OUR OPINION: Furniture market’s earlier start brings optimism – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Expectations are high for the 60th Tupelo Furniture Market, which begins this week.

It’s a much earlier start date, and that fuels the optimism of Market President Kevin Seddon and others.

Typically, the twice-yearly event has run a February/August schedule. It switched to January and June this year to attract more attendees, as the Daily Journal’s Dennis Seid reported. The winter market will run from Thursday until Sunday.

Officials say tax season has shifted over time with taxpayers getting their refunds earlier in the year. That has made it more difficult for retailers to come to Tupelo in February when they’re often flush with shoppers intent on spending refund checks.

Plus, officials say, having the first furniture market of 2017 will help Tupelo stand out from other events. Preregistration numbers are more than 50 percent higher than for the last market, which did not meet expectations.

“It will be very close to the most pre-registrations we’ve had in the past 10 years,” Seddon said.

It’s not the first time Tupelo has tried a winter market. Ten years ago, officials tried a mid-January event in response to the new Las Vegas market, which held its winter showcase in late January.

After a two-year run, Tupelo moved back to its February schedule.

But the changes in tax season have made it clear that Tupelo had to change its dates in order to attract smaller, independent retailers.

There are other reasons officials have high hopes for the upcoming market. Last fall’s attendance was hurt by the uncertainty of the Presidential election. That uncertainty meant there wasn’t as much interest in buying at the time.

Now that the election is over and Wall Street is responding positively, consumers and retailers have increased their spending.

Their optimism bodes well for the Tupelo Furniture Market and for the local economy, which benefits greatly from a strong furniture market. Not only does the event bring scores of out-of-town guests to Tupelo, it also provides an important outlet for the region’s furniture companies.

This is the 30th anniversary of the Tupelo Furniture Market, which has earned a reputation as one of the “Big Three” furniture markets, along with Las Vegas and High Point, North Carolina.

However, the market has lost some of its luster in recent years, as evidenced by this fall’s poor showing.

We welcome the effort by officials to reenergize the market with an earlier start date and are encouraged by their optimism. Hopefully the new date proves to be more attractive to market attendees and keeps Tupelo as the place to be for those in the furniture industry.

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