High Point Market: Business as Usual

Despite quiet bedding floors, High Point show traffic held steady and left producers happy with the quality of visitors

Unlike last year, there were no tornadoes during the High Point Market, thankfully. Held April 6-10 in High Point, North Carolina, the springtime show had a few beautiful sunny days and a rainstorm or two — typical weather for that time of year.

Much like the weather, the market had its usual slower pace and different feel than the Las Vegas markets. As reported before, the High Point Market has become more about appointments and less about drop-bys. Retailers who make plans to visit, do.

“People are here to buy, not just to shop,” said Frank Hood, president and chief executive officer of Kingsdown Inc. “Appointments are kept here.”

Most sleep product producers BedTimes spoke with had the kinds of market traffic they expected and were pleased with the different kind of visitors, such as furniture stores, who attend the High Point Market.

In all, the big news from this show has less to do with products and more to do with location. In the past year or two, several bedding producers have moved out of the main International Home Furnishings Center and into other locations, such as Market on Green, 233 Main and the Furniture Plaza. Expect more moves at future markets, as the bedding floors in the IHFC grow quieter.

In terms of product, we saw two ends of a spectrum — lower-priced beds in boxes and higher-end luxurious mattress sets. Cooling and natural features remained big selling points, as well. And the look? White and gray still rule the day.

Take a look at what this BedTimes editor found while walking the show.

Go to Sheep

Norfolk, Virginia-based Paramount Sleep embraced the benefits of wool with its Kiwi collection. The beds, with a moniker borrowed from the nickname for New Zealanders, are designed to appeal to consumers who want a natural story. With a white quilted, tufted cover and a graphic brown-and-white patterned border, each of the three beds in the line contains 10 pounds of New Zealand Joma wool and 2 pounds of organic cotton. The line comes in firm, plush and pillowtop, with suggested retails of $2,000, $2,500 and $3,000 for the sets, respectively. Another new collection, named for and inspired by fabrics and furnishings design icon Lillian August, is all about luxury. With coils, foam, latex and gel foams, the hand-tufted three-bed line ranges from $2,000 to $4,000.

Smooth Technique

Premium bed maker Shifman Mattress Co., headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, highlighted an updated Pure Comfort, its two-sided luxury latex line. The mattresses, which retail from $2,649 to $4,299, are enhanced with the company’s Sanotuft technique — a hand-sewing process that produces a smooth, buttonless tuft to eliminate shifting and bunching. The four-bed line also features a knit panel, coordinating border and a firm latex edge rail. “The way we approach product development is to build the best product in any category,” said President Bill Hammer. “The Pure Comfort collection accomplishes that goal and complements the uniqueness of all of our product lines.” Shifman showed the mattresses on its improved Shifman PowerMotion and PowerMotion Plus adjustable bases.

Reimagined Comfort

In a new showroom in the 233 Main building, North Brunswick, New Jersey-based Eclipse International featured its venerable Van Vorst label, a brand with a long heritage in the high-end bedding market. The trend is toward softer mattresses, the company said, so the three-bed sets in the line feature encased coils cushioned by premium, polyurethane foam with proprietary Surface Modified Technology. The panel fabric uses Tencel yarns and a cooling technology. The distinctive-looking regal border has a vertical channel quilting inset with a white ribbon emblazoned with a repeat of the Van Vorst brand crest. Retailing from $1,499 to $2,599, step-up models contain a copper-infused layer of latex and wool in the quilting layer.

A Place to Roost

Two collections by specialty bedding manufacturer Classic Brands, based in Jessup, Maryland, got some updates. J.P. Ledoux, vice president of key accounts, rests on Roost, a four-bed collection that features silver-infused, phase-change covers, and foam and latex constructions. Retailing from $399 to $799, Roost now comes with a stretchy navy border that doesn’t wrinkle when taken out of the box. Urban Loft Hybrid, also a four-bed collection, comes with striking textured gray diamond waterfall panels and black borders. With wrapped coils and gel-infused memory foam, the mattresses retail from $699 to $1,199.

Keeping It Cool — and Clean

Danican added a frosty touch with its Cool Sleep products. Each piece — including a mattress pad, protector, sheet set, duvet and pillow — is covered with a nylon/polyester blend fabric that is cool to the touch and comes in eye-catching packaging. While Danican hopes to bundle the products in the future, currently each piece in this imported collection must be purchased by the container-load. The Atascadero, California-based sleep products distributor also featured an encasement with a quilted comfort pad that can be removed for washing by zipping off two sides. It’s especially handy for the hospitality industry, the company said.

Box Seat

Paul Kahl, vice president of Landover, Maryland-based A.W. Industries Inc., a Serta licensee that also makes the proprietary Sleepwell brand, gets comfortable on Sleepwell’s newest line — the aptly named Mattress in a Box. Coming in 8-, 10- and 12-inch profiles, the line ranges from $399 to $799, mattress only. With a cooling cover and differing levels of gel, the line received an overwhelmingly positive response, Kahl said.

Coming Soon

Shane Wilde, territory manager for Logan, Utah-based Malouf, points to the big news for the sleep accessories supplier — it is changing showrooms. At the October market, look for Malouf to take over the first-floor space formerly occupied by Washington Furniture in the Market on Green building. The space is twice as large as its current second-floor digs and has large walls of windows the company hopes will attract foot traffic.

Blank Slate

Phoenix-based mattress manufacturer and retailer Brooklyn Bedding invited retailers to affordably and easily create their own private-label program using the new, unbranded Midtown memory foam collection. Coming in 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 14-inch profiles, the mattresses range from $399 to $999. “Our customers can brand it with their own POP material,” said Chuck Madler, senior director for logistics and operations. “It gives them the flexibility to create their own in-house brand without having to (make order commitments).”

Act Naturally

Erica Iapalucci, social media and communications specialist for Dorel Home Products, a division of Montreal-based Dorel Industries, stretches out on the company’s first foray into beds for consumers seeking natural components. Called Signature Honest Sleep, the 7-inch, two-sided mattress made in the United States features microcoils, wool and cotton for a natural story. The boxed bed retails for $740 and comes with an aloe vera cover. The line also includes a firm crib mattress made of coconut coir, wool and cotton. It retails for $286.

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