International Housewares Association (IHA) president and CEO, Derek Miller has written to the home and housewares community in relation to The Inspired Home Show in Chicago being held from 5 to 7 March 2022.

Despite the challenges of the last two years, Miller believes the industry is still standing together as it continues to supply desired products to consumers.

“Our industry is resilient, and after the past two years, we are no doubt ready to take on the many opportunities that 2022 will offer, and I look to the coming month as a turning point when we will once again be able to come together to discover new products and supply chains, to learn from industry peers and experts, and to connect with current and new partners,” he said in the letter.

“That does not mean that everything will be easy, or the same as it was in 2019, because it won’t. In light of the challenges created by Covid, ongoing labor and shipping issues, The Inspired Home Show 2022 will be smaller in size this year, but with perhaps more opportunity than ever.

“Our industry is made up of hundreds of small, mid-size and large companies, and while some have chosen to sit this year out, once the last display is set and the doors at McCormick Place open, we will have over 1,000 suppliers on hand to display their latest products and innovations.

“After two years without an industry gathering, consider how many new products, new brands and new people have entered our industry, and how exciting it will be to discover and meet with them for the first time while also reconnecting face-to-face with friends and colleagues we’ve only seen through a computer screen for the past two years,” he continued.

The 2022 Show will have strong support from most of the major buyers with 82% of the top US retailers indicating their plans to attend.

IHA is also working with independent and specialty buying groups such as Gourmet Catalog and HTI to bring their retail members to the Show.

“IHA staff have had over 900 face-to-face meetings with specialty retailers since September—an effort that will continue throughout February. The results of these partnerships and meetings show a strong need and desire by this industry segment for the Show, and we look forward to welcoming our independent and specialty friends to Chicago next month,” Miller said.

IHA has been cooperating with Epistemix, a data science company that specialises in infectious disease prevention, to develop a plan that allows the industry to come together at the Show in a safe and productive manner. Epistemix projects the risk of infection at the Show to be less than 0.1% of all attending, placing the event below the CDC threshold for safe travel and gathering.

“In addition to the efforts being made by McCormick Place and the Show, IHA members are also doing their part—in fact, IRIS USA is supplying complimentary face masks that will be distributed during the Show, and Newell Brands and simplehuman are both supplying hand sanitation stations that will be placed throughout McCormick Place,” Miller said.

“It’s been far too long since our industry has gathered together in Chicago, and it’s time we come back together for three days of networking and product discovery. You may have seen our marketing messaging over the past several weeks that asks, What’s Been Missing? — the clear answer is that DiscoveryExplorationInspiration and Connection have been missing, and all can be found at The Inspired Home Show 2022 in Chicago,” he concluded.