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Forty-four mattress makers will have displays at the market from Aug. 18-21.

Tupelo Furniture Market goes ‘soft’ to strengthen its position

By JACK WEATHERLY

Northeast Mississippi is known as the upholstered-furniture capital of the United States.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is playing the “soft” card as it seeks to further distinguish itself from other furniture centers – especially High Point, N.C.

Forty-four mattress and box spring makers will be on hand for the semi-annual Tupelo Furniture Market Aug. 18-21, said Kevin Seddon, president of the market.

In recent years, Tupelo has overtaken High Point in terms of bedding, Seddon said. And while Las Vegas tops Tupelo in that regard, the Nevada show appeals primarily to the West Coast, said Kevin Seddon, president of the Tupelo market.

It’s no accident that Tupelo has achieved market advantage, Seddon said.

“We tell these mattress companies to come up with a stellar idea for promotion and pricing strategy for these buyers who are coming to market,” Seddon said.

“Bedding has a high margin for these retailers,” compared with furniture in general, which has not increased that much in the past two decades, Seddon said.

“There has been a lot of innovation in [mattresses]. They’ve made sleeping a fine art,” he said.

About 400 furniture makers will be represented at the August event, which will attract roughly 10,000 buyers and retailers to the 2.5 million square feet of building and convention complex, Seddon said.

While upholstered goods dominate, Mississippi makers of “case goods,” which means made of wood, and leather products will be in the show.

And high-end makers of case goods that are not based in Mississippi will be on hand, including Henredon, Drexel Heritage and John Richard, Seddon said. Upscale manufacturers haven’t always been a part of the show, he said.

The Tupelo industry dates to 1948, and the August event will be the 59th covering 30 years.

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