By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – While attendance at the Fall Tupelo Furniture Market hit a lull by Friday afternoon, many exhibitors said they were pleased with who came to their showrooms and spaces.
Among them was Ashley Furniture Industries, which occupies a 55,000-square foot showroom in Building IV. Ashley, the nation’s largest furniture supplier, concluded a successful market in Las Vegas just two weeks ago. But that didn’t stop buyers from coming to Ashley in Tupelo.
“Our marketing specialists – we don’t call them sales reps – for this area have been very pleased,” said Jim Williams, vice president of sales. “They were expecting a big crush of dealers, and they’ve been very pleased. It was like the old Tupelo.”
Thursday, the first official day of the market, was well-attended, according to many exhibitors. More importantly, buyers have been placing orders, even as early as Tuesday.
“We saw some good customers, the ones we wanted to see,” said Chris Bray, head of sales and marketing at Pontotoc-based Delta Furniture Manufacturing. The 20-month-old company recently moved into the former DeVille Furniture plant.
“We’re focusing on our product toward the major players like any other company,” he said. “The quality of our clientele is really good. Really, since we’re still relatively new, we didn’t know what to expect.
Fraenkel, which offers a full line of upholstered furniture as well as mattresses, has enjoyed a good market as well.
“It’s a tough retail climate, but traffic was good Thursday,” said CEO Brian Akchin. “We introduced a new mattress line at the show and it’s been very well received. Upholstery has been strong. … up until about 1:00 Friday, traffic was still good. We’re expecting another good day today.”
The market is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and wraps up on Sunday with the same hours.