By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
The Tupelo Furniture Market is poised to have its highest-attended market in 10 years, and officials say the market’s silver anniversary is just one reason.
Preregistration is up 100 percent from the last market, permanent exhibit space is 97 percent sold and temporary space is nearly 90 percent sold.
The strong response for the fall market – which begins in two weeks – is a result of a lot of work, said TFM owner and CEO V.M. Cleveland.
“Immediately after our last show in February, we began a review of our business and then executed a plan that we believed would maximize our market position, increase awareness and create excitement,” he said. “From management and sales personnel to infrastructure, operations and marketing, all areas of our business, as well as the industry itself, were taken into consideration. This upturn is the end result.”
A new digital sign is being built in front of the sprawling market complex on Coley Road, and the market has several promotions in place for its 25th anniversary celebration.
“We’re going to be giving away flatscreen TVs and iPads throughout the show to registered buyers,” Cleveland said.
More than 80 exhibitors at the fall market will be giving away the items, along with other prizes, including some of their own products. Other exhibitors also are offering Tupelo-only incentives to buyers.
Jim Sneed, the CEO of Affordable Furniture, said he anticipates a good market, despite some recent softness in the economy and the furniture industry.
“It’s always been a good order-writing market, the biggest that we attend,” he said.
Market officials also said hotel reservations for the week of the market are up significantly, and the market’s own Hostess Home program has seen an uptick as well. The program, open to market buyers and exhibitors, includes homeowners in the area who rent their homes during the market.
Shari Long Neely, director of sales at Tupelo’s Hilton Garden Inn, said the hotel is booked for the week.
“We always do well during the furniture market, but this year we are ahead of schedule, and my understanding is that hotel space throughout the city is nearing capacity,” she said.
The Tupelo Furniture Market at celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The fall market is Aug. 16-19.