As an update to this post written Thursday afternoon. I don't "do" gossip, but I thought I had done some "research". Apparently, venerable Chicago media sources had this Wrong. Sorry for repeating it!
JUST as it was posting, I received an e-mail regarding this newest "version" of "The Merchandise Mart is a now a buying source for everyone".
The timing was uncanny, and the subject matter is very sensitive to any of us "in the biz". Googling for more data had proliferated wrong information (interesting), so I wrote the blog, but HERE is the Real story.
Exerpted from an e-mail sent by Melvin Schlitt, Vice President, Design Center at The Merchandise Mart, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.
"Please let me state emphatically that we are not 'going public.' We are not making any departure from our existing business model which focuses on contributing to the success of all interested parties by supporting the role of the design community..."
I've just had the priviledge of speaking to Mel further in a phone call and he repeated that the Mart sources are not equipped to handle retail sales. That's not how their businesses are set up. The Luxe Home Center on the first floor, open on Saturday, is the exception (plus the Food Court).
It used to be that your needed a pass to go much past the center elevators. There were always dealers/showrooms that didn't care about the prevailing policy and just wanted to SELL, and anyone qualified. But buying wholesale is not the same as using a store and I don't think that the Mart showrooms are interested in doing the phone calling, expediting and troubleshooting that Designers and their staffs do.
Apparently other design centers HAVE tried this and gone back to their wholesale ways.
This will be always be a an ongoing topic...and I will continue to make calls and write updates.
Stay tuned for "buying related posts" which will be coming soon -- Remember how long it takes for the any thing related to furnishings to arrive, even now. If you want Turkey Day in a new dining room, order that new furniture in AUGUST!!