Brian Casey is president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority, which oversees the world’s oldest and largest home furnishings market in High Point, N.C. Daily Journal Business Editor Dennis Seid, who is at the fall market, conducted an interview with Casey via e-mail last week.
Q: What do you see the role of the High Point Market in the furniture industry?
A: The High Point Market is the largest home furnishings show in the world, attracting attendees and exhibitors from 106 countries. This is where the greatest number of new product introductions across all categories of home furnishings are shown for the first time. The High Point Market is truly the business conduit in bringing this new product to the floors of retail stores and ultimately into the consumer’s home.
Q: I’ve heard from buyers and exhibitors that there are too many furniture markets. What is your opinion? Timing of the markets seems to be quite an issue, especially here in Tupelo. Is there a solution of some kind you’d like to see?
A: I think the comment of too many shows is really only relevant to the individual. People support several shows and, more times than not, attend markets based on a very regional or specific product price point. There are a lot of retail operations out there that have very different needs for their floors. If there wasn’t that variety, you most likely would not need as many shows.
It is our perspective that the economy will drive down the number of shows. Consolidation and weak business will force the industry to find greater efficiency in their respective businesses, which means they will attend markets that provide the greatest variety of products and price points, and that is exactly what the High Point Market does.
Cost of travel and duplication of product among markets does not promote efficiency in the participation of both exhibitors and buyers in several shows. However, very small retailers will look to ease of access to markets to reduce travel time and cost.
I would say that if they are serious about their business, they should attend at least one High Point Market per year, where they will be introduced to products that they won’t see anywhere else.
Q: High Point and Las Vegas are the “big” players in the market game, and Tupelo seems to have settled into a smaller, regional niche. How do you view the Tupelo Furniture Market?
A: Tupelo serves a very specific niche, as does Las Vegas. We do not consider either market competitive to us and as long as buyers receive some element of value from them, they will continue to deliver access to those groups they serve.
NEMS Daily Journal