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Tupelo buyers find value in accents, case goods

TUPELO, Miss. — Case goods and accent furniture dealers at the Tupelo Furniture Market reported that closeouts and deals continue to be a major contributor to the market's success.

Ray Steele, co-founder of Gail's Accents, said traffic trailed off late in the week but the market, which ran Aug. 15-18, was a good one overall. Mirrors did well in Tupelo, he said, especially oversized framed looks, as did upholstered chairs with extra tall backs.

 This Pine Crafter No. 39411 staircase bunk bed has four drawers in the side for storage and was among well received pieces at the Tupelo Furniture Market.This Pine Crafter No. 39411 staircase bunk bed has four drawers in the side for storage and was among well received pieces at the Tupelo Furniture Market.

"For a summer market it ended up pretty good. I wasn't disappointed at all," Steele said. "For a dollar return investment it's still a good deal for us."

Rustic Heritage did well with reclaimed looks and plans to open a showroom in High Point later this year, according to Stephanie Bailor, chief operating officer.

"We've always done well with the natural look but people are eating the reclaimed look up," Bailor said.

Painted colors like turquoise and lighter blues were popular on painted goods, she said. The company also had success with marble table top applications like an inset Texas Lone Star flag.

Another popular piece was the company's Cowboy Kitchen, a novel space-saving cabinet with a table and benches inside that fold down out of it. The piece retails for $899 and Bailor said Rustic Heritage gets many requests to have customer names carved into the piece.

Bobby Spain, vice president and owner of Pine Crafter, said side staircase bunk beds and twin-over-twin bunk beds continue to be popular with retailers.

Spain said market traffic was down compared to February and last August.

"We saw some (retailers) that hadn't been there in several years. And then some of the ones we had expected there, we didn't see them this market," he said.

At 25-year-old domestic supplier Furniture Traditions, the formula for success hasn't changed, according to Bob Kirkeby, co-president and service and sales manager. He said that a focused marketing approach and consumer follow up continues to help the company add distribution.

Marketing materials that show the flexibility of pieces in the line - many of which contain added functional features like jewelry storage, a thumbprint activated safe or an adjustable bed - have been popular.

"We make furniture that is unique and different and that you can't buy on any street corner," Kirkeby said. "I have to make better furniture. Not just made in America."

Higdon Furniture was picking up some business from retailers looking to fill recent supplier holes in their floors, according to Bill Bevec, northern sales manager. The company continues to do well promoting dressers with mirrors that lower to reveal a television, he said.

"It does add some cost to the product at the promotional end but I think it's still very attractive," Bevec said. "But it's a positive for us, the momentum that's generating."

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