Textiles Still Going Strong at High Point Market

Carole Sloan, Jenny Heinzen York, May 16, 2006

High Point, N.C. — Despite what many exhibitors felt was a significant decline in traffic, home textiles suppliers saw plenty of qualified buyers that wrote orders. Luxury bedding and decorative pillows, and color, color and more color were the standouts, the exhibitors said. The pinched traffic was a consequence of the concurrent Hospitality Design Show in Las Vegas and the absence of some West Coast retailers who had attended the Las Vegas home furnishings show at the World Market Center in January.

The Home Furnishings Market Authority said 98,954 people registered, with about half registering as buyers. Overall, the total came to at least 20,000 more than in previous markets.

Said Richard Downing, president of the newly formed top of the bed division of Leggett & Platt, "Sales were on a par with earlier markets in dollars. Maybe we lost some West Coast buyers who visited us at the Las Vegas market."

Ann Gish, a longtime exhibitor here, observed, "We did alright. It was not a fantastic show — traffic was really down, and I believe the hospitality show in Vegas took away many of the buyers. I didn’t see a lot of the regulars, but we did see some new designers and a few new stores."

At Textillery Weavers, Judith Rose, co-principal, said, "Overall we had some really good days and wrote new business." But the impact of the hospitality show was evident in traffic and in the fact that the company showed at both events concurrently.

In its new space at the temporary Suites at Market Square, Malabar Grove had a good market, according to Mary Grove. But she also was concerned by the apparent lack of traffic.

With the dates of the market here shifting, Jan Dutton, principal of Paper White, lamented the "lack of excitement because there’s really no beginning or ending." Still, Dutton termed this market as "good with qualified buyers, but as far as the number of people — no!"

At Thief River Linens, "We went into the market with some trepidation because we were launching our new approach of window panels, custom work and special programs," said Linda Bentson, president. "We got good reception to the new concept and we’re very excited about the new products."

For rep organization head Lynn Courtade, the addition of the Home Source International luxury bedding and bath was a success: "There’s lots of interest in natural and organic luxury bedding. Designers are taking rugs out of homes and replacing them with solid wood floors."

She said the Nina Campbell designed throws distributed by T. Lockman for Johnson Bros. were another important piece of her strong luxury business.

Pamela Kline, principal of Traditions by Pamela Kline, reported both good business and traffic at the company’s stand at Suites at Market Square, as did Nancy Reib, principal of Wildcat Territory, who noted, "We’re doing great; we were busy and we had a happy market."

Company C’s Janet Wright said, "Our expanded showroom attracted a lot of new people and we wrote good business."

And this market marked the debut of the new Alexander Julian bedding licensed to Hallmart, a program that created strong interest, said Steven Goldstein, director of sales. HTT

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