Our View: City loses trade show

Jan. 27, 2013 @ 01:48 AM

The news last week should be a wake-up call to the High Point area’s business, civic and political leaders.
The Southern Building Materials Association, which has held its annual buying show here for 11 years, will hold its meeting next year in another city. There’s just no longer a suitable facility in High Point large enough to hold the trade show, the group’s officials say.
Such a statement carries weight. High Point area business, civic and political leaders should be listening. The message is clear — High Point needs a mid-sized convention/exhibition/arena facility designed for events other than High Point Market activities.
Among some, yes, this is not a popular idea. But the potential that High Point has for drawing conventions, trade shows and other events during off-market times — and that potential is great — simply cannot be tapped without a multipurpose facility that can be adapted for use hosting a variety of events. Such a facility is needed to stimulate economic activity in High Point throughout the year when High Point Market activities aren’t occupying everyone’s attention.
Last June, the High Point Partners group expressed interest in studying the feasibility of having a convention center in the city. We urge that group of business and development leaders to keep that momentum alive.
City leaders last year also expressed interest, but emphasized their preference that development of such a facility be a privately funded venture. They noted the city has several pressing facilities needs, such as a new police department. That’s a reasonable position, especially given the police department’s needs.
However, this is an economic issue. It’s not some fanciful idea to have a facility just because Greensboro has its coliseum complex. And certainly, that is not what High Point needs.
The city’s business, political and civic leaders must not allow the idea for a convention/exhibition/arena facility to be pushed to a back-burner. Last week’s news from Southern Building Materials Association clearly shows why.