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MMPI announces seminar schedule, new display for winter Chicago Market

CHICAGO — Merchandise Mart Properties and The Chicago Market have announced a new product display and a schedule of educational seminars and events for the winter market, to be held Thursday, Jan. 19 to Wednesday, Jan. 24.

A new product display to be featured at market is the Pop Up Shop, which will be staged in the lobby of the Merchandise Mart. Designed by Mick Santiago, the 32-linear-foot display features products that sell for less than $30 retail. The Pop up Shop will showcase seasonal, home décor, kids, pets, gift, fashion accessories and eco-friendly products from the permanent showrooms of the Merchandise Mart, and exhibitors from Temporaries and from the Beckman's Handcrafted Show.

"With value and price-point still at the forefront of buying decisions, we wanted to illustrate the breadth and depth of great product available under $30 under our roof," said Mark Furlet, vice president and general manager at Merchandise Mart Properties. "Today's retail buyers expect more, we are proud to be able to deliver a broad array of on-trend products from some of the industry's most innovative sources while offering them educational tools to improve their business acumen."

The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD North Central Chapter) will bring several of their celebrity designers to the Chicago Market to share their secrets of successful floral design in a number of educational programs.

Seminars and events:

Saturday, Jan. 21

"Flirting with Boundaries" - Mandy Majerik, AIFD, PFCI
Flirting with traditional concepts and breaking normal boundaries. Make sure you, your brand and your business attract attention.

Flowers: The Life of the Party - Tim Farrell, AIFD, PFCI
Farrell explores the principles and elements of design. He is a member of the Oscars design team -- assembled by Charisma Designs, which creates the floral designs for the Red Carpet and the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles for the Annual Academy of Motion Pictures Awards Show.

Floral Design Competition
The North Central Chapter of AIFD will sponsor a design competition using products donated from Roy Houff floral supply. AIFD members will be judging the contest and the winner will be announced during market.

Sunday, January 22

Floral Industry Trends - Bob Williams PFCI, AAF, president, Society of American Florists
Williams will present key findings that will help you grow your business, including top retailer trends, demographic and purchasing trends, floral purchasing by channel, price points and how the customer defines value when purchasing flowers.

Jodi Duncan, AIFD
Duncan is a regular designer & contributor to Fusion Flowers, an international floral publication. This past March she was privileged to serve as their Royal Wedding correspondent, live-tweeting the wedding from London.

Monday, January 23

Special Event: Visual Merchandising Tips & Tricks with Bethany Lowe and Mick Santiago
Learn how successful retailers tell their story through displays and artful merchandising with self-taught artist, founder and creative director of Bethany Lowe Designs, Inc., Lowe who works with folk artists and brings their handmade designs and her own vintage inspired designs to the broader public. Following the presentation she will be signing a small gift for market attendees in her showroom on floor 13. Mick will also be available to answer questions and provide tips on visual merchandising.

Overview of show floors:

Beckman's Handcrafted Show Chicago: A collection of artisans offering an array of distinctive work. Floor 8.

Temporaries: Hundreds of shopping resources organized in four themed sections: Gifts & Accessories, Home, Gourmet, and What A Girl Wants all on floor 8.

Permanent Showrooms: Over 75 permanent showrooms covering all the gift industry's must-have categories will be open all week. Floors 13-14.

Buyer amenities:

Shop Late Night: Explore the 13th and 14th floor Saturday night with the Chicago-themed Shop Late Night from 6-8 p.m., Saturday. Enjoy Chicago-style street food and snacks while shopping the permanent showrooms.

Free Trolley Service to and from all participating hotels. Check for schedule and details.

Ten Dollar Parking: At MartParc Wells (Kinzie St. and Wells St.), MartParc Orleans (Hubbard St. and Orleans St.) or Wolf Point (350 West Mart Center Dr.) Restrictions apply.

50% Amtrak Reimbursement. Restrictions apply.

Discounted Hotel Rates. Reservation deadline: Jan. 11, 2012.

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