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Frames, covers, constructions to debut at Futon Expo '95.

ST. PAUL--Retailers, manufacturers and curiosity seekers will head to the futon show this week as new frames, covers and futons are presented.

Futon Expo '95, produced by the Futon Association International (FAI), kicks off this Thursday, May 18 and runs through May 20 at the St. Paul Civic Center here. The trade show, in its 11th year, will spotlight 107 vendors. According to expo TambraJones, 1,500 retailers are expected to attend. The show had 1,000 visitors last year in Orlando.

"A large percentage of the top 100 furniture retailers will be at the show--retailers who are in futons now and those who are thinking about it," says Robert Naboicheck, the FAI's president as well as the president of Hartford-based Gold Bond Mattress.

According to Barry Singer, co-owner of Scarborough, Maine-based Classic Mattress, a five-store chain, he'll be in search of new frames.

"I'm especially looking for wall-hugger frames that don't have to be pulled out from the wall to be opened," says Singer. "I'm also looking for frames that open and close from the front."

To differentiate from his competitors, Singer will scout for new wood frames and fresh covers. "Since the futon is still pretty new in this area, we're not looking for too many high-end frames, but we do want to explore the options. We want to carry things that no one else in the area will have."

"Everyone is copycatting each other with the mission style," says Heidi Huebscher, president of the 10-store chain Futons, etc. based in Tampa, Fla. "I'm looking for metal imported frames with good pricing and for improved mechanisms to open and close futon frames."

In new products, the focus will be on upgraded futon mattresses, improved mechanisms for opening and closing frames and heavier tapestry and denim fabrics.

In covers, Columbia Heights, Minn.-based S.I.S. Enterprises will offer a new collection of denim fabrics in addition to higher-end duvets, bedskirts and window treatments.

Custom Designs, based in Fullerton, Cal., will present 20 new designs including chambray covers and a woven jaquard product. In addition, draperies, wall borders and lamps will debut.

"We are positioning ourselves as a decorating resource for retailers instead of just a supplier of futon covers," explains Blake Bell, vice president and general manager of Custom Designs. The company will also introduce futon sheets, to retail for $39.99 in full size, with deeper pockets to better fit futon mattresses.

At Burlington Futon Co., based in Burlington, Vt., a new line of tapestry covers will be presented. The fabrics, says co-owner Audrey Binkhorst, are heavier than those with which the industry has worked in the past.

"We're introducing a new concealed three-sided zipper closure on our futon covers," continues Binkhorst, While most futon covers have three-zip cover construction, Binkhorst claims the concealed closure mechanism is unique in the industry.

Futon maker Gold Bond will present its line of 13 futon constructions including its innerspring cotton coil and wool wrap futons. New for the show are two futons, an additional innerspring and a "super soft" futon.

Wolf Corp., another leading futon supplier, will concentrate on its new frame offerings. In addition to showing 10 futon options, including its innerspring, three new hardwood frames, the Laguna, Fairmont and Victoria will be unveiled. A wood futon bunk will also be presented.

In frames, LiForms, headed by industry veteran Bob Fireman, will unveil its Fiantaca futon, a memorial design to honor the late Charlie Fiantaca, owner of the American Futon Co., who was killed in a plane crash last year. The Fiantaca frame, a metal and cherry combination, will retail for $249.

Also, Fireman will present ready-to-assemble bookshelves to coordinate with his futons. The Upsable bookshelves are available in three-shelf or five-shelf units and will retail for $75 and $99 respectively.

"In frames today, metal has really replaced pine, " says Fireman. "Woods that are doing well now are oak, ash and maple."
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Author:Sorcher, Jamie
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:May 15, 1995
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