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  • Cindy W. Hodnett

Study: Market worth $5.4 billion to region

HIGH POINT - There are no ifs, ands or buts about it - the High Point Market is a key component in the economic machinery of North Carolina.
     In a release issued Oct. 2 by the High Point Market Authority, Duke University's Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness states that the market contributes $5.4 billion in economic impact to the overall regional economy, more than 37,000 in jobs and $198 million in North Carolina local and state taxes and fees. The $5.4 billion total output is approximately equivalent to 1.3% of the total gross state product of North Carolina, according to the report.
     Lukas Brun is a senior research analyst at Duke CGGC and was the project manager for the High Point Market study.
     "This analysis focuses on the impact of all the economic activity generated through the market itself," Brun said. "The logic used was the following - what amount of economic activity would not have occurred but for the market. The report analyzes the economic impact of five distinct categories that can be tied to the biannual High Point Market events."
     Activities associated with the market that were analyzed include jobs, spending, sales and rentals. Officials said that the study differs from previous economic impact studies in that the study area is defined as the 30 counties (22 in North Carolina and eight in Virginia) within a 75-mile radius from downtown High Point.
     The study used data from an original survey pulled from 199 market exhibitors from July 3-16, 2013.
     Visitor spending includes all of the expenses incurred by any visitor to the market outside of the 75-mile radius study region. Categories considered were lodging, meals, retail purchases, gasoline, car rentals, groceries and entertainment. Spending by the High Point Market Authority was also analyzed and includes direct budgeted expenses (transit and ground passenger transportation) of the HPMA.
     The vendor/exhibitor spending category represents all of the expenses incurred to put vendor products on display at the market. These figures incorporate construction, decoration, photography, marketing and catering. Vendor rents include figures of rental payments made by vendors to local owners of commercial real estate in the High Point area.
     The furniture sales activity category accounts for all of the sales made at the High Point Market or within 90 days of the market. The study excluded sales made at the market by firms located outside the study region, including firms that manufacture overseas or elsewhere in the U.S.
     "Beyond attracting a large number of visitors from outside the state and the world, the High Point Market serves a critical function for the broader furnishings industry and is a key node in the overall furniture industry's value chain," Brun said. "The team used IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for PLANners) software to estimate the economic impact, as well as a survey of market attendees, data from the HPMA, and data for the North Carolina Department of Commerce."
     The study found that the High Point Market is responsible for the creation of 37,616 jobs. Economic activity associated with the market results in 11,000 jobs in areas such as food service/catering, lodging, maintenance/repair construction services and transit and ground passenger transportation. Furniture sales generated at High Point Market support 26,000 jobs within the 30-county area in manufacturing in categories including the top categories of upholstered household furniture, non-upholstered wood household furniture, showcase/ partition/shelving and mattress production.
     "We are delighted that this study shows the tremendous economic impact that the High Point Market and the furniture industry have on our local and state economy," said Doug Bassett, chairman of the High Point Market Authority and president of manufacturer Vaughan-Bassett Furniture. "Clearly, the investment we all make in conducting a first-rate market here in High Point is paying great dividends for all of us."
     Additionally, the study found that the fiscal impact of the High Point Market on North Carolina and 22 affected counties is $197.9 million in tax revenue. Guilford County/City of High Point receives an estimated $25.5 million in tax revenue out of the $197.9 million in total revenue. More than 76,000 attendees come to the biannual market, and 623,000 visitor days per year are generated by the 58,000 visitors who come to High Point from outside the 75-mile radius.
     "The High Point Market is crucial for the health of the local manufacturing and distribution sectors of the wider furniture industry in the state and the region," said Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority. "The market is a valuable economic asset that provides tangible economic benefits throughout the year and throughout the region."

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