One of Atlanta’s little know secrets is it’s merchandise market, AmericasMart. Conveniently located downtown near convention hotels and the MARTA subway station, this huge facility is closed to the public but it is open for business. AmericasMart is the largest wholesale marketplace of its kind with over 7.7 million square feet of showroom and convention space spread across four buildings. The building sports the signature open atrium design of its founder John Portman. The Atlanta Apparel market, one of 15 wholesale markets hosted in the facility, opens today and all the exhibitors have been working feverishly to prepare for the big event.
The fifteen story tall Building 3 is host to hundreds of permanent and temporary exhibitors grouped on different floors. The lower floors are for temporary exhibitors who set up their booths for the four-day shows several times a year. Upper floors are home to permanent exhibitors of fine jewelry, costume jewelry, accessories, shoes, women’s high fashion and ready to wear apparel, designer gowns, men’s apparel, and children’s apparel.
Retail boutique and small chain store operators flock to Atlanta from all across the south to review the latest styles and place their orders. Merchandise exhibited at this show will be manufactured as the orders are taken and begin showing up in retail stores as soon as late February to early-April.
Exhibitors are optimistic about 2010 saying sales are flat to up significantly compared to last year. David Byrne, a sixteen year veteran at AtlantasMart who carrys eleven lines and caters to two distinct demographics, the 25-40 crowd, and the 45+ sophisticated woman says “retailers are buying smarter and carrying smaller inventories”.
John Griffin, the southeast territory manager for Lacoste says manufacturers are helping retailers with different price points for high quality, high style apparel. To make sure his clients get excellent customer service, John is showing the Lacoste line only by appointment.
Amy J. Hill, an independent sales rep with her own showroom, reports that “Business is booming! I’ve had a great day and it’s only the first day of the show.” Amy J Hill offers retailers fashion forward brands like Habitual’s high end denim line and Sanctuary’s cargo pants.
Carole Christian of Carole’s Collections says “even in this economy, women will spend – they want to look good and they will dress to impress.” With a permanent showroom facing the atrium on the 7th floor, Carole designs, manufactures and distributes a strong line of European style dresses and tops with complimentary bottoms and handbags. Carole has 12 designers who provider her clients with fashion for nightlife, casual dress, and proms. Carole enjoys the shows at AmericasMart because it gives her a chance to pamper her long time clients and meet new customers.
Based out of Toronto, Suzi Roher has been at the Atlanta Apparel mart for five years. Suzi Roher designs, manufactures, and distributes a line of a high fashion of women’s belts. Suzi says the “cinched waist look is hot but the fashions must be comfortable to wear.” Suzi is introducing a new look with leather embroidered onto elastic for a high fashion look with great comfort.
The show opened today (Thursday) for the permanent exhibitors and opens tomorrow for the temporary exhibitors.
Information on AtlantasMart can be found on the web at americasmart.com
Sam Dobrow is a freelance writer and photographer based in Atlanta, GA. More information about Sam Dobrow may be found on his personal blog site samdobrow.com or his business site samdobrowphotography.com.
A high resolution slideshow with 34 images from AmericasMart can be viewed at samdobrow.com