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What did you miss by not attending market?

Jerry Epperson An insider’s viewJerry Epperson An insider’s view
I married the farmer's daughter. Unlike my small family, her family was HUGE! Her father was one of nine siblings and her mother had 10 brothers and sisters. My mother-in-law's family had a family reunion every month, and pity the fool who brought store bought food instead of homemade.
     It became clear why attendance was so high every month: If you were not there, you were the one everyone gossiped about.
     If you were not at the recent High Point Market, we were talking about you. You missed a good one.
     The furniture shows are critical to a retailer's success. They are part reunion, support group, education and long-range planning. And you can see new furniture, mattresses, accessories and a world of other items too numerous to mention.
     Yes, all the larger retailers were there, including the mass merchants, warehouse clubs, rental companies, Internet retailers and many others from around the globe. The large retailers meet with the large vendors and commitments are placed, logistics arranged and merchandising plans firmed up, to prepare for the coming year.
     But the real opportunities in High Point are for the small to middle-sized stores, who too often stay home. That is a shame because it is these retailers who can tour the multitude of smaller showrooms to see the truly creative, novel and exciting furnishings of all sorts before they get mainstream and on everyone's floors. These smaller, more entrepreneurial vendors must be creative and different to compete. They take the styling risks and experiment.
     Being a larger retailer has many advantages, but one disadvantage is that you cannot source from the smaller vendors who often develop the new ideas in fashion.
     In fact, if you are a mid to small store, you are wasting your time trying to copy what the larger stores offer. You can use High Point and Las Vegas to find the new, colorful, exciting items that serve market niches.
     Even an old marketgoer like me saw many new things in High Point that I have never seen in showrooms before. Yes, some were on the fringe of good taste, but they caught my eye and will catch the attention of American consumers, too.
     Our markets have never been easier to shop, had better logistics to help with your store plans, been easier and more affordable to attend, or offered such a great selection of both products and educational opportunities.
     Yes, our reps do a fine job but attending a market is like going to a concert or a sporting event in person. Seeing it later on video is never the same.
     We missed having you there, but we did enjoy talking about you.

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