A Trip to Market: Susan & Christy take on Atlanta
Susan Freshman & Christy Kuhlmann, retail managers at Arbor Day Farm, are just back from Georgia for the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® — better known just as “Market.” The Market is an annual showcase of new gifts and treasures, and Susan & Christy make the trip annually to be inspired by new selections for their shops, and to bring back the best of what they think Arbor Day Farm visitors would like to shop for. This blog post is a collection of Susan’s favorite stories, photos and finds at Market. Enjoy!
Friday, Jan. 13
Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia, and the AmericasMart Gift Show. I love the energy and excitement of new products, new artisans and vendors, and all the buying and selling of such unique finds. There’s just no telling what you might find! There was also a Footloose flash mob this year (click to watch) , and while I can assure you that neither Christy nor I were in on the “mob,” we enjoyed it just the same.
Even in the midst of this huge retail show, I’m reminded of what a small world it is! I was placing an order for some of the Tree Adventure’s best-selling plush animals and meanwhile, Diana Fusco of Atlanta is telling me how much she loves Arbor Day Farm since attending a wedding at Lied Lodge a short time ago. It’s fun to make those kind of one-on-one, personal connections, despite being far from Nebraska City.
Saturday, Jan. 14
How exciting today has been! I’ve been finding so many great new items around each corner that I see a sale in our future to make room for it all! Today I met Allen and Diane Davis from North Carolina who had beautiful wooden wine stoppers at Market. The photos I snapped don’t do them justice, but these stoppers will complement nicely Arbor Day Farm’s wine selections. Fun side note: Diane has a wonderful Shag Bark Hickory tree in her yard that she got some 10 years ago from the Arbor Day Foundation as a bare root tree. Another wonderful story!
Books for children and adults are the #1 best-selling item in our gift shop at the Tree Adventure. Today Denise Crawford of Atlanta showed me some of her newest titles, hot off the press! A few of my selections: “Friends of a Feather,” by Arlen Cohn, will keep the younger set entertained with fun, googly-eyed birds on every page; and “HumaniTrees,” by Joan Klostermann-Ketels, shares inspirational quotes and beautiful images of trees, branches, and trunks, revealing nature’s fury and grace deep in the woods. Look for them arriving in our shops in February and March.
Another of my favorite finds today: really cool sticky notes in fabulous leaf shapes and all sizes. The shading and textures are very true-to-life; looks like the real thing, right off the tree. Rochelle helped me choose just the right mix of colors, shapes, and sizes. Makes a great (and useful) gift idea. I know our shoppers enjoy items like these.
Sunday, Jan. 15
Yes, after two days in Georgia, I’m starting to talk with a southern drawl now. I’m sure my husband will get a kick out of that.
A gnoming we will go! I found some terrific new gnomes for our gift shop and for the ever-popular Gnome Hunt activity at the Tree Adventure. We would never have guessed that it would be so popular when we
first offered it in 2010, but now it’s one of our most-booked activities. Travelocity was right… there’s just something endearing about those little gnomes.
Monday, Jan. 16
Heading back to The Good Life of Nebraska today. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with such kind and hospitable people here in Atlanta. I truly think this has been the best Market experience ever. We can’t wait to show you all the new items, coming soon to the Tree Adventure and Lied Lodge gift shops.
Susan (and Christy)
Nebraska’s Outstanding Nature Tourism Entity in 2011, and we hope you’ll visit soon.