• Larry Thomas

High Point Market bus ridership up 10% from April, board told

HIGH POINT — Preliminary figures show a 10% increase in ridership on the High Point Market's shuttle system compared with the April market, the High Point Market Authority Board was told Wednesday.

Tammy Nagem, chief operating officer of the Market Authority, also told the board there was a 12% increase in room nights booked at the more than 100 hotels that sell rooms through the market's booking system.

Market Authority President Tom Conley also told board members that the scanning of market badges as attendees entered showroom buildings this week will provide the authority with valuable data about traffic patterns and shopping habits. He said badge scanning, which was in widespread use for the first time at this market, is being expanded to include some market events such as the free concerts in the Showplace parking lot.

"Everything that we do going forward will have an analytical approach," Conley said during a presentation to the board. "Numbers are going to be a significant part of our decision-making process."

He said he hopes the data will shed light on when and where buyers prefer to shop, how long they stay in High Point, and what types of vendors they see.

"Ultimately, we need to encourage (retailers) to bring more people and spend more time here," said Conley.

He said Premarket, which typically is held about a month before the market, will continue to be a key part of the group's promotional efforts.

"It's important for building enthusiasm for market," he said.

In other business:

• Cheminne Taylor-Smith, vice president of marketing, said press registrations were up by more than 100 from the April market, and included several big-city newspapers that hadn't sent reporters to cover the market in several years.

She also said more than 6,000 tweets posted on the market's Twitter feed between Oct. 22 to Oct. 25.

• Retailer Mike Huber, CEO of Belfort Furniture in Belfort, Va., and John Bray, president of Vanguard Furniture, a high-end upholstery and case goods resource, joined the board.

Huber is replacing retailer David Price, president of Toms-Price Furniture in Wheaton, Ill.

Bray is a former Market Authority board member who served a stint as chairman in the mid-2000s.

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