Urethane Blog

Tupelo Furniture Market

February 14, 2022

Back to Basics: Downsized Tupelo Furniture Market to have first event since 2020

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TUPELO • For the first time since 2020, the Tupelo Furniture Market is hosting an industry trade show. The Winter Market will be an abbreviated one, starting Wednesday and wrapping up Friday. 

“We’re getting back to the basics,” said TFM Chairman V.M. Cleveland. “We’re not going to have the awards ceremonies or the free buffets or entertainment or anything like that. We’re just going to match up the vendors with the buyers and retailers and just do business like the way we started 35 years ago.”

The market’s last trade show was the summer market of 2020. It skipped all of last year over concerns with the pandemic, although High Point and Las Vegas had their markets. Cleveland said Tupelo wasn’t in a position to host a market, however.

“We really didn’t want people from 40-50 states exposed to COVID or bringing COVID here to us,” he said. “But the industry itself was part of the reason, because the delivery times for a lot of manufacturers went from 30 days to 60 days to 90 days to six months or more.”

The slow delivery times made hosting a market with something new to show difficult, if not impossible.

“What were we going to show?” he said. “You might be getting something by the time the second show came around if you were lucky, and most people didn’t want to take part in that. It was hard to justify a market. Vegas and High Point had markets, but they weren’t great.”

Supply chain disruptions did cause some manufacturers to push back delivery schedules. That affected smaller companies the most — the ones that most often show in Tupelo.

Still, it was a difficult decision to make for a market that had held consecutive twice-yearly markets since 1987.

“So we’ll do a little market this year because we have vendors who said they can ship, and this market is for them,” Cleveland said. “We’re not going to drag it out over the weekend – it’ll be a compact three days for the vendors who contacted us, and it’ll be all business.”

Debbie Henry, the market’s director of sales, said retailers and exhibitors alike expressed an interest in having a winter market.

“We knew in order to have something for them worth coming for, we had to have at least 50 vendors, which made sense,” she said. “We thought it would be difficult, but we have 75 with no problem at all, and we could have 100 by the time it opens.”

Henry said the market recruited companies that could ship product within weeks. It didn’t go after companies that couldn’t ship until a few months down the road.

“The beauty of this smaller market is that the vendors who are here can ship their products in the normal four to six weeks,” she said. “I think that will be a good draw for the market.”


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