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Suppliers report early Tupelo Furniture Market traffic steady

TUPELO, Miss. — Suppliers at the Tupelo Furniture Market here report a steady flow of customers into showrooms and good promotional upholstery business prior to the market's official opening here today.

Jon Marino, executive vice president at Flair, said Tupelo continues to be a good place for suppliers to efficiently display their goods to buyers.

"People are more selective in what shows they attend and the people who come to see us here are generally looking for upholstery. They are looking for value at whatever the price point," Marino said.

Pam Brady-Proesch, merchandise manager of upholstery at Largo, said that the market continues to be popular with retailers who find it easy to shop.

"Some dealers are looking for promotional but others are trying to get a jump on High Point. I also do previews on storyboards here because it's the last week I can do any fine tuning before High Point," Brady-Proesch said.

"Our last Tupelo Market in February was very successful and it looks like we're on track to do well again," she added.

Jerry Marlin, a sales official Prime Designs, said the company's chair program is a hit here.

"You take the different colors of the chair and put it on an accent on a neutral sofa and it all works together. The chairs are only $299 for a program of six and you can mix and match," Marlin said.

David MacIntosh, chief administrative officer for Coast to Coast Imports, said it has had good early market traffic. Buyers continue to like the company's Jadu line of India-inspired styles and it continues to do well with accents from China.

Delivery and having the right product are keys for success at retail these days, he said.

"Some places are doing pretty good. You've got to have the best product selection, price points and you've got to get it when you need it," MacIntosh said.

Ray Steele, co-founder of Gail's Accents, said that for a Wednesday in Tupelo traffic was good. The accent supplier was seeing a mix of big retail chains and independent retailers looking for better goods and closeouts.

He said buyers looking for better goods here have dubbed Gail's showroom the "Tiffany's of Tupelo" after the iconic jewelry retailer. Attitudes at retail are getting better, he said.

"If you've managed to survive for the last six years you should be able to make a lot of money in the next six," Steele said.

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