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From Home Furnishing Business

Several Exhibitors Call For New High Point Market Dates

By Home Furnishings Business in High Point on April 2007 Near the close of what organizers called a largely successful High Point Market, a group of exhibitors from the high-end Hamilton Wrenn showroom district made a plea for a new market schedule they say would attract more designers to High Point and reduce conflicts with spring break family vacations.

During the High Point Market Authority€™s Board meeting Friday, officials did not release attendance figures, but board members representing exhibitors gave mixed reports on showroom traffic, with most saying they were pleased with buying activity considering the difficult retail conditions in recent weeks.

Market Authority board members did not take action on future market dates, but board Chairman John Bray of Vanguard Furniture said the organization already had a plan in place to have a third-party research firm launch a survey of attendees to gauge their feelings on a range of market-related issues, including future schedules.

Three exhibitors and a sales representative who addressed the board urged the organization to return to the event€™s long-time April-and-October schedule and add additional days they say would make it easier for more designers to attend. This year€™s event, which ended Sunday, is the first to shift to an earlier March schedule from the event€™s traditional start in April. Several people, including retailer David Price of Toms-Price in Chicago, said the new schedule came during the same week many families were traveling during a spring break school holiday.

The new schedule also goes from Monday to Sunday rather than the event€™s prior Thursday-to-Thursday timetable, which effectively stretched the event over two weeks since many showrooms opened days before the official opening.

Organizers made the switch after surveys indicated that many exhibitors favored the earlier schedule to enable retail stores more time to get products they ordered in their stores in time for Labor Day sales. The new schedule will also move some fall markets from October to September.

John Jokinen, president of E.J. Victor, said the market€™s prior schedule gave designers, in particular, more time to attend the market, saying many prefer to attend on weekends. €œWe need more (buyers to attend) and we can€™t get them with the compacted dates we have now,€ he said. €œWe need more time to see more people and be under less of a tight time frame.€

Other representatives said designers prefer to shop on weekends and don€™t want to take time away from their businesses in the middle of the week.

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