Show how much clout
Supporters of the High Point Market hope that investing $50,000 in a new economic study of the event will have a multiplier effect of showing the scope and importance of the trade show.
The board of directors of the High Point Market Authority unanimously decided this morning to contract with economic researchers at Duke University to examine the economic impact of the world’s largest home furnishings trade show and the largest single economic event in North Carolina each year. The study will have three primary objectives:
• Reflect the economic benefits of the market locally, regionally and statewide
• Compare and benchmark the economic impact and scope of the High Point Market with other major home furnishings trade shows
• Show the impact on the High Point Market on vendors and businesses that benefit from trade show commerce
The study would be conducted this summer, with the results released this fall, said Doug Bassett, chairman of the Market Authority board and a home furnishings industry executive.
Bassett said conducting the study “couldn’t be more timely” after the recent controversy over state funding for the High Point Market.
Last month new Gov. Pat McCrory initially recommended cutting market funding in half as part of his $20.6 billion state budget proposal. But after a political avalanche of opposition to the idea, McCrory reversed course and now is on board with maintaining market funding at $1.65 million annually.
Bassett and Market Authority President Tom Conley told the board that they feel confident the N.C. General Assembly, which has final say on the state budget, will at minimum maintain the current level of state funding. The state money, which goes toward transportation services and promotion of the trade show, makes up about one-third of the Market Authority’s overall $4.7 million annual budget.
To address the Market Authority financial needs with its growing responsibilities, Conley said market supporters intend to approach governments and other entities in the region about offering some type of financial support to market.
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Two studies have been done in the past nine years about the economic impact of the High Point Market. A study performed in 2004 by Andrew Brod, an economic researcher at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, showed that the spring and fall trade shows have a more than $1 billion annual economic impact on the Piedmont and state. A study done six years ago through High Point University showed the market plays a key role in the $8 billion economic impact of the furnishings industry on North Carolina.