Gourmet's Big Apple Debut

By Allison Zisko

The move of the Gourmet Housewares Show to its new home and time slot in New York has pleased several housewares vendors, some of whom believe its co-location with the New York International Gift Fair will deliver two-for-the-price-of-one benefits.

The Gourmet Housewares Show has been repositioned to run alongside the Gift Fair, which takes place Aug. 14-18 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Gourmet Show previously took place in May in various cities across the country, and was on hiatus last year.

Housewares exhibitors have been slotted between the Accent on Design and Tabletop divisions of the Gift Fair. "This will form a key concentration of kitchenware resources for retailers, and will create unparalleled cross-selling opportunities for gourmet suppliers," said Dorothy Belshaw, director of the Gift Fair and senior vice president at GLM, which owns and runs the Fair.

The Gourmet Housewares section is a combination of old timers and newcomers, some of whom have increased their booth space, according to Belshaw. "I think it will be much more focused and stronger presentation in this category," she said. "We wanted gourmet people to be exposed to the gift and high-end trade."

Vendors surveyed by HFN were pleased with the arrangement. Joseph Joseph, for example, has participated in the Gift Fair in past years, but never at the Gourmet Show, though it has toyed with doing both, said company co-founder and managing director Richard Joseph. The concurrence of the two shows has him "over the moon," because his company is firmly rooted in gourmet specialty stores as well as gift and museum shops, both of which are well-represented in New York, he said. Combining the Gourmet Show with the Gift Fair "gives buyers a lot more to see," he added, and essentially provides two shows in one.

Joseph Joseph will take advantage of this double deal, as well as its new floor position at the front of the hall, to unveil its new category of utility items such as dish drainers, sink caddies and other related accessories, all "within the Joseph Joseph style of product," as well as a new No Spill Mill (an electric grinder) and extensions to its Elevate line of hygienic kitchen utensils whose heads rest above the countertop when set down.

The co-location of the shows also benefits Victorinox, which has exhibited at the Gift Fair before but will now bring its cutlery assortment into the mix. "It really works well for us, because in addition to cutlery, we have a lot of gift items," said Becky Spalthoff, senior manager of trade marketing. "We can have the best of both worlds."

New York alone is a huge draw, vendors said. "For us, the New York show is a way for us to access the local, boutique-y stores in New York. We also see a few major accounts," said Will Symonds, president of DKB Household. "For us, it's an order-writing show...a good order-writing show."

DKB, whose brands include Zyliss and Cole & Mason, is a Gift Fair exhibitor that used to participate in the Gourmet Show, but dropped out many years ago. Moving across a few aisles into a gourmet position, the company is optimistic about its additional prospects at the show this year. "We're hoping it will increase traffic. That's something we'd obviously benefit from," Symonds said. DKB is relaunching Cole & Mason mills that feature a new, better-performing grinding mechanism that slices instead of crushing or grinding pepper and other spices. New key items in its Zyliss brand include an onion chopper, which has twin stainless steel blades; acid-etched hand-held graters in a range of colors; and a new mandoline with a blade guard.

GLM believes the new August timeframe for the Gourmet Housewares Show will benefit both vendors and retailers. "In short, the mid-August marketing timing fills a void in the housewares industry calendar and serves as a complement to existing first- and second-quarter events," Belshaw said. "It offers exhibitors an opportunity for third- and fourth-quarter new-product introductions, and provides both buyers and exhibitors with a new opportunity for pre-holiday fill-in orders and reorders."

The August timing benefits the specialty retailers who plan closer to the seasons and may not be ready in May to properly launch a Christmas collection, some vendors said.

Manufacturers that previewed or launched product in the spring said they now have those items in stock and ready to go.  This maintains a sense of excitement, according to Joseph. "It's a much more efficient show," he said. "We can meet people and they can order with the confidence they will get product in a month [as opposed to three months]."

"All the stars aligned," said Victorinox's Spalthoff, when asked about the timing of the show. Victorinox has rebranded its Fibrox cutlery line Swiss Classic. The line, popular among butchers and others in the commercial world, has been tweaked to better appeal to the home chef, with a smaller handle and more contemporary styling. The paring and utility knives in the line have also gotten a shot of color--orange, pink, green and yellow.  "We originally did a pre-launch at [the International Home & Housewares Show]. Now that it's available and we're at Gourmet, being able to ship now is perfect," Spalthoff said.

Moving the show to August gives vendors the opportunity to develop more new product, according to Michael Jeansson, vice president of sales for NGL Associates, which distributes the Sowden, Cult Design, Serene House, Pure Black and Design House Stockholm brands. "[May] was too tight with the Housewares Show," he said.

One of Sowden's product highlights is SoftBrew, a white porcelain coffee pot with a back-to-basic method of brewing coffee--coffee beans or grounds are placed in a laser-etched, stainless-steel microfilter that extracts only the oils from the beans, creating, according to Sowden, a full-bodied taste and controlled sediment.

HFN Staff | News & Commentary

HFN provides detailed information on the key home classifications: Housewares, Tabletop, Floor Covering & Rugs, Furniture, Home Textiles, Lighting, Home Decor, Mattresses & Bedding, Gifts, Major Appliances and Consumer Electronics as well as Business, Finance and Retail.


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