Lamar Thompson, president of Caffco International, discusses Caffco's history, product lines, designers, manufacturing capabilities and more.
- Q. Caffco will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2010. What can you tell site visitors about the company's history and growth?
- A. Since opening as an independent retail flower shop in Montgomery, Ala. in 1950, Caffco has vertically integrated from retailer to wholesaler to importer to manufacturer. Over the past six decades, we have developed a solid base as a company with creative design abilities and world-class manufacturing capabilities built on talented, dedicated employees who know how to serve our customers.
- Q. How did Caffco's China-based manufacturing facility help spur company growth and increase product diversity?
- A. Twenty two years ago, Caffco was one of the American pioneers in developing a Chinese manufacturing presence in China. During this time Caffco has expanded from floral items into seasonal products, home décor and gardening products. Our own production has enabled us to deliver quality products, delivered on time, at the right price. (Revisit the caffco.com site for an upcoming video on Caffco's Chinese manufacturing facility.)
- Q. How can customers benefit from Caffco's comprehensive product offerings - currently at more than 9,000 SKUs?
- A. We recognize that retailers are looking for fresh, unique items to offer customers, so over 70 percent of products that Caffco offers customers each season are new. We lead with products that are on target with where the market is moving and extend product offerings within design areas that are gaining momentum -- all the while ensuring that products have a unique twist that gives them that "Caffco look." While our complete range is indeed large we have made sure that our offerings to each segment of the market is tailored to that market. For example Tim Matt of our design team is solely focused on bringing the right products to the independent retail trade through our showrooms and catalogues.
- Q. Recently, Caffco has added new designs from fresh, up and coming designers. What is the strategy behind that move?
- A. Today's independent retailers are finding it critically important to be the first in their market to offer unique, different and on-trend products. Because Caffco feels those products are best delivered by new, innovative artists, we have become a "design incubator" for new talent. This in turn allows our retail customers to achieve a fresh, new identity in their marketplaces. Not only can we introduce new talent into the market place, we have by, virtue of our manufacturing and distribution capabilities, the ability to support a designer all the way through to development of their own independent business.
- Q. In January, Caffco will open a new showroom in the Gift Building at AmericasMart in Atlanta. What will this move mean for show attendees?
- A. This exciting move into a 5,700-square-foot showroom on the Gift Building's 17th floor reflects Caffco's continued migration from its floral roots to seasonal, gift and home décor products. We feel confident that this move will succeed in getting us closer to our independent gift customers and showcase fresh, unique designs from our new and existing designers.
- Q. Why is Caffco also increasing its web-based presence?
- A. With the "reconstruction" of our website, Caffco is expanding and improving our customers' web experience by offering additional product information, increased ordering capabilities, expanded customer service capabilities and more..The bigger picture here was to offer customers the new Atlanta showroom where they can touch and feel products - and greater access to the convenience of Caffco's updated website where the customer can order anytime and we can showcase new product all year long.