DENNIS SEID: Furniture market gears up for show

 

DENNIS SEID

DENNIS SEID

It’s that time again – the fall edition of the Tupelo Furniture Market. And according to market officials, it should be a well-attended event. They say the number of preregistered buyers for the fall market – which officially runs Thursday to Sunday – has exceeded the past two markets.

But more importantly perhaps, officials say, is the number of new and international retailers coming to this week’s market. About a third of the preregistered buyers are coming for the first time, a good sign.

Now will that translate into thousands of buyers and retailers roaming the halls and shopping the 400 or so exhibitors?

We’ll have to wait and see.

You have to admire the efforts of the Tupelo Furniture Market to step up its game to recruit new exhibitors and buyers in a trade show industry that has gotten only more competitive.

Tupelo is no High Point or Las Vegas, to be sure. The All-America City doesn’t have the flash and entertainment of Vegas, and it doesn’t have the deep, vast resources of the country’s premier market in High Point.

But Tupelo always has been quite upfront about its core mission: We’re here to do business, given with a strong dose of Southern hospitality.

It’s easy to get around the city and to get around the market. Everything’s on one floor. No climbing stairs or elevators except when you’re in a hotel.

Now back to some official market-speak about this week’s market:

“We are exactly where we expected to be and extremely satisfied with the results of our marketing efforts and our overall numbers thus far,” said TFM President Kevin Seddon. “After our last event in February, we performed a thorough review of our customer databases, identified areas in which we wanted to improve, and developed a focused plan, specific objectives and tactics that would increase our effectiveness in these areas. However, the results have still been somewhat surprising.

“We knew we would increase our attendance from key states we targeted. We also were confident we would increase the number of retailers that we consider mid- and high-volume sales revenue producers. What surprised us was the number of new retailers that registered for this fall’s market, and the fact that we were able to have an immediate impact on international accounts.”

Of course, you’d expect market officials to be positive. They all are, whether it’s Tupelo, High Point or Las Vegas.

Do we honestly believe anyone will say they expect a poorly attended market or they are disappointed at what they’re seeing? Nope.

And you’ll hear few exhibitors tell you they had a terrible market. It happens, but it’s rare. Few want their competitors to know how their market went. Some will talk about their disappointment and how they had hoped for a better turnout. Still others will talk about having their best market ever.

It’s a game of poker in many aspects. Don’t let your competition know too much. Keep them guessing. And it’s all fun to cover. I’ve been doing this 10 years, and I’ve been playing the game, too.

But here is the absolute truth: Let’s welcome everybody to town because they mean so much to the furniture industry and the economy of Northeast Mississippi.

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.