By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Furniture Market has a few more faces, and that’s by design.
In fact, TFM Chairman and CEO V.M. Cleveland has been on a hiring spree in the past year, adding at least 10 to the market’s staff.
The biggest hire last April was Kevin Seddon, who was named president of the 26-year-old market.
Seddon’s hiring, Cleveland said, “brought energy and effort to the market.”
Indeed, Seddon hit the ground running and helped the market celebrate its silver anniversary last fall.
By most accounts, it was a success, with attendance higher than it’s been for several years.
To continue that momentum, the market, led by Seddon’s efforts, has hired nine more people.
“We’ve added two buyer recruitment personnel, a new sales person, an IT person, four in maintenance and another person in administration,” Seddon said.
“When you’re growing, you have to manage that growth to sustain it,” he said.
It’s no coincidence, then, that the Spring Tupelo Furniture Market – which runs Thursday to Sunday – is seeing an uptick in buyers as well as exhibitors.
Since last year’s spring market, nearly 200 exhibitors have been added. Buyer preregistration is up 30 percent compared to the fall show, and the number of new buyers is up 20 percent.
Not only has the market added more employees, but it also has upgraded its technology.
New database management software, trade show management software have been installed, along with a badge-scanning system. The latter will allow exhibitors to quickly capture buyers’ contact information.
“It’s not new – it’s been used at other trade shows, but it’s new for us and for our exhibitors,” Seddon said.
“Everything we’re doing is to enhance the experience buyers and visitors have at the Tupelo Furniture Market,” he added.