Baltimore show reports improved sales

Both new and returning exhibitors from the third annual Baltimore Fine Furnishings and Fine Craft Show were pleased with the wealth of networking opportunities available at event, which ran April 15-17 at the Baltimore Convention Center near the Inner Harbor.

“I think it’s a good show and it only has a chance to grow,” says John Landis, an exhibiting furniture maker from Yardley, Pa. “It’s like any other show. Some artists are going to get lucky and have the right people come through at the right time, but it’s also the opportunity for people to second-guess what it is they’re doing with their displays. The slow economy and the lower buyer numbers should be a wake-up call to artists and say people are looking for something else and a different presentation.

“It’s up to each individual to represent themselves in a professional way. If you’re not doing well in this economy, I think it’s time to stop blaming the economy and start figuring out how you need to adapt to do better.”

Show director Karla Little says turnout exceeded expectations. There were 35 exhibitors, about half from the Mid-Atlantic region, and the rest from New England and the Midwest. Show attendance was similar to previous years, but Little reports that sales were much better.

“I think exhibitor success has to do with product, price point and personality. You have to mix those factors in with where a potential customer might be in their decision-making process to be able to sell. It has to be the right time for a customer to want to buy a special piece for their home,” says Little.

Furniture maker Edmund Barkey, a new exhibitor from Navarre, Ohio, says he had such a good experience he has already registered for Baltimore’s sister shows in Milwaukee and Providence, R.I., later this year.

“The show was very good for me. I really enjoyed it. It is always great to meet people who appreciate what you do. The show was extremely well-run and, although we didn’t have as many people come through the show as we would have liked, the ones who did come were certainly ready to see what was new in the fine furnishings world. We sold very well and enjoyed talking woodworking with the customers as well as the other artists in the show, and there are some very talented people in these shows.”

Best of Show awards were given to the following exhibitors:

• Bill Hergenroeder of Springfield Construction in Cockeysville, Md., for best furniture, traditional piece.

• John Landis of John Landis Cabinetworks in Yardley, Pa., for best furniture, contemporary piece.

• Chris Robertson of C.W. Robertson: Traditional Cabinetmakers in Parkton, Md., for best furniture, traditional body of work.

• Todd Graham of Tree Theory in Edmund, Okla., for best furniture, contemporary body of work.

• Edmund Barkey of Edmund Barkey Furniture in Navarre, Ohio for best new product.

The Marc Harrison award for marketing excellence went to Dwight Sargent of Pompanoosuc Mills in East Thetford, Vt.

Contact: Fine Furnishings Shows. Tel: 401-816-0963. www.finefurnishingsshow.com

This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue.