Trade expansionists advanced their cause further by forming the International Trade Mart (ITM). They intended that IH (International House) and ITM would complement each other and together would form the international program's foundation. The mart satisfied a longstanding ambition for an institution that could exhibit commodities and could provide a setting where buyer and seller could meet easily in New Orleans.
Since the city lacked a manufacturing base, buyers from, say, Mexico might—absent a mart in New Orleans—travel to, say, Toledo to purchase steel or glass. The resulting trade might well bypass New Orleans. But the mart, thought trade expansionists, would maximize the port's chances of handling this trade.