Market leaders ramp up funding efforts

Feb. 07, 2013 @ 05:28 PM

Although High Point Market is still a couple of months away, event leaders are working to stay ahead of the game.
At its quarterly meeting Thursday, the High Point Market Authority board discussed what is possibly the most important part of the market — funding.
Chairman Doug Bassett and President Tom Conley have and will make trips to Raleigh to educate new senators and representatives of the statewide importance of the High Point Market.
“Our biggest challenge is to secure funding,” Bassett said. “Our budget is made up of three things: state funding, local funding from the city of High Point and Guilford County and vendors tax. The good news is that the tax number seems to be stabilizing as well as local money. The scariest third is the state funding.”
Bassett, Conley and others are going to Raleigh on Feb. 26 to testify before a House committee. They also are setting up meetings with the new transportation secretary and will host a breakfast on March 19 to further acclimate new state representatives to the trade show.
Board member Tom Mitchell resurrected the possibility of doing a new economic impact study that could be used to educate legislators and present a broader, more recent picture of the impact of the furniture market on not just High Point, but the state.
The latest study for the market was done in 2007, just before the Great Recession.
“The industry has changed quite a bit, and what’s going on here in High Point has changed quite a bit, and we may benefit from better and newer data that we can share with the state and show how important market is not only to this region, but to the furniture industry.”
Bassett said the market would benefit by having the study done by an entity outside of the Triad.
“The region understands how important this is. It’s convincing the legislators in Raleigh that this is not just for High Point,” Bassett said. “We have drafts of a proposal from Duke University, and I think another one is the works from N.C. State. The Duke proposal would cost about $50,000. The goal is to have multiple proposals to present at the next executive committee meeting and hopefully present it at April market to the whole board.”
The board also discussed the technology issue that the city has worked to improve. The city spent millions to enhance the outdoor WiFi downtown and while improvement was reported from the previous market, it hasn’t solved the problem. Mitchell said the pipeline and capacity is bigger, but there hasn’t been support from the various carriers.
Pre-market will take place March 11-12 and the spring High Point Market will be back in town April 20-25.
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617