to date for Spoga+Gafa, set for Sept. 3-5, 2006. The Cologne, Germany, venue offers a range of products for the outdoor living and gardening lifestyle.

Spoga+Gafa 2006 is expected to attract more than 2,500 suppliers, who will present innovative products and services at the newly renovated Cologne exhibition centre.

With this broad range of top-quality products, Spoga+Gafa once again proves that it is the worlds leading fair for the garden and leisure market, Koelnmesse Executive Vice President Oliver P. Kuhrt said. It promises to provide the industry and trade with optimal conditions for conducting good business and establishing contacts in 2006."

Design, functionality and quality determine the success of garden furniture in the Outdoor Living product sector, which includes companies such as Gloster, Hartman, Kettler, ScanCom, Fischer M¶bel, Weishupl, Sieger and Acamp.

The Indoor/Outdoor Ambience product sectors Water Outdoor Lighting segment will include Gardena, Oase, Ubbink and Claber.

Weber-Stephen, Camping Gaz and Landmann-Peiga are just some of the companies that will present their innovations in the Grill Barbecues segment of the Outdoor Activities product sector.

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2006 National Hardware Show hosts media preview
1/19/2006

The 61st annual National Hardware Show is preparing for a full house at its Las Vegas event May 9-11, where exhibitors will display the latest home improvement products and solutions.

The shows creators offered a sneak peak at a few of the most exciting new products for more than 50 top consumer media in a home-themed Preview Party. The event was held in the prestigious Penthouse apartment at the Hudson Hotel in New York City, a location that provided the perfect setting to showcase products in a real-life setting. Attendees not only got to see and feel the products up close but were able to put them to use in the Penthouses kitchen, bedroom, bathrooms, living room, dining room and patio terrace. We were thrilled with the terrific response from manufacturers and media alike, said Beth Blake, PR director, National Hardware Show. The journalists were really excited with all the unique new items on display, and these were just the tip of the iceberg as to what will be seen at the National Hardware Show in May. Eighteen manufacturers presented some of the most revolutionary new products to be seen in 2006. These manufacturers represented the depth and breadth of product categories spanning all home improvement and enhancement that will be exhibited at the National Hardware Show. Among the outdoor living products were furniture and wall d©cor from Syroco and a mosquito trap from Intermatic. The sophisticated, home-like setting was the perfect venue for the more than 50 top consumer and trade journalists to visualize the new products in an environment conducive to showing them. In addition, demos featuring the latest in wood staining technology took place on the terrace and piles of snow came in handy to preview a brand new hand-held snow plow. Guests enjoyed wine and hors doeuvres while gazing at BluWorlds eight-foot indoor/outdoor waterfalls or trying on IronClads highest-performing work gloves. We were thrilled to be able to provide this opportunity for manufacturers to preview their new products for consumer press to stimulate sales in the new year, Blake said. And, we are expecting a record turn-out of attendees and media at the upcoming show in May, when both press and home retailers will be flocking to see over 3,500 exhibitors under one roof. Show registration and hotel reservations are currently open for media and attendees. To book space at the 2006 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, visit www.nationalhardwareshow.com.

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GAME honors top rep groups
1/19/2006

Arizona-based Great American Merchandise Events recognized its top achiever manufacturers rep groups at its recent sales meeting at the International Pool Spa Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Warm Water Sales and Savage Sales were each awarded for their outstanding efforts this past season. Fred Blanchard and Jim Smith of Warm Water Sales (Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions) were recognized as top performers and received The No. 1 Performance Award from GAME.

David and Larry Savage of Savage Sales, a Florida-based rep group covering all of Florida, received two top awards. They received the Runner-up Sales Performance Award. GAME also praised Savages Sales unprecedented efforts in increasing Games AquaQuik Spa Vac sales with a trip for two to a NASCAR race in Phoenix.

For more information about GAME products, call 602-957-3825, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.game-group.com.

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Fireplace Fronts of Rhode Island joins National Fireplace Institute Advocate Program
1/19/2006

Fireplace Fronts of Warwick, R.I., has joined hearth product manufacturers in support of the National Fireplace Institute program. The NFI program represents the industrys shared commitment in promoting excellence in the installation and service of hearth products and systems. Earning an NFI certification means a hearth professional has met the highest standards recognized in the industry.

The overwhelming response from hearth profession manufacturers to become part of the NFI Advocate program has given us incredible momentum toward higher installation and service standards for our industry, said Sue Kalish, NFI executive director. The growing list of advocate companies continues to raise the bar of excellence in hearth product installation and service by partnering with the industrys recognized credential program, National Fireplace Institute Certification.

NFI review courses and exams are offered across the United States through HPBA affiliate events, by hearth manufacturers, and chimney sweep organizations. Those wishing to be certified or to renew certification may do so at the annual HPBEXPO, at events sponsored by NFI Advocate companies, at HPBA affiliate events and at testing sites located at more than 700 community airports in the United States.

To learn more about NFI credentials or to apply to be an Advocate company, call (703) 524-8030.

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EZ-Dri Outdoor Cushioning foam meets California fire-prevention standards
1/19/2006

Moonachie, N.J.-based Crest Foam Industries has introduced a version of EZ-Dri reticulated polyurethane foam outdoor cushioning material that meets California Bulletin 117 standards for fire retardancy.

The states standards are the nations most stringent for use of outdoor foam materials indoors, including in screened-in areas. CAL 117 approval permits use of these foam materials indoors.

EZ-Dri polyether-polyurethane reticulated foam outdoor cushioning materials are constructed with large, open pores for maximum water drainage and air circulation, permitting use quickly after being saturated. This foam provides long-lasting wear and comfort combined with extremely fast drying properties, thus making EZ-Dri cushions ideal for outdoor casual furniture applications in homes, hotels/resorts and other commercial facilities. New fire retardant additives in the foam open up a variety of new applications.

The ability to develop outdoor cushioning foam that meets CAL 117 was a long and arduous process, Crest Foam Chief Chemist Walter Makay said. One of the design problems concerned the fact that the material required an open pore size so that water would flow through it to permit cushions to drain quickly for virtually immediate use.

Because of its open pore construction, there is a significant opportunity for high oxygen content to feed a fire, so conventional fire retardants did not solve the problem. Makay said the key was the development of a non-halogenated fire retardant that not only incorporated well, but also substantially retarded foam fire.

There are many reasons foam cushions for outdoor casual furniture may be brought indoors, including severe weather, high winds or protection of the fabric in sunny conditions to prevent fading when not in use.

EZ-Dri offers casual furniture manufacturers a premium cushioning option with long-lasting, mold/mildew-proof cushions, which may be used immediately after washing or rain. They are available in a variety of thicknesses and firmnesses. To further enhance flexibility, the foam may be easily fabricated into virtually any shape.

For additional information, contact Crest Foam Industries Incorporated at 201-807-0809, via its Web site at www.crestfoam.com or e-mail [email protected]

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