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Craft Business News Briefs - February 2006

Tole and Decorative Painting Mag Set To Fold

The April 2006 issue of Tole World, will be the final issue. There will be a note to subscribers within the April issue of Tole World anouncing the news of the magazine's closure .

AmericanStyle Magazine Readers Name 2005 Top 10 Art Fairs

AmericanStyle magazine announced the results of its second annual Top 10 Art Fairs and Festivals readers' poll. With four of the top five events held during warm-weather seasons, the poll shows that outdoor art festivals reign supreme. The 2005 Top 10 Art Fairs and Festivals :

1. Scottsdale Arts Festival (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 2. Paradise City Arts Festivals (Northampton, Mass.; Marlborough, Mass.; Valley Forge, Pa.) 3. Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters (Laguna Beach, Calif.) 4. Bayou City Art Festival (Houston, Texas) 5. Sawdust Art Festival (Laguna Beach, Calif.) 6. Santa Fe Indian Market (Santa Fe, N.M.) 7. Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show (Philadelphia, Pa.) 8. ACC Craft Fair (Atlanta, Ga.; Baltimore, Md.; Charlotte, N.C.; San Francisco, Calif.; Sarasota, Fla.; St. Paul, Minn.) 9. Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 10. SOFA: International Expositions of Sculpture Objects & Functional Art (Chicago, Ill.; New York, N.Y.)

Canterbury Arts Festival to End

Kent, Washington -- After 19 years of Canterbury celebrations, featuring music, arts and a recreation of a medieval village, the city is dropping the annual August event after several years of decreasing attendance. The festival, commonly known as the Canterbury Faire, featured arts and crafts vendors, a juried arts show and a wide range of performances highlighting the community's cultural diversity.Those features of Canterbury will now be included in Kent Cornucopia Days in July, the city's other major community festival, but there will be no more medieval or Renaissance village.

Bob Westcott, a Lions club member and director of the Cornucopia festival, said there will be two stages for entertainment, one at the Kent Regional Library and the other on the plaza in front of the AMC theaters at the new Kent Station complex. The juried arts show will move to the Green River Community College branch campus at Kent Station, and the vendors who offered hand-crafted crafts and artworks at Canterbury can join other vendors at Cornucopia's street fair, Westcott said.

The decision by the Kent Arts Commission and city officials to cancel Canterbury followed a steady decline in visitors after a large Renaissance festival with medieval reenactments began several years ago in Gig Harbor during the same weekend as Kent's event.

20th Annual Stitch-Off Competition

Enter the 20th Annual Stitch-Off Competition and you could receive national exposure and recognition when winners are announced in the June issue of Stitches Magazine. Submit your entry for a chance to win a Tajima DG/ML by Pulse Maestro software package (approximate retail value $17,500). Entry deadline is March 31, 2006.

Non-Authentic Indian Arts and Crafts

The Arizona Act provides that any person who sells any product which is made to imitate or resemble authentic Indian arts and crafts must "post a sign bearing the words, in letters not less than three inches in height,'nonauthentic Indian arts and crafts' above or adjacent to the articles being sold." A.R.S. Section 44-1231.02.

NEW: The Indian Arts and Crafts Board in Washington, D.C. has set up a toll-free number for reporting sales of fake or false Indian arts and crafts, or other violations of the federal Indian arts and crafts bill. The number is 888/ART-FAKE (888/278-3552)

A.C. Moore Sees a Better Year

After a dismal 2005, A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts said that it would craft a better 2006 for the 109-store chain. "We're very excited about 2006," Lawrence H. Fine, president and chief operating officer, said during a conference call with analysts. The company's bullish predictions come after a tough year for the company. Sales of yarn contributed to the company's 8.4 percent increase in revenue in 2005 - but yarn also contributed to the year's disappointing profit.

For the last few years, A.C. Moore's yarn business boomed as it was among the first to spot the growing popularity of knitting and to stock yarns not readily available elsewhere. In the second quarter of last year, other retailers jumped on the bandwagon, and A.C. Moore's share of the business eroded, as did its profit margins. With the merchandise more broadly available, A.C. Moore could not mark up the price as much as it had in the past. Meanwhile, knitting as a category began to decline. "People were making scarves from those fancy yarns, but you couldn't move those people past the scarves," A.C. Moore chairman Jack Parker said.

A.C. Moore's long-term prospects are promising, said Gregory McKinley, an analyst with Dougherty & Co., a Minneapolis investment banking firm. It has a cash and debt position capable of supporting growth, and, with that growth, McKinley said, "there's an opportunity to deliver profitability with scale." He also was cautious. "I think its a company and an industry in a state of transition," he said. "We don't have the emergence of an important new category with a lot of sales momentum."

Fine and the other executives said the company would open 13 to 16 new stores this year. They predicted that a new distribution center would make higher-margin imports easier to move into the stores. Changes made last year in the company's merchandising, sourcing, store design and product mix will begin to pay off, they said. Parker explained how one problem, now fixed, cost A.C. Moore half a million dollars in sales last year. The company had always done a good business in pillar candles, especially during the holidays, Parker said. It used to import from China, but switched to India when tariffs increased. "Deliveries were terrible," Parker said, but the company did not want to switch to a lower-quality candle. "Now we're on our third country, and both delivery and quality are on target."

Michael's 4Q Sales Increase 7 Percent

Michael's Stores Inc., the nation's largest arts and crafts retailer, said fourth-quarter sales increased 7 percent, but gross margins were hurt by markdowns and other factors. Chief Executive Michael Rouleau, in a statement, said however that the company's gross margin suffered in the quarter from earlier markdowns and faster clearances, in addition to other factors. The company partially offset some of the issues with cost control, Rouleau said.

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