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This Year’s K/BIS Proves To Be Light On Majap Exhibitors

CHICAGO — The impact of the major
appliance industry’s four-year-long malaise
was evident at last month’s 47th annual
Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (K/
BIS), where majap makers filled less than
half of one exhibit hall at Chicago’s Mc-
Cormick Place.

Traffic appeared heavy within the diminished
floor space, although the relatively
light turnout by an estimated
30,000 attendees similarly reflected ongoing
weakness in the housing market.

Only two of the top global appliance
vendors were there — GE and Whirlpool’s
Jenn-Air brand — although other
major players, including LG and Sears’
Kenmore brand, held court offsite.

The dearth of majap giants provided
a higher profile for smaller niche suppliers,
although opinion was mixed on the
merits of this year’s show. While most
booths were buzzing with activity, some
exhibitors bemoaned the quality of the
attendees, i.e. decorators vs. dealers and
distributors, and expressed interest in a
proposed major appliance section at next
year’s International CES.

Ironically, next year’s K/BIS returns
to the home of the electronics show, the
Las Vegas Convention Center, April 26-
28, 2011.

Meanwhile, industry executives expressed
guarded optimism about a major
appliance rebound. Doug Moore,
president of Sears home appliances, was
pleased with consumer response to the
federally funded appliance rebate program,
which has varied from “good to
great” on a state-by-state basis.

Variables include the size of the state’s
allocation, the amount of the actual rebates,
and the ease with which consumers
or retailers could process the paperwork,
he told TWICE. Some markets, including
New York, generated a Black Fridaylike
furor, with customers lining up outside
stores before opening, he said.

For Mike Flynn, sales VP at Avanti
Products, business is up “dramatically”
this year, suggesting that the worst
of the recession may be over. Sales were
down for the company in 2009, he said,
but Avanti managed to maintain profits
by cutting costs and “margining up.”

The following is a rundown of introductions
by Avanti and other K/BIS exhibitors:


The specialty appliance maker
showed a 15-inch-wide, built-in undercounter
refrigerator that’s UL-approved
for outdoor placement that ships this
month; a 24-inch-wide dual-zone stainless-
steel mobile beverage and wine cooler,
available in mid-June; and an all-in-one
“compact kitchen” replete with sink, cooktop,
refrigerator and storage drawers.


The cooking company
highlighted its Honeycomb electric cooktop
at the show. The unit can be fitted into
virtually any countertop material and in
a number of layout options thanks to its
customizable “honeycomb”-style heating
elements. Each honeycomb is controlled
by one centrally positioned element with
sensor touch controls that allow programmable
cooking times of up to 99 minutes,
while the sleek surface allows for easy
cleanup of spills and features pan detection
and a child safety lock.

Liebherr Export AG:

The German
manufacturer debuted the Energy Starrated
CS 2060 and HC 2060 36-inch
single-door fridges. Part of the company’s
larger capacity product series, the
high-performance products offer a dual
refrigeration system with separate superefficient, variable speed compressors for
the refrigerator and the freezer compartments.
Other features include double
freezer drawers on telescopic rails, LED
light columns, ceiling lighting, vegetable
and freezer drawer illumination, and an
icemaker with advanced water filtering.

True Refrigeration:

The premium commercial
supplier displayed its Private Reserve
wine cabinet, a signature piece from
its residential series of high-performance
undercounter beverage refrigerators. The
company’s “balanced refrigeration” system
keeps the desired temperature constant
within +1 to -1 degree throughout the cabinet.
The cabinet holds 53 wine bottles in state-of-the-art glide-out shelving.


The specialty oven manufacturer
highlighted its 30-inch doublewall
speed-cook oven. The upper cook
cavity incorporates TurboChef ’s patented
“airspeed” technology that can prepare
food up to 15 times faster than a
conventional oven, while the lower cavity
serves as a traditional convection oven.
The company’s signature design incorporates
a premium stainless-steel chassis
and polished-aluminum door handles,
with a variety of colors available for
the upper door. An analog clock and timer,
precise dial-control knobs and a color
LCD interface featuring the company’s
cook-wheel and cook navigator functions
enhance functionality, visibility and ease,
the manufacturer said.