Furniture market gears up for fall

By Dennis Seid / NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – With temperatures hovering near triple-digits lately, it might be a bit difficult to think about anything fall-like.
But the Fall Tupelo Furniture Market kicks off later this week, and, high temps or not, exhibitors, buyers and retailers by the thousands will converge once again for the twice-yearly market.
And while the fall market has traditionally been the slower of the two events – the other market is usually held in January – TFM Chairman V.M. Cleveland thinks business will be good.
“We think that it may actually be better than the January market, based on what we’re hearing,” he said. “We’ve got 40 new companies who are going to show for the first time. That compares to about 30 we had in January. Now, some of those in January aren’t coming back for one reason or another, but we still have a bigger number overall who are coming to the fall market.”
The market officially begins Friday and ends Sunday.
Cleveland also said that preregistration for buyers is higher for this week’s market than for the January market.
“We book a lot of flights and hotel rooms for them, and the numbers are pretty good,” Cleveland said.
Some exhibitors also are gearing up for a good market, even though the Las Vegas Market wrapped up less than two weeks ago.
Pontotoc-based Southern Motion, which enjoyed a “very good” Vegas market, expects similar results this week.
“People have been saying that Tupelo is dead, Tupelo is dying, but we’ve only seen our business get better each market,” said company chairman and CEO Guy Lipscomb. “We expect to do well; we want to do well. This is where we call home.”
Lane Home Furnishings, which also showed in Vegas, is eager to continue the momentum its had so far this year.
“We are expecting the upcoming market in Tupelo to be a great kickoff for the fall selling season in furniture,” said Lane President Greg Roy. “The first half of 2010 was a nice improvement over the same time last year and dealers are willing to buy, but the value must be clearly defined at this market.
“The whole Lane team enjoys the Tupelo Furniture Market and I think most retailers like the relaxed Southern atmosphere if they can handle the heat. It’s great for us because this market provides a boost for our hometown economy and we’ll be loaded with terrific values to drive fall business.”
And the market is pushing its value reputation even harder, Cleveland said. For several years, it has promoted its “Tupelo-Only Specials,” where exhibitors offer one-of-a-kind deals.
Northeast Mississippi also is the upholstered furniture capital of the world and the home of scores of promotional-priced furniture makers, allowing the market to be their choice vehicle to sell their products.
“People who come here know they’ll find value, and I think with the economy the way it is, that only helps,” Cleveland said.

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