Hands off market money, say industry leaders

Apr. 01, 2013 @ 06:31 PM

Most of the heavy-hitters in the American home furnishings industry have a message for North Carolina elected officials — we rely on state funding for the High Point Market. 

Forty-two presidents and chief executive officers of furniture companies employing more than 9,000 North Carolina breadwinners have signed a letter objecting to Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposal to cut state funding in half for the High Point Market Authority. The governor last month proposed reducing state funding from $1.65 million to $800,000 by the middle of 2014. 
The letter, released today, is directed to the two most powerful legislators in the General Assembly — Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House Speaker Thom Tills, R-Mecklenburg. While McCrory has proposed his $20.6 billion state budget, the final say on the spending plan will come down to the 170 members of the General Assembly.
“We have a wonderful public-private partnership, with the local government, private enterprise and the state of North Carolina all contributing a fair share of our budget,” said Doug Bassett, president of Virginia-based Vaughan-Basssett Furniture Co. and chairman of the High Point Market Authority.
Not only do the furniture company executives object to McCrory’s proposed cut in funding, but they call for the General Assembly to restore support to $2 million, which was the level three years ago. 
State funding makes up about one-third of the $4.7 million of the Market Authority’s overall annual budget. State appropriations support shuttle and transportation services for marketgoers and promotion of the world’s largest home furnishings trade show, which is also the single-largest economic event in North Carolina annually.
“The market’s economic impact is $1.2 billion and the furniture industry’s impact on the N.C. economy is over $8 billion,” Bassett said.
The furniture industry executives say in the letter that the High Point Market generates roughly $40 million in tax receipts, meaning a 20-to-1 return on the state funding.
The letter indicates a “vibrant High Point Market increases the chances that new furniture industry jobs will be created in our state, and not elsewhere.”

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528


Copy of the full letter:

April 2, 2013   

The Honorable Phil Berger   The Honorable Thom Tillis
President Pro Tempore   Speaker
NC Senate     NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 2008  16 W. Jones Street, Room 2304
Raleigh, NC  27601-2808   Raleigh, NC  27601-1096

Dear President Berger and Speaker Tillis:

We are writing to you as representatives of the furniture industry and as major employers in North Carolina to express our strong support for the State’s continued funding of its partnership with the High Point Market Authority (HPMA.)  We are asking for the state to fund HPMA at our fiscal 2010 level of $2.0 million -- $1.2 million in transportation funds and $806,478 in marketing funds.

For almost a decade, the State of North Carolina has partnered with private industry and with the City of High Point and other local bodies to fund the operations of the HPMA.   Roughly one-third of our funding has come from furniture companies like us who exhibit our products in High Point through a self-imposed showroom tax.  Another third of our funding comes from the City of High Point and other local bodies and the final third of our funding has come from the State of North Carolina.

This has been a wise investment by the State; our two markets each year generate about $40 million in state tax receipts, or a return of twenty dollars for every one dollar invested by the State.  This return is directly related to the 80,000 visitors that the furniture market attracts to North Carolina for up to one week, twice each year.  Put another way, over 2200 companies exhibit at each Market and over 10,000 companies come to High Point Market to buy furniture every April and October.  It’s like hosting two Super Bowls in North Carolina every year.

The High Point Market’s impact is not limited to the Market itself.  The reason many of our companies have placed our headquarters, distribution centers and factories in North Carolina is directly related to the success of the High Point Market and North Carolina’s status as our industry’s epicenter.  Because the housing industry is finally healing, our industry’s immediate future looks bright.  A vibrant High Point Market increases the chances that new furniture industry jobs will be created in our State, and not elsewhere.

Over the last thirty years, we have watched vibrant furniture markets in Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco close their doors.  While our Market in North Carolina is the dominant show today, its future success is not guaranteed. 


We greatly appreciate the support the State of North Carolina has provided to the furniture industry and to the High Point Market through the years.  This has been a strong and successful partnership that we value highly.  We urge you to help us build on our past success through continued full funding of the State’s partnership in HPMA.


Doug Bassett   President of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture
    Chairman of the High Point Market Authority

Kevin O’Connor  President & CEO of Samson Marketing
    Immediate Past Chairman of the HPMA

John Bray   CEO of Vanguard Furniture Company
    Past Chairman of HPMA

Alphabetical Listing by Company:

Jack Richardson  President of American Drew, Lea and Hammary
Bill Colegrove   President & CEO of Aspen Furniture
J. Scott Ostrander  President & Managing Partner of Austin Group Furniture
Rob Spilman   President and CEO of Bassett Furniture Industries.
G. Alex Bernhardt, Jr.  President & CEO of Bernhardt Furniture Company
Mark Stephens  President of Broyhill Furniture
Alex Shuford, II  Chairman of Century Furniture
Rick Grant   President & Partner of Charleston Forge
Roy Calcagne   President of Craftmaster Furniture
Clarence Roseman, Jr.  CEO of CR Laine Furniture
Mark Craven   President of Fairfield Chair
George Tsai   Chairman of Fairmont Designs
Ralph Scozzafava  CEO of Furniture Brands International
Daniel Bradley  President of Furniture Brands Designer Brands Group
    (Drexel Heritage, Henredon, Maitland-Smith)
George Revington  President & CEO of Home Meridien
Paul Toms   Chairman & CEO of Hooker Furniture
    Past Chairman of HPMA
Noel Chitwood  President of Lacquer Craft Hospitality
Dan Masters   President of Lane Furniture Industries
Kurt Darrow   President and CEO of La-Z-Boy
Steve Kincaid   President of La-Z-Boy Casegoods
    Past Chairman of HPMA
Mike Harris   President of Legacy Classic Furniture
Phil Haney   President & CEO of Lexington Home Brands
    CEO of Rowe Furniture
Fernando Di Gaetano  President of Natuzzi Americas
Mark Phillips   President & CEO of Phillips Collection
Shawn Cantrell  President of Prime Resources International
Page Wilson   President of Pulaski Furniture
Fred Henjes   President & CEO of Riverside Furniture Corp.
Lee Boone   President of Samuel Lawrence Furniture
Frank Norton   President of Samson International
Kevin Sauder   President and CEO of Sauder Woodworking
Russell Towner  President of Theodore Alexander USA, Inc.
Ed Teplitz   President of Thomasville Furniture
Rod Lambeth   President & CEO of Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth
Larry George   President of United Furniture Industries
Jeff Scheffer   President of Universal Furniture
John D. Bassett, III  Chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company
    CEO of Webb Furniture Company
Wyatt Bassett   CEO of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company
Company Information:

American Drew is a division of La-Z-Boy.

Aspen Furniture has a showroom in High Point.

Austin Group Furniture employs 20 people in NC.  US Headquarters and Distribution Center in Greensboro.

Bassett Furniture Industries employs over 400 people in North Carolina.  It has a factory in Newton, several retail stores around the state and a showroom in High Point.

Bernhardt Furniture Company employs 1000 people in NC.  Headquarters in Lenoir.

Broyhill Furniture is a division of Furniture Brands.

Century Furniture employs 750 people in NC.  It has its Headquarters, factory and a distribution center in Hickory.

Charleston Forge has 37 NC employees and its headquarters is in Boone.

Craftmaster is a division of Samson Marketing.

CR Laine has 135 employees at its facilities in Hickory and a showroom in High Point.

Drexel Heritage is a division of Furniture Brands.

Fairfield Chair has its headquarters in Lenoir and two factories in that area.

Fairmont Designs has 75 employees in NC.  They have a factory in Hickory and a showroom in High Point.

Furniture Brands International has more than 30 NC locations that employ 3200 people.  Its divisions include Broyhill, Drexel Heritage, Henredon, Hickory Chair, LaBarge, Lane, Lane Venture, Maitland-Smith, Pearson and Thomasville.

Hammary is a division of La-Z-Boy.

Henredon is a division of Furniture Brands.

Hickory Chair is a division of Furniture Brands.

Home Meridien International employs 125 people in NC.  It has its corporate offices, its design center, its showrooms and its warehouse in High Point.  It has a distribution center in Madison.
Pulaski Furniture, Samuel Lawrence Furniture, and Prime Resources International are divisions of Home Meridien.

Hooker Furniture has 200 employees in NC, including those at their Bradington-Young facility in the Hickory/Cherryville area.

LaBarge is a division of Furniture Brands.

Lacquer Craft Hospitality is a division of Samson Marketing.

Lane and Lane Venture are divisions of Furniture Brands.

La-Z-Boy Casegoods employs 400 people in NC.  It has facilities in Hudson, North Wilkesboro and Granite Falls and showrooms in High Point.  American Drew, Lea, Hammary and Kincaid are brands under the La-Z-Boy label.

Lea is a division of La-Z-Boy.

Legacy Classic is a division of Samson Marketing.

Lexington Home Brands employs 500 people in NC.  Its has a showrooms in Thomasville and  High Point, a showroom and corporate offices in Thomasville, its distribution center in Lexington and an upholstery factory in Hildebrand.

Maitland  Smith is a division of Furniture Brands.

Natuzzi has 50 NC employees.  It has its U.S. offices and owns its own showroom in High Point.

Pearson is a division of Furniture Brands.

Phillips Collection has 33 employees in NC.  Headquarters, office, warehouse and showroom in High Point. 

Prime Resources International is a division of Home Meridien International.

Progressive Furniture is a division of Sauder Woodworking.

Pulaski Furniture is a division of Home Meridien International.

Samuel Lawrence Furniture is a division of Home Meridien International.

Riverside Furniture has about 25 seasonal employees in NC during markets and a showroom in High Point.

Rowe Furniture has a factory in Virginia and its showroom and offices in High Point.

Samson International is a division of Samson Marketing.

Samson Marketing has five divisions:  Craftmaster has a factory in Taylorsville with over 400 employees. Lacquer Craft Hospitality, Legacy Classic, Samson International and Universal Furniture have their Headquarters and Distribution Centers in High Point.  Universal owns its own showroom in High Point.  The company employs 700 people in NC overall.

Sauder Woodworking is based in Ohio.  It owns Progressive Furniture, which has 16 employees at its facility in Claremont.

Theodore Alexander USA, Inc. has 73 employees at its facilities in High Point, Thomasville and Conover.  They employ an additional 150 people during or near Market times.

Thomasville is a division of Furniture Brands.

Tomlinson Erwin-Lambeth employs 85 people.  There are two additional divisions:  Directional Furniture and Carter Furniture.  Headquarters and factory are in Thomasville.

United Furniture Industries has 1075 employees in NC.  Facilities in Archdale, Lexington and High Point.

Universal is a division of Samson Marketing.

Vanguard Furniture employs 400 people in NC.  Headquarters and Factory in

Vaughan-Bassett employs has 70 people who work in or are from NC.  Distribution Center in Elkin.

Webb Furniture has a particleboard plant and mirror factory in Virginia.