I’ll be eager to see the official attendance stats for this latest Dallas Market because I’m quite sure it was the strongest show in several years. Even before the official opening bell on Thursday, Jan. 17, buyers arrived in full force — pun fully intended with Lighting One’s 2013 theme since that ever-growing group brought much of the early momentum with its Wednesday kickoff Conference.
But more than simply being there, everyone on site seemed collectively committed to having an incredible year ahead. And exhibitors reciprocated with ample introductions that advanced design and technology in ways that will help showrooms stand out. A gravity-defying fixture that’s pure magic? Corbett Lighting’s Houdini. Task lamps smart enough to qualify for a Mensa card? Mondoluz and Holtkötter. A brand-new line with a contemporary European sensibility priced right and refined for the North American market? That would be Kichler’s élan. At every turn of the Trade Mart, you’d find creative kerosene to ignite the positivity already present from the get-go.
Friday’s “shop late” night festivities and Saturday’s elegant ARTS Awards furthered the “feel good” vibe. Congratulations to Visual Comfort and (new lighting floor exhibitor) Arteriors Home for winning the ARTS lighting fixture and lamp categories, and to regional showroom recipients Elements, Hinsdale Lighting and Elume Distinctive Lighting. But we were also pleased to see the “home team” get recognition in the Midwest/Southwest Sales Representative category courtesy of Richard Alan, armed with inappropriate-yet-appropriate props. And all three finalists in the International Retailer category were Canadian lighting showrooms, so we were all set to cheer no matter what when Multi Luminaire got the nod.
Surprisingly, typically sleepier Sunday didn’t take any wind out of our sails (or our sales) since there was more-than-usual activity on that day, too. The best thing is that I don’t believe there will be a “back to reality” moment coming off this tremendous event. We’re all determined for this to be our new reality. And based on everything I saw in Dallas, I don’t think anything could stop us. You came. You saw. Now conquer.