He says, "This show is about color, quality -- and coffee."
This weekend, 1,700 exhibitors from nearly 40 countries will turn Chicago's McCormick Exposition Center into a major shopping center for buyers and sellers in the home and housewares trade.
These industry professionals and their products create all the hype for the latest consumer "must haves" to hit store shelves either tomorrow or in the next few months. The 2004 International Home and Housewares Show officially opens to the trade (not the public) March 20 and ends March 22.
The show features four product expos on one level: Wired & Well Expo (electronics & such); Dine & Design Expo; Clean & Contain Expo; Patio Park Expo (new this year). Here is what Flay found to be great new gets: some novel, some splurge items, and some "don't miss."
Empower Upright Vacuum Cleaner - by Hoover
Retail price: $149
Upright bag-less carpet sweeper with hush mode, so this product is much quieter than traditional vacuums. It has several power levels to effectively clean plush to short haired carpets. Downshifts power to effectively clean stand-alone lightweight flexible rugs without moving them all over the floor (the rug will stay in place as the sweeper moves back and forth). Has a retractable handle for easy storage. Furniture brush attachment, carry-handle and comes in color orange.
Melitta One-To-One Pod Brewing System - by Melitta
Retail price: $49.99
Available now at stores like Target, Linens 'n Things and other major retailers.
Single-serve coffee systems are presently all the rage. All are generally designed to use their own pre-packaged single-serve coffee. This particular brand not only brews coffee - so you get a more intense flavor than a drip filter - it also brews from four to six flavored teas (all pre-packaged for the product). The system brews four different flavor coffees. Color is a major selling feature of housewares today. This brew system comes in red, black, lime, orange, and white.
FUNtainers - by Thermos
Retail price: $9.99
Available at Target, Wal-Mart and other stores.
FUNtainers are whimsical looking and keep hot or cold substances stable at their appropriate temperature for as long as 10 hours.
Shuttle Chef - by Thermos
Retail price: $99
Available at specialty cookware shops
Also by Thermos is Shuttle Chef, a double-insulated food carrier that allows you to make chili for the football games and keep it hot (stable at a temperature close to what it was when you first put it in) for at least 4 hours.
Silicone Garlic Peeler - by Silicone Zone
Retail price: $6
Drop up to 3 small to medium size garlic cloves in garlic peeler. Roll back and forth on hard surface 8 - 12 times. Shake out peeled garlic cloves. Turn peeler inside out to clean.
Silicone Oven Mitt - by Silicone Zone
Retail price: $15
Features left- and right-hand design. Twists and grabs the way your hands do. It is safe to 675 degrees F. Silicone is the new all-purpose material, getting as popular as plastic in the kitchen world.
Chinese Cardboard Boxes - by HWI
Retail price: $3.99 to $4.99
Available summer 2004
Chinese Chopsticks - by HWI
Retail price: $3.99 to $4.99
Available summer 2004
Kitchenaid Waffle Baker - by KitchenAid
Retail price: $299
Double-barrel Belgian waffle maker that produces two 7-1/2 diameter by 1 1/4 inch thick waffles in less than 5 minutes. Deep ridges perfect for holding fresh fruit, ice cream, syrup, and other toppings. It has stainless steel, die-cast metal construction. The timer makes it easy to adjust darkness and crispiness of waffles. It has an over-bake indicator so waffles don't overcook or undercook.
Kitchenaid Frozen Dessert Maker - by KitchenAid
Retail price: $1,295
Prepares a variety of different frozen drinks and desserts, including ice cream; frozen yogurt, sorbet, gelato, granita, and margaritas. The system begins to chill almost immediately. Most desserts are ready within 30 minutes. It fits easily underneath wall cabinets on the countertop.
Sky With Lotus Bowls - by HWI
Retail price: $2.99 each for small; $4.99 each for large
Powered Cork Screw - by IGO Home Products
Retail price: $14.95
Available in small retail stores everywhere (now).
No twisting or pulling required. This effortless powered corkscrew plus foil cutter uses battery power to remove corks from wine bottles. Rest Powered Corkscrew on bottle so that corkscrew worm is centered on cork. Maintain a firm grip on the bottle and the Powered Corkscrew. Depress switch downward for approximately 15 seconds - when unit stops moving, the cork is removed. Once cork is removed, depress and hold switch upward until cork is ejected. Requires 4 AA batteries.
One Big Match - by One Big Match
Retail price: $10.95
Available at Sur La Table.
This 14-inch-long match is refillable and has a bright red scratch-resistant enameled flame tip. It will adjust the flame height for everything from candles to a charcoal grill. One Big Match is said to be safe - its length allows a fire to be lit from a distance. It also features sturdy metal construction and a child-resistant safety switch.