The fifth floor of the Atlanta Apparel Mart has bonded. Together, the showrooms want to show buyers new ways to buy apparel. “We have the ability to ship goods immediately or within two to three weeks,” the group explained at a joint meeting in January at the mart.
Their focus is quick response and lower minimums. “It’s about adjusting things to fit the buyers’ needs,” explained Joy Cunningham of the Wholesale Apparel showroom.
The group agrees that having available current, in-season merchandise is crucial, but said they also have merchandise available for future delivery. “We’re not just immediate delivery; we want buyers to be aware that we offer both,” explained Cindy Oakes of the Quinn Oakes showroom.
Craig Levy of the Craig Michael showroom said that while each showroom on the floor does things a little differently, their overall goal is to give retailers more flexibility. “It’s a growing concept in retailing,” said Levy.
The representatives stressed that most of the time the showrooms ship their own goods, saving more than 50 percent in freight charges, and the buyers don’t have to worry that merchandise will be sold up or not cut. This means completion rates on orders are close to 100 percent.
As Charles Mizrahi of the Charles Jacob showroom put it, “We all whistle to a slightly different tune, but we’re striving to create a cohesive atmosphere on the floor.”
Listed below are the 11 showrooms on the fifth floor:

Peggy Quinn — 5N105
Cindy Oakes — 5N106
Ann & Jonathan Ann — 5E108
Camille Sheppard — 5E111
Charles Mizrahi (rep: Charles Jacob) — 5E112 Dan Cartwright — 5S113
Craig Michael (rep: Craig Levy) — 5S114
Don Schmidt — 5S115
Jack Eun — 5S116
Bill Carter — 5W119A
Wholesale Apparel Inc. (rep: Joy Cunningham) — 5W121A

The Atlanta Apparel Mart has hired the advertising and marketing firm of Balet & Albert to kick off the restructuring of the mart. “Our main job is to equate this building with fashion in the minds of the buyers,” explained Marc Balet, creative director and co-owner of Balet & Albert.
He said the firm was working on everything from show directories to direct mail and trade magazine advertising. “The goal is to give buyers something to talk about. Whatever you’re holding in your hands is the image that you have of the building,” he said.
The mart hopes to raise attendance 20 percent in the next three years.
Balet & Albert’s first major move was to erect the 65-foot-wide, 109-foot-tall mobile that hangs in the atrium of the apparel mart. Next on the agenda is the reopening kickoff party Friday, April 7. The mart hopes for a good response to the black-tie event, which features guest Nicole Miller, and models on ice skates. “It’s all about creating a buzz,” explained Balet.