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Tupelo market raises profile, expects busy show

Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, August 13, 2013

TUPELO, Miss. - The Tupelo Furniture Market has been raising its profile over the past year, and in 2013 has visibly been aggressive with e-mail marketing blasts and promotions.
     Recently the Mississippi state legislature approved $250,000 for marketing and promotion of the market - recognizing it as an important driver of the state's upholstered furniture manufacturing powerhouse.
     Additionally, the market turned an eye toward solving a common complaint among suppliers this year - that the winter show took place too late for stores to get product in time for tax refund season. The market's winter shows are now set earlier in the year, for Jan. 16-19, 2014, and Jan. 15-18, 2015.
     This week Tupelo will have its largest show by exhibitor count in six years, according to President Kevin Seddon, who joined the market last summer.
     Pre-registrations from retailers for this show were up about 25% over its last two events, which "bodes well" for attendance, Seddon said.
     The market has more than 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space. Seddon said that many companies exhibiting here don't show at the nation's major home furnishings trade shows.
     "At times this number can exceed 100 companies that might not be found in North Carolina. Or certainly Las Vegas," he said. "If a buyer wants to see something totally new, they cannot afford to miss Tupelo."
     Another big plus for the market is that it's easy to shop, Seddon said. Its six connected buildings are all on one floor, under one roof.
     "There is absolutely no doubt that every exhibitor has the chance to be seen by every buyer and every buyer will have an opportunity to at minimum, walk by every exhibitor's space," he said.
     Additionally, some buyers from the Southeast often only attend Tupelo, he added.
     Tupelo also boasts a large contingent of case goods and upholstery companies that produce domestically - a plus for quick shipping of goods, ease of quality control management and customer support, he said.

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