New planners lend boost to Philly furniture show

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The new stewards of the Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show reported a doubling in attendance over 2014 at an event that showcased a wide range of furniture design types for every taste and style.

A new owner held its first Philadelphia Invitational, which opened with the traditional log-cutting ceremony.

The 21st annual show was held April 10-12 at the 23rd St. Armory in downtown Philadelphia. The show is an annual exhibition and sale featuring the works of juried artists focused on furniture and other hand-made custom objects for the home and office.

Stefa Normantas, director of Green Tree Events, which purchased the show from former director Josh Markel last year, attributes her organization’s success to strategic planning and networking many months before the show.

“We had just put in such a huge effort into making this show happen and it did pay off. We doubled the attendance, we brought in different media partners and we also had the Audubon Society as part of our preview night. The exhibitors were raving that it was the best preview night they’ve ever had,” Normantas says.

“We also brought in other partners like the American Society of Interior Designers and brought in furniture designers as well, so we had a great mix of partners and I was really excited about the energy on the floor.”

Attendance was estimated at about 1,500 and there were about 50 exhibitors.

Normantas says exhibitors were pleased with the quality of potential buyers who seemed to be willing to spend this year.

She also reports an abundance of high-quality and diverse work.

“I saw a great mix from the modern end of things, from straight lines to whimsical, so there were a lot of different influences. What I’m particularly proud of was that there was something for everybody style-wise and there was a really nice diversity. It probably skewed more modern and with a Shaker influence,” Normantas says.

“The energy on the floor was really focused on furniture and maintaining the highest quality and a vision of making this the best furniture show in the country. We had feedback from the exhibitors after the show and they’re all on board — they can’t wait until next year. They’re really committed to spread the word about the show and we’re just really excited.” 

Contact: Green Tree Events, 35 Storer St., Saco, ME 04072. Tel: 207-781-2982. www.philaifs.com

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue.

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