By Dennis Seid
Deeming the inaugural Tunica Furniture Market an “unbelievable” success, co-founder Scott Morton said the show will return next January.
“It went really well,” Morton said Thursday, the last day of the event. “It slowed down (Thursday) mainly due to the weather, but the business on Wednesday made up for it.”
The Tunica market was strategically positioned for small furniture retailers and manufacturers who wanted to get product in stores before the hectic tax season.
Morton, who said he won’t be making any money on the show, was able to attract 44 exhibitors. They covered about 50,000 square feet in three casino-based locations.
“I didn’t hear anything negative from anybody,” Morton said. “Everybody was happy. Everyone said they’re coming back next year, and we saw some companies who visited and said they wished they had been here.”
Morton did admit he received some suggestions about future markets.
“Some people would like to see everything under one roof, and we’re working on that,” he said, indicating that he was eyeing the Tunica Arena and Expo Center. That venue has 48,000 square feet of climate-controlled floor space, plus an additional 100,000 square feet of space in an adjacent pavilion.
Larry Lang, co-owner of Lang Furniture, said the show “went about as we expected.”
“It could have been better, but the weather played a big part of that,” he said. “We had several dealers from nearby states who said they couldn’t make it because of the weather.”
Still, Lang said he would return next year.
Howard Gaskin, the sales manager for Houlka-based Collums Furniture, said opening-day business “was really good.” He also said Collums would return to Tunica.
Morton didn’t have any official figures for attendance, but estimated more than 500 people attended the market, with many of them placing orders.
“One thing for sure is we’re coming back next year,” Morton said. “And another thing we’re sure of is we’re not going to have a summer show … one show a year is enough.”