TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Tens of thousands of people are heading to Northeast Mississippi for the bi annual Furniture Market. As WCBI’s Allie Martin reports, there are strong indicators that this market may be the largest in several years.
As workers unpack boxes , exhibitors are poised to sell. This market attracts buyers from throughout the southeast, along with other regions and even other countries.
“We do have one customer from the Middle East that is planning to be here,” said Virgil Henry, of J Henry Furniture.
This is the second market for J Henry, a furniture manufacturer from Okolona. The company has been in business less than one year and has seen strong sales.
Furniture Market President Kevin Seddon says it’s evident that momentum is picking up in the furniture industry and that reflects in the number of pre registrations. Around 15 thousand have pre registered for this market, which was moved up a few weeks from last year’s Spring show.
“We’re very early in February this year, and tax season is later, and it’s worked out wonderfully in that the retailers don’t have to be in their stores because checks are dropping and they can actually get their product in time if they order at the market,” said Kevin Seddon, president of the Tupelo Furniture Market.
That optimism is shared by exhibitors we spoke with who tell us they come to the Tupelo Market because it’s known as a market where orders are written and they also say it’s unique because of its hospitality.
“You need to go somewhere, they have a van, you need breakfast, they have breakfast, you need lunch, they have lunch, and then of course, I’m a catfish lover, so who else can prepare catfish like Mississippi,” said Ray Steele, of Gail’s Accents.
Ray Steele and his wife run Gail’s Accents. They have been regulars at the Tupelo Market for 13 years and have established a reputation among buyers because of their unique, and often blinged out items.
“We are the Tiffany’s of Tupelo,” Steele said.
Steele expects a breakout year because of a more robust economy and a jump in housing starts. Strong economic indicators are what prompted an Indonesian based company to try this market for the first time.
“We’ve noticed with our import business into the United States, is growing, at the end of last year was picking up a lot, we think it’s a good time to concentrate on southern market in the United States,” said Adrian Kalinin, of Kalindale Products.
In fact, even before his showroom was ready, Kalinin was fielding questions from potential customers. And that’s a good sign in any market.
The Tupelo Furniture Market officially opens Thursday, however, many buyers will be in town and ready to write orders Wednesday.