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Craft Business News Briefs - July 2005

Plaid Enterprises to shift Bucilla to Atlanta

Plaid Enterprises Inc. will move its Bucilla arts and crafts brand's manufacturing and distribution operations from Hazelton, Pa., to Atlanta. The Norcross, Ga--based craft and hobby products producer said the shift will be complete by November and will produce new local jobs. The company moved its marketing and sales functions to Atlanta in 2000. "Over the past several years, Plaid has invested heavily in our metro Atlanta manufacturing and distribution facilities," said Mike McCooey, Plaid president. "Our new manufacturing facility in Decatur [Ga.] and enhanced distribution systems in Stone Mountain [Ga.] will allow the company to leverage that investment and provide continued growth for the Bucilla brand." Plaid Enterprises is a subsidiary of The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp., a privately held New York-based investments company.
Alice Merritt, executive director of the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA), recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Highland Craft Guild at their annual meeting in Gatlinburg. For almost three decades, Alice has been deeply involved with crafts, beginning as a potter. She became executive director of TACA in 1988, after several years of organizing the juried craft fairs in Nashville's Centennial Park.

The next TACA Fall Craft Fairs will be Sept. 23-25 in Centennial Park and Oct. 1-2 in Chattanooga's Coolidge Park. Plans are also under way for a TACA retail and exhibition gallery to provide year-round access to Tennessee fine craft.

Jo-Ann Stores Announces June Sales Results

Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. reported that June net sales increased 4.0% to $151.8 million from $146.0 million in the same period last year. June same-store sales decreased 0.2% compared to a same-store sales increase of 6.8% last year. Year-to-date net sales increased 3.8% to $687.1 million from $661.8 million in the prior year. Same-store sales increased 0.4% year-to-date versus a 5.8% same-store sales increase for the same period last year. Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. the leading national fabric and craft retailer with locations in 47 states, operates 717 Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts traditional stores and 131 Jo-Ann superstores.

AC Moore Same-Store Sales

AC Moore Arts & Crafts Inc. said that sales in stores open at least one year -- a key measure known as same-store sales -- rose a lower-than-expected 0.5 percent in the fiscal second quarter, and cut its full-year earnings forecast. The results widely missed Wall Street's average view, which called for a same-store sales increase of 3.9 percen. AC Moore operates 99 arts and crafts stores in the eastern United States. AC Moore's stock is off 6 percent since the start of the year. AC Moore said it was "disappointed" with its second-quarter sales, particularly the weekend business starting with Memorial Day until June. The company also said it spent most of the second quarter revamping merchandising and has re-worked more than 75 percent of basic merchandise footage, which it expects will help drive results in this year's second half.
Census Data Highlights

The latest census data show the importance of addressing the multicultural markets across the U.S. The latest findings include: The Hispanic population now numbers more than 41 million and is growing (from 2003 to 2004) at a rate three times that of the total population. - Another fast-growing minority, the Asian-American population, is estimated to be 14 million in the United States, up 3.4 percent from 2003 to 2004. African-Americans total 37.5 million, a segment that is growing at a faster pace than the total U.S. population.

NYIGF's Handmade Division Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Handmade, a juried division of the New York International Gift Fair, celebrates its 20-year anniversary this August.

The concept for Handmade began in the early 1980s when tradeshow organizer George Little Management, LLC identified a growing demand for high-end craft products within the gift industry. Up until this time, the market's craft resources had been limited to handicrafts. Then, in 1984, the gift fair launched Accent on Design, a new division which featured a sampling of contemporary craftspeople. This roused the interest of the craft community, and led to a demand for high-end, non-contemporary craft items. In response, Handmade, then known as American & International Crafts, was launched at the New York International Gift Fair, February 24-28, 1985, with 228 exhibitors.

To ensure exhibitor quality and diversity, GLM adopted a jury process - similar to that employed by wholesale craft show producers but virtually unknown in the gift industry at that time - that involved review by a jury of craft professionals for originality, authenticity and appropriateness for the gift market, with an emphasis on how products are made. American & International Crafts was an instant success and began to grow steadily.

In 1991, GLM partnered with American Craft Enterprises (ACE) to further expand craft resources at the Gift Fair through the introduction of Handmade in the USA. This new, annual craft division featured products created exclusively by U.S. artists and selected to exhibit by ACE. In its first edition (February 1991) Handmade in the USA presented 169 exhibitors at New York City's Pier 90. After two successful winter events, ACE chose to move in a different direction. In September 1992, Carol Sedestrom Ross (former president, ACE) joined the staff at GLM with the express desire to expand opportunities for American craft artists in the mainstream marketplace.

In 1996, GLM combined the two divisions - American & International Crafts and Handmade in the USA - with a single Handmade moniker. The name was selected for several reasons: to make certain that buyers understood what type of product was featured in the section, and to let buyers know that featured items would be limited in quantity and more expensive than objects found in other sections of the Fair. This change allowed GLM to present Handmade, with more than 550 domestic and international exhibitors, semi-annually in connection with the Gift Fair.

Crafts have become a major resource in the gift market and Handmade has evolved into a well-known, branded division that exists at many GLM-managed Gift Shows across the country and in Canada. Handmade at the San Francisco International Gift Fair was launched in 1993, and is the second largest Handmade division at a GLM-managed show. Handmade can also be found in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington DC. Each edition features crafts from the regional area, as well as many artists seeking national distribution.

The August 2005 edition of Handmade at the New York International Gift Fair will feature 565 exhibitors from the United States and abroad. GLM is planning a series of celebratory activities in honor of the division's anniversary. Highlights include a retrospective display, presenting a visual history of Handmade from its 1985 inception to today; an on-site toast celebration to recognize charter exhibitors; and a unique partnership with the Museum of Arts & Design, formerly the American Craft Museum, granting exclusive museum access to Gift Fair participants. Three outstanding craft retailers - Sundance Catalog, risdlworks and Bob and Sally Silberberg - will receive a special award in connection with Handmade's 20th anniversary.

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