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High Point Market Authority encouraged by early attendance

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HIGH POINT — Monday is day three of the High Point Market where more than 2,000 exhibitors will show off the latest in furniture designs.

The twice-yearly High Point Market is a huge draw in the U.S. and around the world, and attendance so far could be signaling a return to pre-recession levels.

The High Point Market boasts some impressive numbers including 180 buildings and nearly 12 million square feet of showspace.

There's an excitement about the potential for the spring event.

"I've talked to a few of the exhibitors and they've experienced the highest attendance that they've had in probably five or six years," said Tom Conley, president of the High Point Market Authority.

An improving economy likely figures in the increase. The market authority also waged an aggressive outreach in advance.

"This year we made over 80,000 phone calls to invite retailers and designers to come to market," said Conley. "We've never done that before. We just felt that we had to get the word out to the retailers and to the designers and let them know how exciting this market was going to be and it seems to have paid off really, really well for us."

The market includes more than 2,000 exhibitors. One in 10 is new.

"We have some turnover for every market. It's actually good news because there are new young, innovative companies that are starting out," Conley said. "Some of them come in and show one or two products. Some come in and show a whole line of products."

One of them is California-based Furniture of America.

"It's our first time that we now have national exposure for trade shows for the customers," said Michael Genrich, senior vice president of sales and marketing. "So for the customers in east coast now we have a showroom in High Point."

Conley said this was the place to be if you were in home furnishings. As Genrich put it, if you were in High Point you were in the game.

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