By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – The Tupelo Furniture Market’s renewed efforts to recruit new buyers and exhibitors appear to be paying off, with the preregistration numbers increasing for the third consecutive market.
“We’re up 26 percent from last year,” said TFM President Kevin Seddon on Wednesday. “We have a lot of new buyers and exhibitors again.”
In the past 12 months, the market has had some 200 companies exhibit for the first time or expand their exhibit space.
The fall market, which officially starts Thursday and wraps up Sunday, should continue the momentum market officials began last spring.
Seddon hopes attendance will be spread out a little more.
“The market’s heavy days are Wednesday and Thursday, then drops off Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “The numbers are good, but they’re front-loaded. We looked for ways we could keep more people over the weekend.”
So, the market partnered with several hotels in Tupelo to work on weekend packages for new buyers. Along with more competitive rates, the market is giving the new buyers “market dollars” that can be spent with exhibitors participating in the
Tupelo-Only Special program. The deals could be discounts on orders and/or freight or any combination of specials.
“We think if we can keep more of the buyers here over the weekend it’s better for everybody,” Seddon said. “It helps the hotels, it helps the exhibitors.”
Traditionally, some showrooms have closed early on Saturday and Sunday. Some buyers and retailers who can’t make the market during the week have complained about closed showrooms on the weekends. So the market hopes keeping more buyers around will encourage more exhibitors to stick around, too.
“We had one incident in which a buyer came in on a weekend during the last market, and the exhibitor he wanted to see was closed,” Seddon said. “So he went and bought everything he needed from another company that was open.”
Also, in conjunction with the Fall Furniture Market will be the third Tupelo Furniture and Home Accessories Show in Building I. That event is open to the public, which can buy furniture as well as appliances, specialty items and accessories.
The Furniture and Home Accessories Show is open Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.