The New York Tabletop Show® has emerged as the nation’s ultimate tabletop showcase. For the restaurateur, hospitality operator and the equipment dealer and supply professional the Midtown-Manhattan event is a must-see to experience what’s new and fresh in tabletop.
This year’s event scheduled for this month will be the first to be headed up by FortyOne Madison’s new director, Sr. Vice president Kristi Forbes. She takes over Laurie Burns’ position after a nine-year tenure. An abundance of new products will be on display starting April 10th through the 13rd for more than 120 of the world’s most renowned brands in tabletop in the95+ permanent showrooms at FortyOne Madison.
But this isn’t Forbes’ first foray into the tabletop business, who ascended the executive management ranks at AmericasMart Atlanta over the past 25 years. “I first started in gifts and then the last 10 years I was doing housewares and tabletop and so I’ve visited FortyOne Madison many times before,” she admits. “I’ve never missed a Tabletop show and came here primarily for inspiration. FortyOne Madison is the epicenter of tabletop and what AmericasMart did was prep me for this job from a perspective of relationships.”
Thanks to a variety of connections under Forbes’ belt, from the brands within the showrooms to the tabletop trade press this new position was a natural fit for Forbes who looks to build upon what the facility has already achieved and continue its notoriety as a global leader in tabletop. She wants to continue the previous set strategy of targeting the right brands and branding the building in general. In addition to leading a leasing team responsible for tabletop, gift, housewares and gourmet categories of showrooms, Forbes was also instrumental in creating and organizing numerous image-building and traffic-driving special events for her customer base. With thorough knowledge of the industry, Forbes has already seen a tremendous growth in foodservice and hospitality at FortyOne Madison. “Many of the brands have showrooms here that have established dedicated hospitality programs,” she explained. With two Tabletop shows a year, everyone in the business focuses on NYC to attend, including many restaurant owners, hotels and more, Forbes added.
For the Metro New York foodservice tabletop buyer, FortyOne Madison has evolved into a 52-week resource. “Since many of the showrooms are open daily for appointments with restaurants, chefs, hospitality professionals and the dealers and designers that support them now come in throughout the year to directly meet with these tabletop brands,” she mentioned.
In general, the tabletop niche has become quite popular thanks to the involvement of social media and the entertainment factor that many are now becoming interested in. Thanks to things like cooking shows, food networks, bloggers and social media influencers, more and more consumers are taking an interest in tabletop, which in turn means continued interested in retailers. “People want to know about these [tabletop] products and how to use them,” Forbes explains.
Forbes recognizes the importance of tabletop is more vital than ever, “due to the fact that foodservice operators are doing a lot of ‘mixing’ with their items to create tabletop signature,” Forbes observed. “It’s kind of cool since a trip to our show gives you a chance to experiment with so many different types of products.”
FortyOne Madison also looks at its role a resource to provide on-going tabletop education to the marketplaces it serves. So this month’s Spring showcase will kick off with a special seminar slated for Wednesday, April 11th. Industry professionals will gather at a Breakfast seminar: What Consumers Say About How the Tabletop Market Can Reinvent itself for the Future.
The FortyOne Madison team has simplified the process of accessing all that the iconic Midtown mart has to offer the industry professional. Forbes mentions they simply need to go to the website and pre-register, in addition of having proof of business in the industry to visit the various showrooms or attend either the April or October New York Tabletop Show. “We welcome hospitality,” she says. “We love that there is so much traffic and interest in our markets.
To register for the upcoming Forty One Madison Show, please visit their website.