Friday, July 29, 2011

Casual Market “Sneak Peek”: OW Lee

OW Lee was established in Pasadena, California, by Oddist W. Lee in 1947 as a wrought-iron gate manufacturer for luxurious estates in Southern California. Due to an increase of requests for outdoor, high-end patio furniture, Oddist shifted focus solely to designing and selling outdoor furniture. Since Oddist’s retirement, his son Bob and Bob’s wife Beverly have established OW Lee as a reputable casual furniture manufacturer. In 2008, Bob and Beverly Lee received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Casual Furnishings Association. Now, the third generation of Oddist’s has continued the tradition. This year, OW Lee will be showcasing the company’s new Tamarack Collection of outdoor furniture at Casual Market.

The Tamarack Collection, designed by Paul Rogers, would make a perfect addition to any outdoor space and can be enjoyed all year round. The collection features rounded edge tubing which gives the lines a softer, more luxurious look and feel. While the table frame is made from 100% aluminum, the large-scale, deep-seating pieces feature plush cushions, making the Tamarack Collection stylish and comfortable. The new, American-made line is comprised of a club chair, swivel rocker club chair, ottoman, chaise lounge and two-seat and three-seat sofas.

To learn more about OW Lee visit the company’s website at Designers and retailers, this outdoor furniture collection is a must see at Casual Market.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Casual Market “Sneak Peek”: Highwood USA

Founded in 2003, Highwood USA is one of the leaders in producing premium synthetic products. The company strives to create high-quality products that mimic nature’s finest materials but require very little maintenance. Highwood USA's synthetic wood is weather-resistant, long-lasting and durable, yet gives off the appearance of real wood. This year, Highwood USA will be showcasing the company’s synthetic wood outdoor furniture including the Adirondack Collection as well as a brand new product, the laptop tray at Casual Market.

Adirondack chairs were first designed in 1903 by Thomas Lee. While vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains in Westport, NY, Lee created the outdoor chairs for his summer vacation home to enjoy the breathtaking mountain views. The original design had a straight back and seat, which were set at a slant to sit better on steep mountain inclines. The chair also featured wide armrests, which became a trademark of the Adirondack chair. Today’s Adirondack chairs feature round backs and contoured seats, such as the collection from Highwood USA. The Adirondack Collection features pieces handcrafted here in the United States available in a natural toffee color or crisp white finish.

Making its debut at Casual Market, Highwood USA’s brand new laptop tray is the perfect supplement to the already popular Adirondack chairs. The tray, also made of durable synthetic wood, is a wonderful accessory for consumers who enjoy working outdoors. Additionally, the laptop tray can be used for outdoor picnic lunches, sunset dinners or just for resting items on such as books. The versatile laptop tray and Adirondack chairs from Highwood USA are a must see at the market. To learn more about the company or to view more great outdoor products from Highwood USA, visit

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drumroll, Please…

In May, we challenged our blog readers to vote for their picks of the “best” products from the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. Many rallied behind their favorites, all stemming from the many companies we interviewed and featured this year as part of ECPR’s National Hardware Show “Best of Show” Series. From a durable self-propelled mower to unique home cleaning products – and everything in between – each of the "Best of Show" contenders was a stand-out in Las Vegas this year. With the votes tallied, there was room for just one top placement winner in the series, The Solar Attic Fan. The fan is a revolutionary product designed to reduce heat build-up in attics during the hot summer months and remove moisture during winter. Also notable is the Solar Controller, an accessory to the Solar Attic Fan, which allows users to take easy control of the unit.

The entire ECPR team would like to thank all companies who submitted their products to be considered for our "Best of Show" series. We were honored to be a part of the National Hardware Show and look forward to working with the show's management team and exhibitors again next year. In case you missed the show, be sure to read our show recap, "National Hardware Show Yields Attention-Grabbing New Products and Revealing Industry Trends".

Friday, July 22, 2011

OFA: The Business of Color

Sore, tired feet? Who cares! This year’s OFA Short Course was one for the ages. Retailers, growers and media members swarmed the Columbus Convention Center, all in hot pursuit of the next greatest product.

This year’s show, “The Business of Color,” featured a colorful array of plants, containers, industry products, and services. Nearly 600 companies exhibited at the show, while over 130 educational sessions, workshops, interactive activities, and networking events took place throughout the duration of the show.
One of the highlights of the show was having the opportunity to interact with our client Terra Nova Nurseries and several high-profile editors in the horticulture industry. Editors from GIE Media, Scranton Gillette Communications, Meister Media, and Better Homes & Gardens stopped by the booth to see Terra Nova Nurseries’ brand new plants. Additionally, stemming from a trade show press campaign by our team, well-known publisher GIE Media, produced a video about Terra Nova Nurseries at the show. Sales representative Larry Finley was interviewed on camera by Kelli Rodda, editor of Nursery Management magazine, about the company’s one-of-a-kind trailing Heucherellas as well as other new plant varieties. A big thanks to all our friends in the media for taking the time to schedule booth visits with us and Terra Nova Nurseries!
Another highlight of the show was mixing and mingling with show attendees. It was exciting to see familiar faces and catch up with long time friends in the industry. From the Happy Hour party to the Meister Media Evening of Excellence, where family and friends honored the late Jack Williams, made this year’s show one of the of most memorable experiences. The horticultural industry is truly a close knit community and we’re looking forward to next year’s show!

~ Don and Dominique

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Casual Market “Sneak Peek”: Black and Stone, Inc.

Outdoor furniture will be taken to a new level this September during Chicago's International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market. The four-day Casual Market provides retailers with an outlet to find all things related to outdoor and casual living. It's also a chance to see the newest, most innovative products from leading manufacturers around the world and discover the latest trends in color, product design, fabric patterns, and more all under one roof. The show begins Sept. 12, but we will be writing "Sneak Peek" articles in the days and weeks leading up to the show.

Our first "Sneak Peek" looks at a fire table that isn’t tethered to a bulky propane tank or fixed gas line. Black and Stone Inc.'s newest products, the VioFlame fire tables are fueled by clean-burning bio-ethanol and are completely portable. During the last five years, the hearth industry has seen a rapid growth in appliances fueled by denatured bio-ethanol. The clear liquid used with this product doesn't emit harmful or smelly gases that need to be vented. The fire table also features a broken marble table top available in round or square shapes, while the legs are made from hardy powder-coated steel. The active yellow flame lasts for hours with a single fueling, and reflects and dances in the glass to provide a spectacular focal point for an outdoor room. When the burner is removed, the stainless bowl can double as an ice bucket for beverages. Curious to learn more? Visit for more information.

Don't forget to check back to read more about the great products being featured at Casual Market this year. Also, take a look at our Casual Market overview, "Defining the Trends in Outdoor Living."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

15 New Plants Worth Your Attention

Crocosmia Twilight Fairy Crimson

Much like the latest iPad, Kindle and other gadget releases from electronics companies, the plant industry has its own new and breakthrough introductions each year. One plant series that is sure to make a notable debut at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio this week is Crocosmia Twilight Fairy ™ by trusted breeder and grower, Terra Nova Nurseries. The series consists of two new plants to date, boasting bronze-colored foliage and hot-colored flowers on short, well-branched spikes. These new compact plants come in two beautiful and vibrant colors, crimson red (Crimson) and bright yellow-orange (Gold). Crocosmia Twilight Fairy™ Series can be used in containers, mixed beds, fronts of borders, and in small gardens to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Crocosmia Twilight Fairy Gold

Terra Nova Nurseries is showcasing a total of 15 new plants at OFA, which is considered one of the largest and most important events in the horticulture industry. The new releases include Agastache 'Blue Boa,' Crocosmia Twilight Fairy,™ Crimson, Crocosmia Twilight Fairy™ Gold, Geum ‘Firestorm,’ Echinacea ‘Leilani,’ Helleborus ‘Rose Quartz,’ Heuchera ‘Cajun Fire,’ Heuchera ‘Creole Nights,’ Heuchera ‘Delta Dawn,’ Heuchera ‘Spellbound,' Heucherella ‘Solar Eclipse,’ Heucherella ‘Sunrise Falls,’ Kniphofia ‘Redhot Popsicle,' Polygonatum ‘Double Stuff' and Rudbeckia ‘Little Henry.’ To learn more about the exciting new selections from Terra Nova Nurseries, visit their website at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Father / Daughter Design Duo

Englishman’s Fine Furnishings is an Atlanta-based furniture design and kitchen design / build company with a 9,300-square-foot showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta, a large retail store in Smyrna, GA as well as a showroom in Charlotte, NC. The company’s father / daughter design team of Mike Howarth and Anita Vreeland makes for a unique amalgamation. Their combined design / build expertise and knowledge about the furniture and kitchen industries allows them to easily collaborate on designing custom furnishings, from creating impressive tables for clients’ dining rooms to hand-crafting entirely new kitchens or bedrooms.

When Mike Howarth, president and owner, decided to move from London to Atlanta years ago to extend his business and work to the United States, it was partly due to the fact the South offered special business opportunities other regions could not provide. Mike also knew that many southerners love the English style for home design, given its reminiscence of the Old South in many ways. Since then, Englishman's Fine Furnishings has evolved into a thriving family and corporate business.

Whether you’re a local Atlanta resident, live in Charlotte or just passing through the area, be sure to stop by one of Englishman’s Fine Furnishings’ showroom locations to visit with Mike and Anita and to see the company’s remarkable hand-crafted furniture pieces and kitchen designs. For additional information or showroom directions and hours, visit the company’s website at