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Rug vendors change their games, add new lines

Lissa Wyman -- Furniture Today, October 30, 2012

Lissa Wyman Rug editorLissa Wyman Rug editor
After a mass exodus of rug vendors from High Point in 2008 and 2009, many have returned. It's not the old rug business, though. A lot of rug guys have been reincarnated into multi-product companies and the dimly lit showrooms are now light, bright and flashy.
     There was also an element of regret when they all left. When people pick up their marbles and leave a game, they wonder how the remaining players are doing. These rug guys don't like standing on the sidelines. They tend to lie awake at night convinced their competitors are stealing all their customers. So they get back in the game.
     Before 2009, rug companies in High Point tended to huddle together. There was a big bunch of them on the third floor of the IHFC Design Wing. Another group was housed in funky-beautiful quarters in Historic Market Square. A few mostly new companies hung out in temporary quarters at Showplace.
     When everybody left, those former rug showrooms did not remain empty. The IHFC floor became home to lighting and accessories companies. Lo and behold, the rug companies that stayed became part of a vibrant community of home accent exhibitors. Instead of standing around for a week, they were saying hello to new customers, or greeting old customers who now had additional reasons to be there.
     More rug companies took showrooms in other spaces. No more huddling together. Several rug companies expanded their lines to include such items as occasional furniture, home textiles and pillows, pillows, pillows.
     Nourison had one of the largest and most elegant showrooms in Market Square. Think chandeliers and Mozart. After leaving in 2008, Nourison rocked back last fall in a 5,000-square-foot showroom in IHFC's Interhall. Not a chandelier in sight. Not another rug company in sight, either.
     It's not just the IHFC. Back at Market Square, Safavieh gobbled up a bunch of the first floor showrooms that once belonged to competitors and established a full corridor of Safavieh rugs, furniture and home textiles.
     I've always thought Showplace was a great building. Everyone seemed to be part of a big, jolly temporary market. The terraces and atrium reminded me of a huge networking party. Showplace was always a multi-category building. The rug companies tended to be on one floor, but they mixed it up nicely with other categories. Now this building and its tenants are maturing as a whole. Instead of teetering rug racks and flimsy partitions, Showplace has become an important permanent destination for companies that offer a combination of products such as rugs, home textiles, wall art, top of bed, lamps and occasional furniture.
     The last few years have changed us all. And it's good. We can't have progress without change. I can't wait to see what happens next.

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