Family has three generations attending High Point Market

Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:14 AM

It’s been more than half a century since Emmet Root began attending the old Southern Furniture Market, and he hasn’t missed one since.
“I started in October 1955 — you can put a calculator to it to see how many markets that is,” the 79-year-old Root said Friday afternoon as he prepared for this week’s market — now known as the High Point Market — which opened Saturday.
That’s a lot of furniture markets, Root admits, but this one is special: For the first time, three generations of Roots are here representing Furniture Sales of Mid-America, the Omaha, Neb., company Root founded. Root, who now serves as chairman of the board, brought with him his son Michael, the president and chief executive officer, who has attended the market off and on for about 25 years; and his grandson Jay, attending his first market as a sales representative.
“Jay hasn’t quite found the flow yet,” Emmet said, “but he’s getting it.”
Jay didn’t disagree with his grandfather.
“I’ve gotten lost a couple of times,” he acknowledged with a chuckle. “That’s why it’s good that my dad and my grandfather have been coming however many years they’ve been coming.”
By the same token, Emmet said it’s a blessing having Jay work with him.
“Jay joined us this market to make some of the longer trips that I don’t want to make anymore,” he said.
Don’t get the idea, though, that Emmet doesn’t want to be here. He lives for this, and he hopes that enthusiasm will be the legacy he leaves his son and grandson.
“Oh, I love it,” said Emmet, a former president of the National Wholesale Furniture Association. “Mr. (Warren) Buffett says he skips to work every day, and I do the same thing. As long as God gives me good health and a mind that still works pretty well, I’m very happy to be doing what I do. It’s a pleasure every day to go to work.”
And he especially enjoys coming to the High Point Market twice a year.
“I’ve always said that if you’re in the furniture business and you don’t go to High Point, you aren’t really in the furniture business, because this is where the action is,” he said. “To me, this is where the pulse of our business is. I love seeing the people here, and I just enjoy watching the changes in design and merchandising.”
Emmet added, though, that it’s also been a pleasure to have his son — and now his grandson — join him in High Point.
“It’s nice to have that new adrenaline flowing through the business,” he said.

jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579