SHOWROOMS TO EXPERIMENT WITH STAYING OPEN WEEKENDS
Byline: Arthur Friedman
NEW YORK — Hoping to battle regional mart competition, the New York Fashion Council is spearheading a program to keep showrooms open on weekends during key market periods.
The first test of the idea, which is being coordinated with the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, will come the weekend of Feb. 24-25, according to Ruth Finley, executive director of the Fashion Council, which includes executives of major Manhattan fashion firms.
“It’s a chance for everyone to band together for the good of the industry,” said Alan Sealove, president of the Fashion Council and eveningwear firm Victoria Royal. “We think it will make it easier for buyers to utilize their time on the weekends, and make New York more attractive. When we first brought this up at one of our meetings, many of us wondered why this was never done before.”
Sealove said he expects all 74 members of the Fashion Council to participate, and hopes many others will follow. “This is what goes on at the regional marts and it has proven successful for them,” he added.
The Fashion Council and FCBID, along with individual companies, will publicize the move through ads and mailers. The city’s Department of Business Services’ “Made in New
York” project might also provide some publicity.
“We’re fully supportive of the Fashion Council’s project, and we think it’s a great way to try to bring more people into the fashion center,” said Barbara Randall, executive director of the FCBID. She said the group will provide security and sanitation on the weekends, and the FCBID’s offices will be open for people to ask questions about resources or restaurants.
Randall noted that several trade shows also take place during the weekends of market weeks, so many buyers can hop from the expos to the showrooms at their convenience. She said about 23,000 buyers come to New York at least once a year.
Randall said FCBID members who own or manage the buildings in the district have indicated they will provide some sort of hospitality in their lobbies. The FCBID is building an information booth this spring at the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 39th Street, and it will also be open on market weekends, she added.
“We want to make New York as convenient as the regional marts while also stressing the uniqueness that the city offers,” Randall said.