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Is That For Sale?
by Stormy on February 24, 2008

Many industries and special interest groups hold conventions to update their members on innovations and developments in their field. Retailers have trade conferences as well to introduce them to changes and new products coming to their industries.

This weekend I got the opportunity to visit the Spring 2008 Gift, Jewelry and Resort Show at the Denver Merchandise Mart. This is a twice a year show where tens of thousands of retailers and manufacturers from all over the world gather to display their wares, share strategy and make deals. The Denver Merchandise Mart is the largest retailer trade facility (mart) between Chicago and San Francisco. It houses some 250 permanent showrooms available to retailers around the year and during the retail shows will expand to include over 1000 additional vendors, representing thousands of manufacturers from around the world. The show features everything from giftware and collectibles to greeting cards and books to toys and games to furniture and decor to fashion and jewelry and is attended by retailers ranging from the small mom and pop shops to corporate buyers, all looking for the next hot thing in the retail industry. There are seminar tracks for retailers looking to hone their sales skills, improve store presentation and learn not to stutter when confronted by disgruntled customers. Needless to say, I spent my time wandering from showroom to showroom asking about marmots. After all, that's my job -- I'm a marmot ambassador! There are a lot of companies that manufacture stuffed animals, but very few focus on "exotics". (Okay, that's the first time I've heard anyone call a marmot exotic, but I'll take it where I can get it!) Most factories manufacture the common animals -- bears, wolves, monkeys, penguins, cats, elephants, giraffes, pandas, etc. Finding a marmot is pretty hard! I did track down a whole bunch, though. Marmots are manufactured by Douglas, Fiesta, Folkmanis, Platte River Trading, Stuffed Animal House and Wild Republic. If you're curious, I'm the old style Platter River Trading marmot. The show was a lot of fun. I got to learn much about retailing and found out about some fun new items coming out in 2008. Mustard yellow and rustic red are the in colors for 2008. Chihuahuas, moose and fairies are in. Marmots? For some reason no one tracks marmot merchandising, but it's my mission now to have the marmot be the hottest stuffed animal for the year. Did you buy a marmot this year? If not, you should!

Stormy at the Denver Merchandise Mart.
(taken by Max on February 24, 2008)
Stormy spent a lot of time at the main Mart building, but also visited vendors in the Pavilion, the Expo Building and the Mart Plaza.
(taken by Max on February 24, 2008)
There were plenty of stuffed animal vendors to see!
(taken by Max on February 24, 2008)
The Pavilion was one busy place!
(taken by Max on February 24, 2008)
The Douglas Toy groundhog.
(taken by Douglas Toy on February 24, 2008)
The Fiesta Toy groundhog.
(taken by Fiesta Toy on February 24, 2008)
The Folkmanis Puppets groundhog.
(taken by Folkmanis Puppet on February 24, 2008)
The Platte River Trading "Moots" style yellow-bellied marmot.
(taken by Platte River on February 24, 2008)
The Stuffed Animal House Vancouver Island marmot.
(taken by Stuffed Animal H on February 24, 2008)
The Wild Republic yellow-bellied marmot.
(taken by Wild Republic on February 24, 2008)

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