The Home Furnishings Association supports the new plan for the October market, Executive Vice President Mark Schumacher said today.
The High Point Market Authority announced an innovative schedule for the fall event. The dates are Oct. 13-21. The nine days will be divided into three segments to spread out attendance.
The original fall market dates were Oct. 17-21. This plan accommodates expected reduced capacity requirements for showrooms and buildings, the authority said in a press release.
Buyers and industry members will be asked to select one of the three-day periods as their primary attendance dates during the online registration process, the release said. “Domestic buyers and industry members have been divided into two regions based on the home state of their company headquarters. … Those in Region A will be permitted to register for either Period I or II. Those in Region B will be permitted to register for either Period II or III. Details are here.
International buyers and media will be allowed to select from any of the three periods. Student passes will only be available during Period III. For all attendees, showroom appointments will be highly encouraged, the market authority said.
Fall market is ‘loaded with opportunity’
“We anticipate less restrictive guidelines for large gatherings this fall, but the need for increased safety measures will still exist,” Tom Conley, the authority’s president and CEO, said in the release. “Although we have over 11 million square feet spread over 13 city blocks, likely allowing us to have upwards of 50,000 attendees on any given day, we want to be overly cautious and stay below that maximum each day so all guests feel safe and comfortable attending and visiting their favorite showrooms.”
“I think this is loaded with opportunity,” said Schumacher, a liaison member of the market authority’s board of directors. He drew an analogy to furniture stores opening their doors after weeks of being closed by state public health orders during the coronavirus crisis. Customers, many of whom had shopped for furniture online, were ready to buy once they could visit stores again.
“Closing rates will be very high,” Schumacher predicted for business at the fall market.
HFA will unveil 11,000-square-foot Resource Center
HFA will open its redesigned 11,000-square-foot Resource Center at the fall market. It will feature a new and larger seminar space, conference rooms, areas for networking, relaxing and eating, and spaces for vendors and solution partners to meet retailers. The Resource Center is on the first floor of Plaza Suites, meaning visitors don’t need to use elevators or escalators to get there. That will make it a good location for meetings, Schumacher said. The HFA also will encourage appointments.
The HFA has been working with industry partners to find the best way to navigate this new approach to the fall market, Schumacher said. “We’ve had a voice at the table, not only in this decision but in how this looks going forward,” he said.
Conley made clear that priorities have shifted because of the nationwide coronavirus outbreak, which forced the cancellation of the spring market.
“The safety and well-being of our stakeholders, industry members and state and local citizens remain paramount,” he said. “Our robust safety and security measures are being expanded to specifically address COVID-19, per guidelines shared by the CDC and local medical authorities. We remain in contact with our state and local health officials, and we will continue to engage with them over these next few months, updating our response plan as needed.”
Market authority aims for ‘no early entry’ policy
“To maintain fairness and ensure attendees adhere to the attendance periods, the market authority is working with buildings to enforce a ‘no early entry’ policy, wherein buyers are not permitted to access the buildings nor showrooms prior to the opening day of market on Oct. 13,” the market authority press release said. “The market authority is also working with exhibitors, encouraging them to hold all product commitments until the close of market after all regions have had a chance to attend and view product.”
“The market authority staff and board of directors developed and reviewed several alternatives for Fall Market that were adaptive enough to accommodate enhanced safety precautions while still meeting the needs of our industry, state and local community,” said Dudley Moore Jr., chairman of the High Point Market Authority’s board of directors and president of Otto & Moore. “This expanded and staggered plan was unanimously accepted by our board as the premier preference, given its ability to provide buyers with attendance flexibility while keeping safety as the top priority through a controlled flow.”
Fall market registration opens in mid-July
“High Point Market has been a staple in this community for well over a century now, and the impact of the spring cancellation was far-reaching for both our citizens and our local businesses,” High Point Mayor Jay Wagner said. “We welcome the return of this economic driver this fall, recognizing the boost will be much needed for business owners, while also keeping safety top of mind. We are already working closely with the market authority team as well as the proper medical authorities to ensure the safety of our citizens as well as the market guests who will be visiting our great city this October.”
Registration for Fall Market will open in mid-July at www.highpointmarket.org, at which time registrants will be able to select their primary attendance dates from the outlined periods. Pre-registration will be highly encouraged, although some modified on-site registration will likely be available, the authority said.
The Las Vegas Market has pushed back its summer dates from July 25-30 to Aug. 30-Sept. 3. HFA’s Resource Center in Las Vegas is at #B1050.