OUR OPINION: Tupelo Furniture Market turns 25 with fall show

By NEMS Daily Journal

The Tupelo Furniture Market celebrates its 25th anniversary this week when the 2012 fall market opens Thursday, with the list of exhibitors nearing 300 on Sunday afternoon.
Few foresaw the endurance or the reach of the market, which has more than 1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space under roof on Coley Road, but it has established a firm foothold. Tupelo, in the geographic center of the upholstered furniture manufacturing industry in Mississippi, is on the business map in dozens of executive offices because of decisions made to travel to Tupelo for the furniture market.
Buyers and sellers come from across the country to do business in the complex owned by V.M. Cleveland and run by Kevin Seddon, the president who started work in April.
This year the fall market has added the Furniture and Home Accessories Show, which will run simultaneously, and will be held in Building I and is open to the public, not just registered dealers and buyers.
The new show will feature home furnishings, outdoor furnishings, area rugs, picture frames, framed art, lighting fixtures, cookware, pottery, Christmas decorations, appliances, designer clothing, jewelry, purses and other items.
Seddon described it as a “a trade show within a trade show” in an earlier interview with the Daily Journal.
However, the rule for the general market is access limited to credentialed buyers and sellers.
The limited access is not new, Cleveland noted, “All the furniture markets have been doing this in some form or fashion for years, including us. But instead of scattering everything over six buildings, we’re putting most of the accessories exhibitors in one building, where not only the market attendees can go, but the public, too.”
Business Editor Dennis Seid reported earlier, “The spring and fall furniture markets are officially closed to the public, although exhibitors do often offer guest passes. Some exhibitors sell only to dealers, while some are willing to sell to the public. Those sales usually are limited to the last day of the market. Cleveland said having the separate Furniture and Home Accessories Show is an answer for that. Business attire is required to attend the show.”
“Immediately after our last show in February, we began a review of our business and then executed a plan that we believed would maximize our market position,” Cleveland said. “This upturn is the … result.”
Every business interest in Tupelo would agree that when the furniture market has a successful draw there’s an economic ripple that, of course, goes to hotels and restaurants, and then into broader circles as the impact is spread around.