Furniture market hopes to continue momentum

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – By most accounts, the fall Tupelo Furniture Market in August was a very good one – probably one of the best in the past couple of years in terms of traffic and order-writing.
After well-attended markets in High Point in October and Dallas and Las Vegas last month, officials in Tupelo hope the crowds keep coming.
“It’s looking good,” said TFM Chairman V.M. Cleveland. “Preregistration numbers are running ahead of last time. But it’s always been a last-minute thing, too, where we’ll have people walk up and register.”
While the fall market was a three-day run from Friday through Sunday, this week’s spring market will officially begin Thursday and end Sunday.
Cleveland hopes good weather will help with attendance, too.
He hoped last week’s now was the last round of snow for the region
“We’ve had a few close calls with snow through the years, but we managed to miss them by a week here, a week there,” he said. “But I do remember the big ice storm in the 1990s, and power was out everywhere. We had some calls to cancel the market, but there was simply no way we could do that … we didn’t and we managed to have a good market.”
And the good news this week is that the weather should be just fine, with higher temps and clear skies for at least the first half of the week.
Another sign that there might be a pickup in attendance – rooms at area hotels may be hard to come by this week.
“A lot of people planned ahead and made their reservations before the last market,” said Comfort Suites Assistant Manager Kim Ayers. “Not everybody, but a lot of them do.”
She said her hotel on North Gloster Street is booked up several days this week.
By the middle of last week, the Hilton Garden Inn in Tupelo was sold out of rooms for this Tuesday and Wednesday, and the rest of the week was getting tight.
Shari Long Neely said the 158-room hotel in the Fairpark District also is a popular destination for corporate travelers, and the facility was sold out all last week.
She and Ayers advised furniture market attendees to call the hotels to check on availability.
Cleveland said the market’s Hostess Home program – in which private homes are rented by market attendees – also has picked up for this market.
“We’ve gotten a few more hotel rooms available in Tupelo, in Fulton and New Albany, which has taken some of the pressure off the Hostess Home program,” he said. “But there’s still a big demand for the private homes, which is another good sign.”
With solid holiday sales for retailers and an economy that appears to be on the slow mend, Cleveland said pent-up consumer demand bodes well for the furniture industry and the market.
Cleveland noted that this week’s market will feature 20 new exhibitors, with another 10 exhibitors having expanded their spaces or showrooms. Among the new exhibitors are a handful of upholstered furniture manufacturers, including two from Northeast Mississippi.
“That shows the furniture industry that this is the place to show upholstered furniture and to build it,” he said.

B2011 Spring market
– Thursday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

– Open to registered retail buyers and dealers only.

– National Buyer Appreciation Award ceremony is Friday at 6 p.m.

– Manufacturer’s Representative Award ceremony is Saturday at 6 p.m.

– Fall market is Aug. 18-21

– For more information, call
(662) 842-4521 or visit tupelofurnituremarket.

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