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Larry Thomas

High Point summary: Market ‘reasonably well attended’

High Point, N.C. — Directors of the High Point Market Authority listened to a variety of market wrap-up reports at their meeting here Wednesday - most of which concluded this week's show was a solid market that was reasonably well attended.

Board members were told some exhibitors are still having trouble attracting buyers from small and medium-sized stores to their showrooms, but Market Authority President Brian Casey pledged to continue to develop marketing efforts to attract such retailers to future markets.

"In a lot of ways, the independent retailer has become king again," added Market Authority Chairman Kevin O'Connor.

Casey told the board his staff will target independent retailers through more extensive use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and through meetings with various organizations of sales representatives.

He said the sales reps often provide the key impetus for dealers to come to market.

"It's critical for us to communicate with (sales reps) about the strength of this market and the importance of coming here," he said. "And we hope they will take that message to their customers."

Casey said he spoke to two groups of reps during sales wrap-up meetings this week, and he hopes to make similar presentations in the future.

Although O'Connor and other board members agreed that market attendance was flat, one bright spot appeared to be a significant increase in Canadian retailers - many of whom had shopped the Las Vegas Market instead of High Point in recent years.

"I think the Canadians are back at this market. We had great attendance from Canada," said board member Art DeFehr, who is president of Canadian manufacturer Palliser and owner of the 220 Elm showroom building.

"We heard nobody complaining about business or attendance," DeFehr said.

Several board members said traffic patterns have shifted since the market schedule was changed to a Saturday opening in April, but there was no discussion of reverting back to earlier schedules which had the market opening on either a Monday or a Thursday.

Under the current schedule, traffic typically has been heaviest on Monday and Tuesday, the third and fourth days of the show.


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