Our conditioning is for four major furniture markets each year—one every quarter. The pandemic messed that all up. Each furniture market we have had are not in their typical time slots. You have been tempted with First Tuesdays and more robust Pre-Markets as everyone is dying to see new products.
While it was delayed from April into June, we did have our first legitimate market during this pandemic. What I mean by legitimate that there were many manufacturers exhibiting and more than a handful of retailers and designers ready to buy. Spring High Point Market knocked on summer’s door, but we pulled it off. It felt more like a regular market.
The vibe, the spirit of this market, was upbeat because everyone was just glad to be out and, in many cases, without a mask. We rediscovered things you might have heard of, like handshakes and hugs. I admit I was woefully out of practice at both. As far as attendance, the numbers were still down from average; however, the people there were ready to do business. We didn’t see a lot of window shoppers. That’s precisely what our retail members found when stores reopened in the middle of 2020. People who were coming in were serious buyers ready to transact. That meant we had some retailers looking to join our association and tap into all we offer member businesses. There was some of that at the High Point Furniture Market. However, something else really unique happened. Since the crowds weren’t huge, it allowed us and our solution partners to enjoy quality time talking with our members. It was a tremendous and meaningful engagement. Relationships were deepened during this event.
While this was the first chance people had to see and interact with each other, it was primarily a chance for us to hear them. We listened. As my mother used to say, “that’s why we have two ears and one mouth.” Our conversations were one part catch up on the personal side, one part figuring out ways to increase revenue on the business side. Some of the HFA faithful we met realize there’s a gap in their finance offerings to customers. Our team couldn’t wait to introduce them to the many great options we have. Thanks to COVID, everyone was laser-focused on their business and hyper-aware of their cash flow. Many knew where to save some money, but not how to do it. Once again, we were ready with solutions.
I’m so proud of the fact that we now have 50 solution partners to help members. That is five times the number of partners we had pre-pandemic. Each one became part of HFA because you need their services. That’s all thanks to our partnership team diligently work to finding the right solutions for the challenges you all face. Then we put those solutions in the capable hands of our membership team to work with you to connect with partners that make sense.
We love seeing you face-to-face; however, you don’t have to wait for a furniture market to find solutions. We are here every day to work with you to boost your bottom line. And those 50 solution partners? More are coming. We are listening!