retail watch | Apr 29, 2024 |
Will new leadership at trade show giant Andmore help it navigate a soft market?

Big changes at the top for Andmore, the giant trade show and market center operator formerly known as International Market Centers, mark a seminal moment at the company—the end of one era and the start of another.

Last Friday, Andmore owner Blackstone announced that Jonathan Pertchik would succeed longtime leader Bob Maricich as CEO; Marcich moves into the role of executive chairman, while his current number two, Dorothy Belshaw, remains in her role with the elevated title of president. Taken together, the moves mark a significant changing of the guard, both literally and figuratively.

Bob Maricich and Jonathan Pertchik
Bob Maricich and Jonathan PertchikCourtesy of Andmore

Maricich was a furniture industry veteran with no show or market management experience when he came on board at World Market Center, Andmore’s 5-million-square-foot Las Vegas showroom complex, during some of its darkest days in 2008, when the property was severely undercapitalized amid the Great Recession. At the time, there were some doubts about the future of the center, which was competing with the well-established market leaders that constituted the High Point Market.

But under Maricich’s leadership, World Market Center merged with the three biggest properties at High Point Market to form IMC in 2011. (Belshaw was critical in shaping the combined entity after joining the company in 2012.) Blackstone then acquired the company in 2017, and a year later added the AmericasMart complex in Atlanta, creating a 20-million-square-foot giant that now dominates the home furnishings wholesale market space.

Maricich, the consummate strategist, oversaw the merging and purging of the disparate pieces, including successes—like the company’s unified leasing and marketing departments—and failures, like its digital marketplace Juniper that never quite caught on.

Dorothy Belshaw
Dorothy BelshawCourtesy of Andmore

Belshaw, meanwhile, was instrumental in repositioning the Las Vegas property as a gift center in addition to its core furniture and mattress base. She also helped lead AmericasMart to secure the casual furniture show, bringing a slew of new exhibitors to a building that had lost rug and furniture tenants over the years while retaining its spot as the leading gift market in the industry.

Now, as Belshaw keeps her second-in-command position with an enhanced title, the reins are being turned over Pertchik, another newcomer to the trade show and market space—but one with extensive experience running large companies, mostly in the hospitality sector. He was most recently CEO of TravelCenters of America, the giant operator of more than 270 highway centers under several brands, a position he took in 2019. In 2023, under his reign, TCA was bought by the gas and oil company BP; Pertchik left several months later.

Exactly what Pertchik’s mandate for Andmore will be is as yet unknown. (In the announcement of his appointment, his boilerplate statement said only, “I look forward to leading
Andmore into its next chapter.”) In the meantime, tenants and market attendees likely won’t see any immediate changes. The company has continued to integrate its staff among the three key geographical properties while navigating the current softness in the overall home business. Atlanta might be considered the most stable of its holdings with that huge gift and home decor base; High Point remains the center of the furniture business, even as that center continues to tilt toward interior designers and away from its retail dealer core. Las Vegas might be the most challenged of its properties, as it works to redefine its role in the bigger gift and home space.

In the meantime, Maricich is expected to be on hand for upcoming shows, while Pertchik assumes his new role and Belshaw takes on new responsibilities. Exactly what Blackstone has in mind for all of them is unknown. The private equity firm describes itself as “the world's largest alternative asset manager”—as such, it constantly churns its real estate investment holdings, while at the same time retaining some for far longer than the usual three- to five-year period. With the calendar now on year seven for Andmore, the next move is up to Blackstone. The company may hold more than $1 trillion in assets worldwide, but its wholesale market properties remain of most concern to the home and gift industry.


Warren Shoulberg is the former editor in chief for several leading B2B publications. He has been a guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business; received honors from the International Furnishings and Design Association and the Fashion Institute of Technology; and been cited by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media as a leading industry expert. His Retail Watch columns offer deep industry insights on major markets and product categories.

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