Opening Night “Backyard BBQ”, Celebrity Designer Keynote Presentations, and ICFA Awards Gala Among Top Events, September 16-19, 2015

CHICAGO – (September 1, 2015) – Casual Market Chicago held at The Merchandise Mart September 16-19 features must-attend special events and presentations. In addition to seeing the latest collections from 250+ leading manufacturers in the outdoor/casual furniture and accessories industries, Casual Market Chicago offers attendees compelling keynote speakers and events.

Attendees will see 250+ leading manufacturers in the outdoor/casual furniture and accessories industries in more than 350,000 square feet of exhibit space including more than 45 permanent showrooms on floors 14,15 &16 and temporary exhibitors located in the temporary Casual Suites of The Merchandise Mart on floor 7. It’s the first place to view the latest products, in a multitude of furnishing categories: Wrought iron/aluminum, cast metal/cast combination, rattan/wicker/woven materials, tubular materials, resin/fiberglass and wood), umbrellas, hammocks, grills, outdoor lighting, outdoor carpeting and rugs, garden accessories, tabletop, statues, fountains, outdoor bars, outdoor hearth and heating products, alternative tabletops and pool and spa accessories.

Schedule of Special Events and Keynote Presentations:

Tuesday, September 15
ICFA Industry Roundtables
Noon – 6 p.m. | 8th Floor
Share your ideas. Learn and network with fellow retailers and industry professionals in roundtable discussion. The event will include discussions of topics including:
Targeting the Younger Customer
Cutting Costs and Increasing the Bottom Line
Best Practices in Marketing
Transitioning Online Sales from Your Website
Managing Store Growth/Opening Multiple Locations
Handling Transportation and Logistics.
Of special interest to dealers, Mike Becher, Senior Projects Director of Industry Insights, will share understanding of the results of the 2015 ICFA Retail Benchmarking Survey. Retailers are invited to bring their company’s report for individualized analysis of store operations.
Hosted by the International Casual Furniture Association (ICFA).

Wednesday, September 16
First-Time Attendee Welcome Gathering
11am – Noon | ICFA Lounge 7th Floor
New to the Market? First time attendees will feel right at home at the special welcome reception on the first day of the Show. Stop in to meet some of the Show and Association leaders and learn handy tips and tricks for navigating your first Casual Market. Hosted by the Mart and ICFA.

Keynote Presentation
Noon – 1 p.m. | 7th Floor Presentation Room
Celebrity Designer Celerie Kemble Q&A with Casual Living and Coastal Living
Join Celerie Kemble, principal of Kemble Interiors, as she shares her latest discoveries in outdoor design trends. Together with Cinde Ingram, Editor-in-Chief of Casual Living and Ellen McGauley, Homes Editor ofCoastal Living,  Kemble will focus on retail and shopping strategy, color inspiration and how interior design resonates to the outdoors.  This is a unique and exclusive Q&A with one of the largest trendsetters in the design industry.

Opening Night “Backyard BBQ” Party
6-7:30pm | South Drive
The much anticipated Opening Night party will be a festive “Backyard BBQ” party. It will take place on the South Drive of The Merchandise Mart along the scenic Chicago River. Kick off your Market experience with BBQ- inspired cuisine and cocktails at this key networking event. Enjoy live music and mingle among well-curated furniture displays while enjoying “flame” manufacturers represented at the Show.
Presenting Media Partner: Hearth & Home Magazine

Thursday, September 17
ICFA Annual Meeting
7:00 – 9:00 a.m.| 7th Floor Presentation Room
The Annual Meeting of the entire International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) membership provides a forum for discussion of industry issues, election of Association officers and directors, and an update on ICFA activities and membership benefits. All ICFA members and interested prospective members are invited.

Keynote Presentation
Noon – 1 p.m. | 7th Floor Presentation Room
The “Cool” Side of Grilling by Ryan Bloom
Ryan Bloom, founder and president of Urban Bonfire Inc., will present an interactive presentation on the future of grills, outdoor kitchens and the growing trend of outdoor cooking. We will focus on trends in equipment, marketing, content creation and marketing to the modern educated consumer. This is a must-attend presentation for anyone in the grill/BBQ market looking to engage and delight their staff and customers to maximize experience and revenue.

Thursday, September 17
ICFA Awards Gala
6:30pm – 10 p.m. | The Field Museum, Stanley Hall
The grandest event of Casual Market Chicago, the ICFA Awards Gala, celebrates the casual industry’s great achievements. The Apollo Awards celebrate the top retailers in single and multi store categories. The 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award honorees will be recognized, and awards will be presented for the Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” recipient, the Sales Representative of the Year and the Manufacturer of the Year. A fabric fashion show, presented by Casual Living, will be featured during the 2015 ICFA Awards Gala.
Tickets required. Hosted by ICFA and the Mart.

To see a full list of showroom parties and special event, please visit http://www.casualmarket.com/show-information/special-events/

Casual Market Chicago is a four-day trade show that provides retailers with an outlet to find all things related to outdoor and casual living. Featuring the latest products and trends in the industry, the Casual Market Chicago features permanent showrooms and temporary exhibitors totaling approximately 350,000 square feet of exhibit in The Mart.