HAVE YOU EVER wondered how Costco
furniture buyers always know just the right
products to bring into the warehouses? It all
starts with a week of research in High Point,
North Carolina, at the International Home
Furnishings Market to find out what’s popular and which trends are on the horizon.
Costco furniture buyers Deirdre
Bondarev and Brett Jackson, costco.com furniture buyer Gina Newton, along with their
assistant buyers, join roughly 70,000 other
attendees twice a year (April and October) at
the largest furnishings-industry trade show to
peruse displays in 188 buildings—about 12
million square feet of showroom space.
“After you go to a number of showrooms,
you can spot the trends,” says Deirdre. “You see
colors and designs repeating. You get a good
sense of what’s hot.”
When the team attended the show in
October, here’s what was in vogue: sleek
lines, brown leather furniture and upholstery
colors in spice tones such as cinnamon,
sage green and paprika. Also popular is
downsized furniture to satisfy the needs of
baby boomers who are moving from big
houses to smaller condos.
Deirdre is also hearing requests for bedroom furniture that accommodates popular
flat-screen TVs. Along with shelving units
made to fit the slender TVs, members are asking for beds with no footboards so they can
watch TV in bed.
Deirdre and Brett agree that identifying
trends that will appeal to Costco’s members is
easiest to do as a group. The first sign that an
item is right for Costco’s members is that the
buyers all agree on it.
“The hottest thing since sliced bread
doesn’t always translate well into what we
[Costco] are doing,” says Brett.
The process, he explains, unfolds like this.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF HIGHPOINTMARKET.ORG
Above: The International Home
Furnishings Market in High Point, North
Carolina, draws 70,000 visitors twice a
year to its showrooms. Left: More than
2,000 furniture exhibitors display items
that range from contemporary to classic.
Around six months after High Point, trendy
items start popping up in retail outlets. It takes
another six months for those furnishings to be
available at Costco. By then, members have
seen and priced them. “When these furnishings show up at Costco with an obvious price
difference, members see the value and understand that it’s a great deal,” says Brett.
Deirdre elaborates, “As much as we want
to jump on a trend, we make sure an item is
constructed well. It should be a classic. Our
members enjoy a quality piece of furniture and
know it when they see it.”—Stephanie E. Ponder
IF YOU ENJOY entertaining, the Cameron
Park Dining Collection is definitely worth
considering. Its classic 18th-century design
offers the utmost in elegance. Its size makes
hosting large gatherings a pleasure.
The handcrafted table is 76 inches long
and includes two 16-inch leaves, allowing it
to expand to 108 inches, easily accommodating eight people. It comes with a vinyl
bag for storing the leaves and a custom
table pad to protect it when you’re entertaining. When not in use, some of the eight
chairs in this collection can be
used as accents in a home office
or other areas.
The overall style of the collection is quite formal, in the classic
vein of Thomas Chippendale, an
18th-century master furniture
designer. The chairs are hand-carved. The table features intricate hand-carved mahogany and
maple veneers and bead molding
as well as ball-and-claw tripod
pedestal legs at either end, a
This collection, which will be
available later this month at most
warehouses, really outfits your
dining room for the rich, warm
experience of entertaining—at an