By  on January 3, 2002

BASED ON A COMMON BOND AND MISSION, SHOWROOM OWNERS AND MART MANAGEMENT HAVE TEAMED UP TO LURE BUYERS TO DALLAS.

A new spirit of cooperation has been forged among sales representatives at the International Apparel Mart in Dallas, with the goal of drawing more buyers to the building.

Key leaseholders have started working with Mart management to pinpoint retailers that they would like to see shop here. In addition, some reps whose showrooms are clustered together are linking up to throw neighborhood parties for their clients.

"Everybody wants to band together," said Jo Richardson, partner in the Kathy & Jo showroom of novelty and contemporary fashions located on the busy 4400 aisle of the building. "I think we can change the atmosphere in the hallways. For instance, we can say that as a group we will be open on Wednesdays [before market]. They know they can count on us because we all have long-term reputations. It's not the Mart telling them."

Mart management, in fact, is all for this shared responsibility for marketing.

"We want to work together to share information and make partnerships and alliances," said Carrie Carter, vice president of marketing for the Dallas Market Center. "We tell the reps we are a supplement for what they already do and send out."

"It's all about sharing customers," said Brad Hughes, who is chairman of the Mart's board of governors and owns one of the largest showrooms in the building, Brad Hughes & Associates, which specializes in bridge and contemporary clothing.

"We want everyone in our area to do well. We are friendly competitors."

"The exhibitors are working together, which they have not done before," said Pam Kramer, vice president of leasing for the Mart. "It's people realizing that they need to collaborate. It's really healthy, and we can all benefit from it."

Last September, six principals of key leaseholders in the building got together to brainstorm about stores they wanted to attract to Dallas. The reps included Hughes, Terry Harner of Harner & Associates, Brad Ritz of Ritz Group, Hope Plott of Navia-Plott & Associates, Nat Ekelman and Jamin Whitaker of GeNe Associates and Dana Melton of Lori Veith.

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