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From Home Furnishing Business

Next Generation Now Day at High Point Draws 70 Participants

Furniture networking group Next Generation Now's inaugural Next Gen Day at October High Point Furniture Market drew more than 70 students and young professionals.

The event gave students and furniture market attendees access to furniture industry experts and business leaders during two panels.

The first panel, “Fashioning a Career in the Home Furnishings Industry,” was held at High Point University; and featured speakers from Ashley Furniture, Raymour & Flanigan Furniture, Best Home Furnishings and MicroD.

Ashley Furniture Founder and CEO Ron Wanek discussed the “executive vacuum,” explaining that baby boomers are retiring and the industry needs young professionals in a variety of areas.

“We are so thankful that the furniture industry is willing to step up to educate our students on potential careers in the industry,” said Jim Wehrley, dean of the Phillips School of Business and associate professor of finance. “This opportunity could be the catalyst that sends a student in a direction that could lead to a lifelong satisfying and rewarding career.”

The students then attended a luncheon panel at the High Point Market hosted by Furniture Today Editor-in-Chief Ray Allegrezza; where panelists from Mann, Armistead & Epperson, El Dorado Furniture, Steve Hodges Associates, and Stanley Furniture shared stories of how they became involved in the industry and answered questions from attendees.

The day concluded with job shadowing and mentoring. Seasoned industry professionals provided access and insights into the inner workings of the industry. Students visited showrooms, met with key industry executives and even walked away with internships and interviews. 

“We hope to develop this concept further—there is a unique opportunity for the High Point Market to partner with High Point University on so many different levels,” said NAHFA board director Seth Weisblatt, Sam’s Furniture & Appliances, Forth Worth, Texas. “The immediate excitement and buy-in, hard work and positive feedback from everyone involved is a clear indicator there is a need for this type of event in our industry.” 

The North American Home Furniture Association is moving fast on plans for Next Generation Now events at the January Las Vegas Furniture Market.

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