Monday, August 4, 2008

And then there was Atlanta

"Going to market" is such an exciting phrase - it just fills your mind with pictures of all kinds of exciting adventure. In reality, it is just another name for "work"! Truth be told, it is exciting, fun, and fast-paced - as in Mardi Gras, carnival time, and the circus. After the trip to Dallas it was time to repack the suitcase and head to Atlanta. This time it was Delta Airlines and not the new car that provided the transportation.
It is always fun to be at Americasmart in Atlanta. Right across the street from the hotel sits an entire world of innovation, experimentation, creativity, and madness. Walking the halls is the usual agenda for the first day as that gives me the opportunity to get the feel of what are the "newer than new" items that everyone will want to have on their store shelves when the Fall season rolls in. While almost everything that I can see in Dallas is also here in Atlanta, this market has lots more going on as well. There are many vendors who do not "show" in Dallas so I have the chance to find some new resources that just might not be all over town at home. And it is fun to see the folks in the showrooms and catch up on what has been going on since the last visit.
This time around the halls were a bit less crowded, well actually they were a LOT less crowded. Of course that makes seeing things a lot easier, but it is a telling indicator for business in the coming months and perhaps into the coming year. If the merchants aren't there buying the new merchandise, it won't be on the shelves. Perhaps the reason it won't be on the shelves is because the retailers have already seen a slowdown in customer purchases. And of course, the customers are having to endure the same things the stores are -- higher costs of energy, slowdown in employment, the threat of rising taxes, grocery prices going through the roof, and around here the hot weather keeps us all inside as much as we can manage it!
There are always bright spots in any situation, and in Atlanta it was no different! Almost every showroom I entered had something new to show us and some of the things were obviously going to be big hits for the holidays. It is sometimes hard to think Holidays when it is in the high 90's outside and the sounds of Jingle Bells seem a bit out of place.
All in all, it was a good trip, and I can't wait for the UPS truck to start delivering. I will have lots to show you in the coming months -

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