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Tupelo gets new exhibitors, buyers

TUPELO, Miss. - Aided by a ramped-up marketing program, organizers of the Tupelo Furniture Market said more than 110 new exhibitors have signed up for next month's event and about two dozen existing exhibitors have expanded their showrooms.
     In addition, organizers said registrations for the show, which will run Feb. 28-Mar. 3, are more than 50% ahead of the August 2012 market, and said more than 30% of the registrants would be first-time attendees.
     "Buyers come to Mississippi and the Tupelo Furniture Market because it's a primary hub for furniture business," said market President Kevin Seddon. "Our slogan, ‘We're All Business' sort of sums this up. Leisure and sightseeing activities probably won't distract participants attending our event. So they don't lose their focus, and we don't lose ours."
     But in case attendees are interested in leisure and sightseeing activities, the market has partnered with several area businesses to offer discounts on everything from a round of golf to skeet shooting.
     Plus, those willing to make the two-hour drive to the gaming hotbed of Tunica, Miss., can receive special room rates and $10 in free slot play at the Gold Strike Casino Resort.
     Seddon said the market is aggressively recruiting buyers through a pair of initiatives. One involves subsidizing the travel expenses of key retailers identified by Tupelo exhibitors, and another is a "matchmaker" program in which market officials facilitate pre-show communications and arrange on-site meetings between buyers and exhibitors.
     The matchmaker program is a new one for the market, and buyers or exhibitors wishing to participate should contact Candi Hall, director of buyer recruitment, at candi@tupelofurnituremarket.com or (662) 842-4442.
     Seddon said 145 exhibitors "have chosen Tupelo as their primary furniture venue." These exhibitors no longer show at one or both of the furniture industry's major trade shows in High Point and Las Vegas, he said.

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