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Memorable market

There was a sense that something fresh was on the horizon during the past week’s Las Vegas Market at World Market Center Las Vegas.

It could have been the bright green color prevalent in the many displays of home furnishings and accessories, the multitude of new vendors showcasing their wares or the enthusiasm from people walking the hallways of the three buildings downtown.

“Optimism is incredible, buyers are buying and the buildings are full. It’s out of the park,” said Robert Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers, at the end of the first day of the week long event.

Maricich said he was thrilled by the optimism he witnessed throughout opening day, in particular, the tens of thousands of new products, high attendance numbers and widespread order writing. He said that this is the best market he’s seen since he began working at the center in 2008, adding that World Market Center saw 190 building permits to construct or improve showrooms in time for the winter market.

“There is huge energy here,” said Monica Pedersen, a designer and host of several HGTV programs. “People are hopeful and excited. The product is reflecting that. There is something for everyone.”

Pedersen joined Julie Smith Vincenti, a home products/trends editor, to present First Look, an introduction to some of the exhibitors’ highlights and trends that will be seen soon on retailers’ floors.

Among the trends they spotted was the increased use of Emerald, Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year. The color, following the improvements being made in the economy, represents prosperity, luxury and a renewed clarity, Smith Vincenti said.

“Emerald goes great with everything,” Pedersen added.

During the market, more than 1,800 companies exhibited their products across 5 million square feet. There were more than 200 exhibiting for the first time, including 27 new permanent furniture companies and five designer brands in the Las Vegas Design Center.

According to World Market Center, registration and attendance climbed from last winter’s event, which was at its highest in three years. By the end of the first day, buyer attendance was up 7 percent while designer attendance rose more than 4 percent versus last year. The market doesn’t release exact attendance numbers.

Phil Haney, president and CEO with Lexington Home Brands, which debuted an expanded showroom on the fifth floor of Building B, said “business is besting last year’s numbers. Market has been fantastic. … Our measured count is up about 40 percent over a year ago.”

Before doors even opened Monday morning, attendees were already abuzz from the previous night’s event, the WOW Awards. Presented by WithIt (Women’s Leadership Development Network), the event honored those who have made an impact in the growth and future of the home and furnishings industries. Honorees included Kathy Ireland of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, Legacy Award; Peggy Traub of Adesso Inc., Founders Award; Kim Knopf of Innovative Mattress Solutions, Leadership Award; Cheminne Taylor-Smith of High Point Market Authority, Education Award; Ron Wright, Greg Wright and Don Wright of Wright Global Graphic Solutions, Mentoring Award; and Kiersten Hathcock of Mod Mom Furniture, Future Leader Award.

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