Zaar Design Center moves to former High Point furniture plant
Innovative space open for fall market, year-round
Furniture Today Staff -- Furniture Today, September 15, 2011
HIGH POINT — Zaar Design Center, a showroom concept offering a year-round presence here for home furnishings exhibitors, has moved into the former Drexel Heritage upholstery factory at West Ward Drive and Green Street.
Ruth Olbrych, president of Zaar Design Center, has leased about 12,000 square feet on the first floor of the 300,000-square-foot building from owner Metropolitan Warehouse and Delivery.
Olbrych's company, Antiques by Zaar, a dealer in Chinese antiques, will show there for the fall High Point Market along with three other exhibitors - Bellascenda, a producer of high-end lift furniture for flat-screen televisions; The Kat Burki Collection, specializing in custom upholstery and items for body, bath, and boudoir; and Total Design Source, introducing a custom line of upholstered chairs.
Zaar Design Center also will make product available to the design community throughout the year, Olbrych said. The space will be open on the second Wednesday of each month during non-market times, coinciding with the days that members of the High Point Design Center, an association of to-the-trade showrooms, are open. Antiques by Zaar is a member of the association. The design center also can open at other times by appointment, she said.
Metropolitan Shipping, which has offices in the former Drexel building, will offer shipping and storage services to exhibitors.
"As an exhibitor at the biannual High Point Market since 2004, I believe it not only makes sense to have a presence at the market, but for those that base their businesses here to make themselves available to designers and retailers year-round," Olbrych said. "It's my contention that High Point needs to be continually rethinking what High Point is and what it can and should be: a global center for design."
She said Zaar Design Center is outside the high-rent districts of downtown High Point, making it an ideal incubator for small businesses and an affordable yet easily accessible address.
The location has 300 secure parking spaces, which will be free to marketgoers during the Oct. 22-27 fall market. Continental breakfast will be provided for visitors parking at the site each morning. The center will be served by two shuttle services - the Centers of High Point shuttle service and the market's Go-Anywhwere shuttles - to transport buyers and designers to the downtown area.
Olbrych also is marketing the Zaar Design Center concept to companies that currently show in the multi-tenant buildings with a "store, ship and sell" service.
Companies that have showrooms downtown during market, but also have product available to show and sell at Zaar Design Center between markets, included Fortunata, a producer of Italian ceramics; Touchwood UK, which offers hand-made case goods and antiques; and Cabeen Originals, solid wood furnishings made from reclaimed lumber.
"Many companies that show in the major, multi-tenant buildings downtown have found that those buildings are not conducive to opening showrooms to the design trade during non-market times," she said. "For this reason, companies that wish to maximize their investment in the High Point Market can transfer showroom samples here following the bi-annual shows, and we will represent their products throughout the balance of the year to the design trade. Simply put, it does not make sense to leave products in showrooms with the lights turned off for 10 months out of the year when the inventory could be turning a profit in between markets."