OUR OPINION: Furniture Market focuses on events

By NEMS Daily Journal

Tupelo Furniture Market begins the 2012 season Thursday with strong hopes for the start of a year officially designated its 25th anniversary, with special celebrations planned for the August market.
TFM owner V.M. Cleveland said on Monday that he believes this week’s market will be strong against a background of growing but measured optimism in the furniture industry.
“We’re expecting a good market,” Cleveland said.
Market arrivals began during the weekend with exhibitors, buyers and marketers all starting to converge on Tupelo ahead of the official opening.
Cleveland said registration has been good for the event in the market complex on north Coley Road.
He said the Northeast Mississippi furniture industry’s individual marketing efforts have had a major positive impact on market attendance during the quarter-century of events.
The corporate efforts, paired with marketing undertaken by TFM as it grew, have helped shine the spotlight on Tupelo, the region, and the products, which have attracted a worldwide market.
Cleveland said the manufacturers’ promotion has been strongly influential in bringing some buyers to the market venue.
Cleveland also said manufacturers in the region are “ramping up” and some are expanding, which he said is usually a sign that “our market will be a success.”
Tupelo’s recent hotel expansions and new construction rest, in part, on the demand for rooms by the furniture market and the other, related events held throughout the year. Cleveland said having enough hotel rooms in Tupelo has eliminated the necessity of housing buyers and marketers in Columbus and Memphis.
“That has been very helpful,” he said. “Infrastructure was the main issue when we first started.”
The trade publication Furniture Today, reported in August 2011 that the Tupelo show received strong exhibitor ratings.
“…(M)ost exhibitors were pleased with the level of order writing as the Tupelo Furniture Market opened its semiannual show here Thursday,” the industry journal reported.
Dale Ward, president of dining room resource Bernard’s, said in the Furniture Today article, the weak economy “didn’t seem to slow the pace of orders. I would say 90 percent or more of the people who walk in at this show write us an order. We’ve always been very happy with the markets here.”
The landscape in furniture manufacturing and marketing has changed dramatically since the Tupelo market began in 1987. Las Vegas, in a way that only Las Vegas would attempt, has started a mammoth, multi-venued furniture market.
Furniture manufacturing employment has taken a hit in the U.S, but the most innovative, successful companies persevere, and with them the Tupelo Furniture Market.