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Eco-Friendly Program Planned For High Point

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Recognizing the importance of sustainability in the home furnishings industry, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) has partnered with the Sustainable Furniture Council to create several opportunities for market goers to learn about current offerings of sustainable home furnishing products and to learn more about the importance of adopting sustainable practices in their businesses. The spring High Point Market, March 26 – April 1, 2007 will be the launching pad for GREENStyle, the first eco-friendly market initiative in the home furnishings industry. “As we spoke to more and more retailers and manufacturers, it became clear that sustainability in the home furnishings industry is no longer a passion of just a handful of people,” said Karen Olson, vice president of marketing for Merchandise Mart Properties in High Point. “The need for sustainable products is being driven by consumers and this demand is increasing every day. We felt it was important to offer a forum to educate buyers and manufacturers on this significant and growing trend.” The GREENStyle Pavilion on the first (top) floor of the Suites at Market Square, located in the heart of the High Point Market, will create a forum for education and product display. The pavilion will provide a centralized location for companies to showcase their eco-friendly products to buyers interested in purchasing sustainable products for their clients or their stores. Participants in the pavilion will demonstrate that style and sustainability can and do co-exist. Companies already confirmed to participate include: Urban Woods, Rathbone Imports, Organo Natural Furnishings, From The Mountain, SouthCone PaT’s Line, Rainforest Alliance. The Sustainable Furniture Council will have a booth in the pavilion for people to come by and learn more about the organization’s mission and how they can get involved. “We were very pleased when MMPI approached us about partnering with them on their GREENStyle initiative at the High Point Market,” said Gerry Cooklin, president of the Sustainable Furniture Council. “MMPI has the facilities and means for bringing people together, and we are looking forward to contributing our knowledge and expertise on the subject of sustainability to their program offerings.” Susan Inglis, treasurer for the Sustainable Furniture Council added, “The furniture industry taking responsibility for sustainability is particularly imperative because the highest value that these raw materials give is being made into furniture. The High Point Market is a great opportunity for us to reach a critical mass of industry professionals to continue educating them on the importance of preserving our natural resources.” Retailers and pavilion participants expressed their excitement about the first program to guide buyers in sourcing eco-friendly products in the home furnishings industry. This allows manufacturers to reach a greater mass of furniture buyers than they could at a green-specific tradeshow. “I think it is great that Merchandise Mart Properties and the High Point Market are on the forefront of introducing this new category and bringing to light the importance of sustainability in the home furnishings industry,” said Dennis Rose from Eclectic Home (Portland, Oregon). “And, organizing vendors in one area certainly makes it easier for buyers.” “Organo Natural Furnishings is committed to bringing green into the mainstream and there is no place more visible and valuable to the mainstream than the High Point Furniture Market,” said John Stein, owner of Organo Natural Furnishings. “Having an area of the market specifically focused on green will allow us in a collective way to show buyers that green can be a beautiful part of anyone's home.” "Creating one centralized location for green products provides a focal point for buyers looking for eco-friendly product," said Trevor Webb, President of Urban Woods. "In a market as large and comprehensive as High Point Market, this is a great benefit to both participants and buyers." The GREENStyle Party, presented by MMPI, High Point Market Authority and the Sustainable Furniture Council, and sponsored by Furniture Today, will be held Thursday, March 29 from 6-8 pm in the Century Courtyard. All are invited to join in this evening honoring the importance of sustainability in home furnishings. The party will feature celebrity guest Danny Seo, best-selling author, columnist, radio talk-show host, and eco-friendly lifestyle advocate. The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a story about Seo under the headline “The next Martha Stewart is young, green, and a guy.” During the party, Seo will give away signed copies of his books titled “Simply Green”. The evening will feature live entertainment and complimentary food and drinks. The GREENStyle Map produced by MMPI, Home Furnishings Business and the Sustainable Furniture Council will highlight companies participating in the GREENStyle Pavilion, Sustainable Furniture Council members, and manufacturers currently using BiOH™ polyols. The map, designed to be a guide for buyers looking for eco-friendly products while at High Point Market, will be available in the GREENStyle Pavilion on the first floor of the Suites at Market Square. The map is sponsored by Cargill, producer of BiOH™ brand polyols, the first commercially successful bio-based polyols to be used in flexible foams. GREENStyle will be launched at the spring High Point Market, March 26 – April 1, 2007 in the Suites at Market Square. The GREENStyle Pavilion and Party are open to all interested in learning more about the importance of sustainability and the beautiful product being produced with reduced impact on the environment. “The market for sustainable products is growing quickly,” said Olson. “So, we see our GREENStyle initiative as having greater importance with each subsequent High Point Market. We’re excited to establish High Point as THE home for green home furnishings.” Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) is a trade show and property management firm, specializing in managing buildings devoted to wholesale showrooms and commercial office space. MMPI produces more than 300 trade shows, market events and conferences each year. MMPI manages The Merchandise Mart and 350 West Mart Center in Chicago; Market Square, the Suites at Market Square, Hamilton Market, Plaza Suites, Furniture Plaza and the National Furniture Mart in High Point, N.C.; the Architects & Designers Building and 7 W New York in New York; the Boston Design Center in Boston; the L.A. Mart in Los Angeles; and the Washington Design Center and Federal Center Southwest in Washington, D.C. Vornado Realty Trust, owner of MMPI, based in New York City, is a fully integrated equity real estate investment trust. Vornado’s common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and are traded under the symbol VNO. The Sustainable Furniture Council is a non-profit industry association committed to promoting sustainable practices within the home furnishings industry and raising awareness among consumers and buyers. They believe that sustainable practices are those that are best for the environment, local economies and social equity. The first meeting of the Sustainable Furniture Council was held at the October 2005 High Point Market.