The market has traditionally held its shows in February and August, calling them the spring and fall markets, respectively.
And so, the market shifted the dates to January and June.
“This was requested by them, who said they wanted a better opportunity to come to the markets and have the products ready when they needed them,” the market said at the time.
But after a lackluster January 2007 show, the market decided to go back to February. And the June show never happened that year – it stayed in August.
Fast forward 10 years, and market officials said last fall that surveys showed attendees were wanting to move the dates again.
So the market moved the dates to January and June of this year. The spring show became the winter market, and the fall market became the summer market.
An oft-asked question is, “how was the market?”
The typical answer is, “it depends on who you talk to.”
The questions – and the answers – haven’t changed.
The winter market this past January was much like the others, no matter the dates. Some did well, some did not, some did OK. It was a mixed bag.
Not everyone will have a “good” market; there’s no avoiding that fact.
I’ve been covering the market since I got here nearly 13 years ago. I’ve seen really good markets, and really bad ones. The markets during and after the recession – a span from 2007-2011 – were mostly ones to forget.
The market pulled out all the stops in fall 2007, as it celebrated its 20th anniversary, giving away not one, but three Hummers.
Probably a bit over the top, but it did create some buzz for the market. The following spring show, the market gave away a Toyota Highlander and other prizes.
But momentum wasn’t sustained at the market, mostly due to the fact the housing market tanked, the recession set in, and furniture buying dipped considerably.
The Tupelo Furniture Market consolidated its operations, closing its Mississippi Complex and moving those exhibitors to the main TFM complex.
It wasn’t until about 2013 when I could begin to see a noticeable improvement in attendance at the market, from buyers and retailers, as well as exhibitors.
So what about this week’s summer market? Well…
It all depends on who you talk to. Furniture Today’s headline Friday morning was fairly accurate: “Tupelo opens with light traffic, subdued mood.”
Normally on a Wednesday, the unofficial opening, there’s a good bit of activity. Not so much this time.
Some reasons for the lighter traffic include June is traditionally a slow month anyway, with more people on vacation and with plenty of activities going on elsewhere.
But everybody knew this coming in. United Furniture, the largest exhibitor at the market, opened a 10,000-square-foot showroom specifically aimed at attracting retailers to check out its special deals.
United’s reasoning: We know it’s a slow month for you, but we have special deals on merchandise that will entice shoppers in your store.
That’s the right approach: Make business happen, no matter the circumstances.
Danny Noblin Gray, whosae D Noblin Furniture Inc. won the National Buyer’s Award Thursday night at the market, said the dates didn’t matter to him.
“It doesn’t make any difference at all; we’re going to be here no matter what,” he said. “There are some actual values here that we like to incorporate in what we do.”
Now if only more retailers like him would think that way. The June date can work. We’ll see if it sticks this time.
» Dennis Seid is the business editor of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo.