Our View: Market time: Furnishings showcase returns
As we prepared for another spring edition of the High Point Market last week, our attention was focused much of the time on the Boston area and the events unfolding there related to last Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
And as we expressed sympathies for those who died or were hurt in the blasts, local officials here began redoubling security efforts to protect the 70,000-plus people who will be in the city this weekend and the coming week for the world’s premier home furnishings exhibition. For years, officials have placed a high priority on market security, but events such as happened in Boston intensify precautionary measures.
“There’s no reason to believe that this market is any kind of a target,” High Point Police Chief Marty Sumner told the Enterprise early last week. “There’s no specific information, no specific threat. We’ve just raised our awareness level on account of what happened (in Boston).”
During market, Sumner said, about 60 police officers are assigned to the downtown market area. Additionally, video surveillance systems are in place, tight parking restrictions are enforced in the market area and other security measures are employed.
The High Point Police Department and other emergency services in the city surely are right to elevate their preparedness levels and precautionary measures for this market and any market. Just because we’ve been fortunate during decades past, it doesn’t mean we can ever become complacent about security.
Again this market — even though Saturday was the official opening day — business activity began building earlier in the week. By Friday, large numbers of market visitors already were on the streets and scouring showrooms. And one industry official noticed something interesting about the crowd of buyers this market.
“The nice thing is they look like they’re bringing larger buying groups with them,” said Heinz Kattenfeld, chief operating officer of the 220 Elm showroom complex. And that is a good sign for the market and the industry. During recent markets amid a slower economy, companies were cutting back on the numbers of representatives they sent to market.
Additionally, Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority, told the Enterprise that the number of furniture buyers already registered this market was up.
“Our preregistration numbers are very strong,” Conley said. “All indications we’ve gotten from talking to vendors and buyers are that it’s going to be a great market, because attitude and ability to buy are much more important than just how many bodies we have.”
That being said, and this beginning Day 2 of the Spring 2013 High Point Market, we welcome you to High Point and extend to you our wishes for a successful and safe market visit.