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Tupelo Market close to selling out spaces

TUPELO, Miss. — Tupelo Furniture Market organizers report that the event's 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space is almost sold out for the upcoming show, set for Feb. 6-9.

Officials say the event has grown in the past two years partly because of an improvement in the housing market and the furniture industry, but also because the market changed its approach to selling, and is working more closely with exhibiting companies to ensure their success at each market event.

"Most people don't think about the fact that the furniture industry is directly linked to the success or failure of the housing market," said Debbie Henry, sales director for the Tupelo Furniture Market. "If houses are not selling, people are not buying furniture either. When consumers are not buying, our business feels the impact."

She said that even before the housing market showed signs of life, Tupelo was changing its approach.

"We began selling our new clients a package of benefits that included built-in marketing tactics that would help attract new buyers to our event and specifically to their exhibit space location. This allowed both of us to derive success from our business relationship," said Henry.

The marketing tactics range from traditional to progressive or even extreme, but collectively are having a positive effect, she said.

"The first thing we do is ask new companies exhibiting with us which retailers they would like to see during the market event," said Henry. "Then we work with the exhibitor to create a tailored show package that is unique for that retailer so that the retailer will be inclined to attend the event and visit with our new exhibitor. The package may include discounts on product ordered. It might include shipping or financing incentives. Or, it might include meal or travel vouchers. It depends on what the exhibitor and the market can do and what the buyer needs."

Kevin Seddon, president of the Tupelo Furniture Market, said staff members begin the sales process begins by targeting companies they believe can achieve success at the Tupelo event.

"For us, fortunately, our event of late has been successful for a wide range of companies selling many types of furniture and home accessories at every price point. Collectively, Mississippi manufacturers ship more upholstered furniture than any other state in the country. And, the state ranks third in the U.S. in total shipments of all household furniture. So, we start selling locally," Seddon said.

"However, we have companies showing in Tupelo from throughout the United States, so our next step is to target those companies that we believe are a good fit for our event and then work with them as if we are an extension of their marketing department. Thus far it has worked well and we intend to step up the effort."

He said companies interested in securing remaining space at the February show should call (800) 844-0841.

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