Home Point, North Carolina, is a modest city in the Piedmont Triad region. With just over 100,000 population, its residents are mostly students, staff, and faculty of the private High Point University. However, a bi-yearly event doubles the city’s size by attracting close to 80,000 visitors to attend the High Point Southern Furniture Market. It’s the largest furniture trade fair event across the globe that features the region’s influence and participation in the furniture-making industry.
Why makes High Point so unique?
Thanks to a combination of cultural factors and geographical location, High Point is a prime real estate for a healthy supply of timber for the furniture-making industry. Anything from heritage brands like Century Furniture to younger upstarts like Lee Industries has factories in the surrounding area.
You can trace its roots in the 17th century when English makers found their home and continued their craft in the New World. Because of the development of the Southern Railway, smooth transportation of the region’s products made it a profitable center for export.
The High Point Furniture Exposition Company, together with the Furniture Manufacturers Exposition company, conceptualized a unique trade show known as the Southern Furniture Market in 1909. It had disappointing moments in different points in history, such as a lull in profit and participants due to the 1929 crash. However, it also experienced various booms, particularly after World War I and II. Regardless of these challenging points in history, it remains the world’s largest furniture market across generations.
What makes the Southern Furniture Market so impressive?
The event boasts a revenue estimate of over $140 million spread across hotel reservations, transportation, dining, and more. Dozens of other industries, such as food trucks and pop-up vendors, head to the market to accommodate traveling editors, bloggers, designers, and other furniture enthusiasts.
With over 12 million square feet of showroom, you can find anything from modern items to vintage furniture pieces. Although the event features manufacturers around its local city limits, it attracts the interest of companies all over the world. Because of this, companies worldwide make sure to reserve space during these two events.
Why am I only hearing about this fair now?
Its significant attendance count should already seem newsworthy for multiple papers and magazines to cover. However, there’s a considerably high bar for entry to the event. The market is entirely hush-hush, with most of the market open only exclusively to trade partners. Although some convention spaces are open to the public, much of its prime attractions are for a private audience. Only people in the scene, such as licensed interior designers and retail buyers, can access the hundreds of showroom spaces throughout the city.
Since the event only happens twice a year, organizations are making efforts to use the massive showroom space for the rest of the year. It’s a promising initiative to sustain the hustle and bustle of visiting tourists. Meanwhile, factories nearby are just waiting for the opportunity to put their wares on display for the world to see.
If you have the opportunity to go furniture shopping in North Carolina, don’t forget to have High Point one of your travel destinations. For more industry news and furniture buying tips, browse our blog today!