TUPELO FURNITURE MARKET:’It’s going to be very scary’

BY DENNIS SEID
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Judy Chen has been showing at the Tupelo Furniture Market for some 20 years, but her time here, she says, is coming to an end.

Her company, Yuan Tai, sells furniture such as bedroom sets, dinettes, curio cabinets and bunk beds. But like many other furniture companies, the battered economy has done no favors for her Houston, Texas-based business.

With the winter Tupelo Furniture Market under way this weekend, Chen isn’t optimistic that she’ll see many buyers.

“It’s going to be very scary,” Chen said last week. “A lot of stores have closed, people aren’t going to Tupelo as much anymore … I don’t know. The last few markets have not been very good for us. We’re trying to find customers, but they are not coming.”

And finding customers in a recession is a tough proposition these days, no matter what you’re selling. Furniture and bedding sales fell more than 9 percent last year, according to Furniture Today, which forecasts another 2 percent drop this year.

“I would say that’s probably a little optimistic,” said Ron Wanek, chairman of Ashley Furniture, the nation’s largest furniture manufacturer which posted more than $3 billion in sales in 2007.

For Chen, showing at Tupelo no longer makes economic sense, and she plans to pull out as soon as her lease expires.

“We have to look where we can cut,” she said. “The business is not there anymore.”

T-TOWN comment: Although most LARGE manufacturers around T-Town are staying optimistic, EVERY little guy I’ve spoken with recently think this will be the worst market yet. Even though sign-ups are higher than the last market, most agree the new Sat-Wed schedule was a mistake. Noone expects movement today through Wed. Also, I’ve yet to meet a person that plans to continue a lease on yearly showroom space.

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9 Responses to “TUPELO FURNITURE MARKET:’It’s going to be very scary’”

  1. jr85reb Says:

    Not a good sign for the home team.

  2. Dale Says:

    I have read several articles that registration was up over last Aug. I have attended every market since the beginning but choose to sit out this one. Registration was up simply because the market called and registrated people on the phone, never done that in the past. I would really like to know how many attended market. Everyone I have spoke with said it was like a ghost town at market.
    I haven’t liked the market for the simple reason that if you are breathing, you can get it. My opinion is if your going to run a wholesale maket, it should be just that. It should not be for any and everyone. I have seen so many of my customers walking the halls of Tupelo market over the years and that isn’t right. It has always been a convienent market for us to reach and work but I am pleased to say I have attended Las Vegas market the last six markets and plan to continue.

  3. Greg "The Brick Man" Says:

    I think this post – and the whole negative media spin is insulting to everyone involved in the Furniture Market. Let’s have a positive attitude for a change, shall we??

  4. getitoverwith Says:

    oh well. I was going to say I can never get in to the market but would like to. Maybe it would be better if they opened it up to the public just once. try it out and see if they get more people and business.

  5. Dale Says:

    Open it to the public ????? It isn’t for the public. It is a wholesale market for buyers of retail stores, not for people wanting to redecorate their house !!!!!

  6. tupelotalk Says:

    Brick Man, after half a dozen of these markets going sour can’t we just talk truthfully ? What’s the use of lying ?

    If you want to read hype, go read Furniture Today.

  7. jr85reb Says:

    getitoverwith, you may be on to something there. If wholesalers, who are not even showing at the market are complaining, then it might help with market stimulation to let the general public have a chance at decent priced furniture without the price being increased by resalers. It’s probably a moot point. I don’t think the average person, with the economy the way it is, is going to be redecorating their houses.

  8. Dale Says:

    Guy’s I don’t know what either of you do for a living, I assume you both have jobs you go to daily and draw a weel;y or bi-weekly paycheck. If the industry opens wholesale markets to the general public then it will further hurt the economy by putting more stores out of business. If we let folks buy wholesale, it would be kinda like you going to work all week with no paycheck. As far as getting into the Tupelo market, I have seen for years when I would attend, some of my own customers walking up and down the same hallways I do and these are people who are wives of doctors, gas stations owners, lawyers etc. which none of these have any business getting into a wholesale furniture market. This market has NEVER been run right and never will.

  9. tupelotalk Says:

    How about this,

    Why don’t the retailers, of which 99.9% don’t pay for the items up front anyhow, set up their businesses where they can make a profit without doubling the wholesale price ?

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