Robert Maricich, CEO of IMC, acknowledges a focus on the lighting category and also points to survey results that conclude buyers want fewer markets and more category-comprehensive, convenient shows that address their shopping and sourcing needs.
While merging East (AmericasMart, organizer of the Atlanta Market) and West (Las Vegas Market) with High Point (North Carolina), ADAC (held in Atlanta), and LIGHTFAIR (dual roles of one-third ownership with show management leadership) may have incurred complicated corporate decisions yet to be resolved, one of the largest single categories expected to benefit is Lighting.
Overseeing this extraordinary collaboration is furniture industry veteran Robert J. Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers (IMC). In talking with enLIGHTenment Magazine on this massive merger three days after its successful summer Las Vegas Market had ended, Maricich commented, “We’re in the very early stages of integrating our team and systems. It’s premature to speculate on how our several markets and shows will work together,” adding, “but there’s no question portable and lighting fixtures are very important factors in all of them.”
“Our audience and market share have expanded significantly since the first effort, as we have added strategic partnerships with complementary shows such as Design & Construction Week (D&CW), Surfaces West, and ASD to our evolving Market/Week umbrella concept.”
As with all types of mergers of this unique magnitude and geographic diversity, “Our Number One priority remains consistent throughout in addressing our customers’ needs, objectives, and goals,” Maricich stated, noting that gathering customer feedback in Atlanta, High Point, Las Vegas, as well as the recent LIGHTFAIR in Chicago are top priorities in determining how IMC creates optimum value for temporary and permanent exhibitors — and ultimately buyers.
Where illumination in all forms and uses is concerned, Maricich cited lighting as a “growth category for us in the Las Vegas, High Point, and Atlanta Markets with 64 lighting resources already in Las Vegas, nearly 100 lighting resources in High Point, and 166 lighting companies in Atlanta.” Maricich feels these numbers reflect lighting manufacturers’ focus today on identifying new channels and geographic distribution, “so we are definitely exploring numerous ways to implement servicing these expanded category needs.”
Along similar research development planning, IMC is investigating all aspects of the unique LIGHTFAIR community buyer base and where its unique potential opportunities are in order “to grow and extend a highly successful, existing three-decade brand.”
While every category in IMC’s markets is important, Maricich said few are as integral throughout all of their merged venues as lighting in some form. His overview remains ever-aware of how lighting’s distribution channels, customer base, and individual focus are distinct to each of its geographical/trend/price priorities.
IMC and AmericasMart are currently conducting joint research to determine customer needs in all of the categories these markets represent – especially lighting – with the goal of developing integrative strategies based on these extensive research results. Similar surveys and category research have emphasized the significance of lighting showrooms to consumers nationwide when it comes to finding unique designs, styles, and quality.
Portable lamps and lighting fixtures are well-represented in the Las Vegas and High Point Markets by major companies such as Currey & Co., Arteriors, Visual Comfort, Hudson Valley, and Fine Art Lamps. Maricich believes tenants have these permanent showrooms because they have proven to be cost-effective, efficient, and workable venues for reaching interior designers as well as furniture and home décor buyers in North America and abroad.
High Point Market is more than 100 years old and comprised of several dozen buildings as well as recently completed showroom construction (i.e. Christopher Guy) with more anticipated in the future. AmericasMart has been in existence for 60 years and has three multi-story, connected buildings. Meanwhile the Las Vegas Market has three multi-story, connected buildings that are less than 12 years old and will soon be adding an adjacent fourth building with more than 300,000 square feet of expo space.
In recent years, Las Vegas Market’s ownership has increasingly emphasized its growing commitment to lighting manufacturers interested in leasing permanent showrooms while simultaneously encouraging those who once operated showrooms there to return.
“Our audience and market share have expanded significantly since the first effort, as we have added strategic partnerships with complementary shows such as Design & Construction Week (D&CW), Surfaces West, and ASD to our evolving Market/Week umbrella concept,” Maricich explained.
Through all stages of the IMC-AmericasMart merger (finalized in July 2018) and the subsequent finalization of ADAC in Atlanta, plus the recent announcement of the continued LIGHTFAIR show management as well as one-third ownership status, Maricich noted, “This has all been focused on surveys that conclusively show that customers want fewer [shows] and more category-comprehensive, convenient shows that address their shopping and sourcing needs. This is the underlying emphasis that IMC has established as its reason for offering diverse shows between sellers and buyers.”
The Fall High Point Market will be held next month, October 13-17.