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Cindy Hodnett

Tupelo generates orders

Sectionals withSectionals with simple lines continued to attract attention in the Ashley showroom at the Tupelo Furniture Market.
TUPELO, Miss. - Silver was golden at the summer Tupelo Furniture Market as upholstery and rug manufacturers reported positive visits with serious buyers on the market's 25th anniversary.
     Style Line Furniture was one of the anchor tenants at the first Tupelo market in 1987.
     "I think there are more registered buyers at this market than there have been in 10 years," said Margie Anderson, president of Style Line.
     "Tupelo is always a great market for us," said Kerry Lebensburger, president of sales and marketing for Ashley Furniture. "You do have majors here, and the dealers come prepared to write business. We have 150 reps here; that's a third of our sales force that we bring to this market, and everybody here is writing."
     Jeffery Klopp, president of Marietta, Ga.-based Easy Rental, was one of the buyers in the Ashley showroom. He said buyers come to the market ready to order.
     "There's always a lot of activity in Tupelo," he said. "It's a buying market."
     Visits to upholstery showrooms affirmed Klopp's assertion. Sales reps were busy with buyers, and foot traffic outside the showrooms was steady. At Harden Mfg., buyers perused case goods as well as the company's new upholstery line.
     "This sofa has a solid hardwood frame, stabilizer wires and Pirelli webbing on the back," said Marc Force, director of sales for Harden. "These are things you wouldn't traditionally find in promotional furniture, along with the 1/1/5/5 warranty (a year on fabric and foam, five years on frame defects and suspension system). We're giving our retailers a good tool to pull out of their arsenal."
     Surya Rugs was among the companies showing in Tupelo for the first time.
     "Being here shows retailers how committed we are to the rug category and also gives us a great introduction to dealers that we may not currently be selling," said company President Satya Tiwari.
     He said Surya, which has knitted strong relationships with many of the Top 100 merchants, found Tupelo a good platform to meet new dealers.
     "Being here allowed us to meet many of the next-tier retailers and also gave us an opportunity to show those dealers how much fashion is available in rugs that can retail for $199 to $99," Tiwari added. Surya has 800 fashion-forward rugs in that price range, he said.
     "Being here was a great way for us to show dealers how it has been able to migrate fashionable, colorful rugs and marry them to price points that work well for the dealers attending this show," he said.

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