500+ Showrooms Set to Open for August Atlanta Market



Expanded Exhibitor Search Tools Launch to Support Brand Discovery

ATLANTA – August 4, 2020 – More than 500 manufacturers, representative groups and importers across home décor, gift and lifestyle will be open throughout the six-day showroom-only Atlanta Market, August 13-18, 2020, reports International Market Centers (IMC). To aid buyers in identifying which showrooms are open, Atlanta Market has launched new filtering tools on AmericasMart.com to identify each showroom’s Summer 2020 Market status (open or digital-only) and to specify brands available through ShopZio, a B2B ecommerce platform powered by IMC_di.

“At least 75% of the Atlanta Market showrooms will be open for the Summer 2020 market, which is more than originally projected through earlier summer surveys,” reports Bob Maricich, IMC CEO. “Coupled with our new web planning tools, we are confident that retailers and designers will find a robust number of resources showcasing both new introductions and best sellers at Atlanta Market this summer.”

Highlighting the showroom collection are nearly 30 new and expanded showrooms that will be open for the August market. Additionally, IMC’s Atlanta NEXT progress continues in Summer 2020 with the debut of a new lifestyle collection presented by Appelman Schauben and Ivystone (Building 2, Floor 11); the transformation of Building 2, Floor 18 into a foundational gift, garden, seasonal and accessory resource; and cross-campus moves including Hester & Cook to Building 2 from Building 1 and Three Hands, Sagebrook Home, IMAX Worldwide and Diamond Star Corporation to Building 1 from Building 2.

Improved and Enhanced Sourcing Tools

For Summer Market, IMC has enhanced the AmericasMart online directory to help buyers identify open showrooms, as well as ShopZio-enabled B2B e-commerce exhibitors. The website also offers a comprehensive listing of “digital only” brands, which include showrooms closed during the August Market, as well as a full roster of exhibitors from the suspended temporary trade show presentation.

The new website filters augment a suite of interactive digital tools available for the first time this summer: IMC_di’s ShopZio Marketplace, an interim B2B buying tool that is offered free of charge to IMC customers through the end of the year, features 80+ Atlanta Market exhibitors among its hundreds of brands with more than 1.2 million shopable SKUs. Additionally, Atlanta Market’s Catalog ConneXion — which launches this week— will feature hundreds of interactive exhibitor keyword-searchable catalogs with hundreds of thousands of product SKUs, providing product discovery, appointment setting, plus e-commerce through the ShopZio Marketplace.

These market planning tools and more are available now at AmericasMart.com/AtlantaRemote. An augmented digital and printed Atlanta Market Buyer’s Guide also will be available during the market week.

While they are open for Atlanta Market, showrooms will follow IMC’s Together Safely recommendations, which include contactless entry, the use of masks, observing occupancy limits to encourage social distancing, frequent cleaning of shared spaces and more. Appointment setting, which is recommended, is not required for entry to the market. The full Together Safely plan is available online at TogetherSafely.com.

“We are immensely proud of the efforts our showroom partners are undertaking to join us in making the Summer 2020 Atlanta Market a safe and productive environment for retailers and designers,” adds Maricich. “Their commitment to embracing our safety standards and supporting our new tools allows us to present a sourcing opportunity that will help buyers get back to business.”

Atlanta Market is the industry’s premier gift, décor and lifestyle market, housing the nation’s largest gift product mix complemented by a broad selection of home décor at AmericasMart Atlanta. Preregistration, which is required for the Summer 2020 staging, August 13-18, 2020, is now open. For more information, visit AtlantaMarket.com.

About International Market Centers: International Market Centers (IMC) is the world’s largest operator of premier showroom space for furniture, gift, home décor, rug, and apparel industries. International Market Centers owns and operates nearly 20 million square feet of world-class exhibition space in High Point, N.C., Las Vegas and Atlanta. IMC’s mission is to build and operate an innovative, sustainable, profitable and scalable platform for the furniture, gift, home décor, rug, and apparel industries. For more information on IMC, visit IMCenters.com.


Chelsea Peabody Bohannon, cbohannon@imcenters.com,  404.220.2141

Cathy Steel, csteel@imcenters.com, 203.340.9251



MassageLuXe Welcomes New Chief Growth Officer to Executive Team

ST. LOUIS, M.O. (July  30, 2020)MassageLuXe, a leading massage franchise, is excited to welcome franchise expert Kristen Pechacek to its executive team. As the Chief Growth Officer, Pechacek will accelerate the brand’s mission to expand from 68 units to 250 units within the next five years.

As MassageLuXe’s first-ever Chief Growth Officer, Pechacek’s top priority will be to grow franchise sales. Additionally, she will help the existing franchisee base by growing spa membership prospects and building revenue.

Pechacek brings with her a wealth of franchise and marketing experience. She is a Certified Franchise Executive with the International Franchise Association (IFA). She is also a member of the IFA 2020 Committee and the IFA Marketing & Innovation Committee. Pechacek recently served as Digital Marketing Director for Self Esteem Brands, LLC, which represents various fitness and spa brands in North America. She began her career in franchising by working in digital marketing with the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL.

“I’m a player and a coach, and that’s what MassageLuXe needs at their growth stage,” says Pechacek. “I can marry strategic thinking and overarching plans with rolling up my sleeves and getting the job done. As the new Chief Growth Officer, I will lay down the plans and help execute them. MassageLuXe needs a leader who can provide strategic vision and overarching strategy for growth, but one who is also able to send the emails and write the social posts to facilitate that growth.”

“Kristen is a visible player in the franchise game. One of the important things was to bring someone in for our small brand who has done well in the massage franchise membership-based game,” says MassageLuXe CEO Mark Otter. “Kristen has had success in growing franchise sales, but she also understands the importance of helping current franchisees, how to build their business, and also the customer journey.”

This hire comes as the successful culmination of a retained executive search engagement with Global Talent Solutions (GTS), the franchise industry’s leading executive search firm. Pechacek is the first Chief Growth Officer at MassageLuXe, and the hire is the first of a string of executive hires the brand will make with GTS as part of this growth cycle.

In an article he wrote for Forbes, Otter discussed the importance of brand growth and learning from others in the industry.

“If you start a business in a crowded field, you have the benefit of looking at not just what other competitors are doing right, but also what they’re doing wrong,” says Otter. “Then you can work on your business model so it’s even better.”

To view Otter and MassageLuXe’s entire profile in Forbes, visit:


For more information about MassageLuXe, please visit: https://massageluxe.com/.

For more information about MassageLuXe franchise opportunities, please visit: https://franchise.massageluxe.com/.

For more information about franchise marketing, please visit: https://919marketing.com/franchise-marketing/

For more information about  franchise public relations, please visit: https://919marketing.com/franchise-pr/

For more information about 919 Insights for franchise brands, please visit: https://919marketing.com/franchise-marketing-analytics/

About MassageLuXe

Founded in 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri, MassageLuXe is a fast-growing franchise-based spa company with a mission of delivering the highest quality massage while providing a comfortable, relaxing and luxurious environment to clients. To further this mission, MassageLuXe also grants clients access to Repechage facials and waxing services.

Massage is a service that improves health, promotes relaxation and overall well-being for the consumer, and has been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years. MassageLuXe currently has 68 locations across 16 states and is planning to expand to 250 locations in the next five years.

Virginia Becomes First to Adopt Workplace Safety Rules in Response to COVID-19

And other states are considering the same. The new ruling includes implementing a system for self-assessment for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and procedures that will prevent sick employees and other outside individuals from infecting healthy workers. 

Read the full article and requirements here – the good news, Prospr can help you and your workforce stay safe and compliant. 
On Prospr: 

• Digitally distribute pre-shift COVID symptom checks in English & Spanish. 
• Automatically alert managers to any concerning responses to get in front of exposure risks. 
• Easily track or export responses to CSV by location, team, or team member.
• House all new safety Policy and Procedure in-app, with employee e-sign, to ensure new SOPS stay accessible and top of mind. 
• Give your team a seamless way to swap, and cover, shifts if they need to call out.

Learn more about Prospr

Michael Todd Beauty Takes Over Clarisonic Replacement Brushes

gcimagazine.com – Michael Todd Beauty, creator of the Soniclear brand of sonic facial cleansing brushes, has announced its plans to launch a line of Clarisonic compatible replacement brushes. The decision is in response to retail partners and Clarisonic users alike reaching out for a trusted source for replacement brushes following L’Oréal’s decision to shut down Clarisonic.

click here for the full story

Retiring Retirement: The Rise Of Life’s Third Age

frobes.com –

In an earlier post, we explored how the practice we call “retirement” is transforming under the influence of the Baby Boomers. Now let’s look ahead to what we anticipate happens next.

In the first chapter of James Michener’s captivating 1959 book Hawaii, he talks about how for millions of years, large tectonic plates were slowly moving and grinding against each other far below the sea that we now call the Pacific Ocean. As these forces converged, masses of land started to rise up from those plates and ultimately surfaced as beautiful Polynesia.

And so it is with the future of retirement. For thousands of years, medical, economic, social, and demographic forces have been shifting and often grinding against each other. From this interplay a new stage of life has been emerging and morphing. Worldwide, nearly a billion people are in or near retirement, and they enjoy many more options and opportunities for how to spend their newfound time affluence.

In 2004, we wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “It’s Time to Retire Retirement,” for which we were proud to receive a McKinsey Award (tied with the legendary Peter Drucker). We now believe the word “retirement” is reaching the end of its line. It’s far too small and narrow for what is now emerging. Its positive connotations – freedom, leisure – tell only part of the story. Its negative connotations – withdrawal, decline – are increasingly problematic. The words “retirement” and “retiree” will most likely linger for another decade or so, but their meanings will evolve as the lifescape of retirement keeps expanding, disaggregating, and diversifying.

click here for the full article at forbes.com

Pure Prognostication or more commonly known as “Talk on the Street”

2020, Q3 and Q4. We will muddle along and keep trying to open facilities regardless of a vaccine. Across the country there are up to 60% of facilities open (in some way or form) doing 25-75% of their normal business, at less profit as they figure out rent, cleaning costs, getting employees back to work and other details of running a daily business

2021 A vaccine is critical, we can’t get back on track till a working vaccine allows for people to go “out.” We are a community of people who flock and gather and the current “stay in place” is not working for most people. Manufacturers and Distributors who are in Retail have stayed alive and are surviving (thriving).

There is very little wholesale buying from the spa channel and only to fill in products as needed, not to fill shelves. Many facilities are waiting to see what the next stimulus looks like so they can plan for future dollars. The extra $600 per week has hurt the ability of many spas to get staff back to work who make no bones about staying unemployed to collect the benefit, which ends July 31.

If/when we get a Vaccine, if government monies come through, if the stock market stays healthy, if the real estate business stays strong (and 13 other things to difficult to explain), we will see a reopening of our industry (and the rest of the world) and expect the spa channel to get back to “normal” in 2022. Next year we would hope to see our industry back to 75%.

In summary; nothing is written in stone, all bets are off and other pithy expressions. The spas that are open are doing amazing. We just need more of our total economy to get open!