Record participation sets stage for Mississippi Wholesale Market

by For the MBJ

Published: May 26,2008

Buyers who typically go to Dallas or Atlanta to market can save a trip by attending the Mississippi Wholesale Market in Jackson. Since 1996, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) has presented the gift market as a way to help budding proprietors introduce their products to buyers, and to help increase business and sales for all participating vendors.

“We’re excited to report that we’ve sold out of all the booths we had reserved and we’re now adding another row,” said Elizabeth Taylor of MDA’s Existing Industry and Business Division. “This year’s show promises to be one of the biggest ones we’ve had to date.”

Vendors selling made-in-Mississippi products have booths that sell to credentialed buyers from retail stores in Mississippi and surrounding states. The show is not open to the general public, and no vendor may sell wares at the market. They can, however, take orders for items to be sold in stores. Mississippi manufacturers, artisans, wholesalers and service providers exhibit at the Market, trying to catch the eye of shop owners and buyers. Items on display will include jewelry, specialty apparel, pottery, decorative accessories, gourmet foods, garden accessories, personal accessories, art, linens, bath care products, aroma therapy products, candles, gourmet coffees and teas, children’s accessories and specialty furniture. Store supplies such as gift wrap and services used by retailers will be represented as well.

In addition to booth space at the show, both buyers and vendors appreciate the many seminars that the MDA presents. “Last year was the first year to have a representative from AmericasMart in Atlanta,” said Taylor. “Everyone wanted to attend that seminar to get tips on how to shop at a market.” AmericasMart is the largest wholesale marketplace of its kind, attracting more than 235,000 attendees from around the globe to 25+ annual markets.

Another popular seminar is the color and visual merchandising seminar for the fall and holidays. “Last year ,that seminar was packed,” said Taylor. “Everyone wants to know how to do a better job with presentation.” Tom McIntyre of A Daisy A Day and Lisa Hayman of Chapman’s Florist, representing the Mississippi Florist Association, will present exciting ways to revitalize a store’s image with an array of ideas and themes for both store windows and in-store vignettes.

One seminar that Taylor encourages all businesses to attend is the one presented by ChamberPlus Inc. Established in 1996, ChamberPlus gives small businesses a big business discount on quality health plans. “We work with business incubators, and we always encourage them to get together with other small businesses and join the Chamber as a group so they can share the benefits.”

As an added incentive to attend the Market this year, buyers can register to win buyer’s getaway trips. “We are offering three different trips for three lucky winners to experience Mississippi’s best kept secrets,” said Taylor. “They must attend the market to register for the trips, but they don’t have to be present to win.” The trips include a Gulf Coast getaway for two with a two night stay in the Beau Rivage and dinner at Mary Mahoneys, a two-night stay for two at the Pearl River Resort with dinners and a Greenwood trip where the winner receives “Viking dollars” that they can spend as they wish on the Viking Cooking School, Alluvian Hotel or Alluvian Spa.

The deadline for buyers to pre-register to attend the market is May 25. After May 25, buyers may register at the show by bringing their tax number and two forms of credentials to the show on June 5 or 6. If buyers have registered for or attended the show in the last three years, they still need to RSVP, but they do not have to re-register by sending credentials. This year the show is scheduled to be held June 5-6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

For more information, visit the Mississippi Wholesale Market website at www.mississippimarket.org or call 1-888-886-3323.

Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at andersonwrites@yahoo.com .

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