Spring market shows mixed results

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The spring Tupelo Furniture Market wrapped up Sunday, with market officials and major exhibitors insisting it was a good show.
“Overall, the traffic was down, but the good news is that we saw more buyers,” said TFM Chairman V.M. Cleveland.
The market counts sales reps, exhibitors, guest and buyers in its traffic count.
Major exhibitors including Ashley Home Furnishings, United Furniture Industries, Southern Motion and Affordable all said they were pleased with the volume of buying done at the market but also noted the drop in attendance.
Jim Williams, vice president of sales for Ashley, called it a “good market.”
“What we saw were people coming in Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but they just didn’t want to be out of their stores over the weekend,” he said.
Aside from falling in the middle of tax season, the President’s Day weekend is a big sales event for retailers.
Jay Quimby, vice president of sales for United, also called it a good market.
“There’s no question attendance is down,” he said. “But the weather has been tough this year, and you have a lot of retailers who want to be in their stores this time of year.”
In addition, Las Vegas’ winter market wrapped up two weeks ago, High Point’s pre-market is in less than two weeks and its spring market is less than a month away.
So that “perfect storm” certainly did no favors for Tupelo.
Still, Cleveland said he’s comfortable with the spring market dates, which fell in the general range they have in the past, he said.
“Our market has been around this date 43 of the 46 times we’ve had it and it’s been pretty successful,” he said, hinting that the next spring market likely would fall about the same time.
The second market of the year – the fall market – is set for Aug. 18-21.
And that market should get a boost with a new show of support from the Arkansas Home Furnishings Association.
Cleveland said the 200-member group, which usually has its own market each fall, will attend the Tupelo market instead.
“They’ll be hosting an event where we expect several hundred people to show up,” he said. “We’ve always supported each other, and this solidifies that relationship. We think it will really enhance and help us to grow.”