1889: Production begins in High Point's first furniture
factory. The High Point Furniture Manufacturing Co. ships its first
piece, an office desk, by July. Its success inspires others to get
into the business. The industry grows thanks to a ready supply of
inexpensive lumber and a regional market for cheap furniture.
1909: The first formal Southern Furniture Market is held in
High Point March 1-15. It quickly becomes a popular regional market.
1921: The Southern Furniture Exposition Building opens for
its first show June20. Built in 19 months, it costs about $1 million
and holds 249,000 square feet of exhibition space. Regular shows are
held in January and July.
1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, and the United States
enters World War II. Material and manpower used for furniture making
are turned to the war effort. Except 1943, the furniture market is
put on hold until the end of the war.
1950: The Wrenn Wing is added to the Southern Furniture
Exposition Building. The center's fourth expansion is connected to
older parts of the building by glass walkways over Wrenn Street.
During the 1950s, informal "in-between" markets begin to emerge,
hosting visitors in April and October. The main markets are still
held in January and July.
1960s: The size and scope of the mid-season marketing April
and October begin to surpass the January and July shows. During the
next two decades, they become the dominant force in the American
furniture industry. Showrooms other than the Southern Furniture
Exposition Building gain stature, both in size and importance.
1980: Although the furniture market is well established in
High Point, organizers in Dallas make a bid to host the major
national home furnishings market. In High Point, this spurs a trend
toward increasing services for furniture market visitors
consolidating the show.
1982: The January and July shows, long relegated to the
status of regional markets, are discontinued. April and October are
now the only shows in High Point.
1989: The Southern Furniture Market is renamed the
International Home Furnishings Market. High Point's largest
showroom, the Southern Furniture Exposition Building, changes its
name to the International Home Furnishings Center, or IHFC. With
nearly 7 million square feet of furniture showroom space already
available around the city a decade-long showroom building boom is
about to begin. About 55,000 people attend the October market.
1990s: A construction boom that continues today begins an
additional 3 million square feet of showrooms to High Point.
2000: Showroom expansion in High Point continues, with the
addition of massive new temporary exhibit spaces: The Suites at
Market Square (April) and Showplace (October).
2001: The 12th floor of the IHFC opens, giving the building
3.5 million square feet of space. It's now more than 14 times its
original size. Market organizers estimate about 80,000 visitors on
average attend the April and October Markets. Organizers announce
the formation of the High Point International Home Furnishings
Market Authority Corp. The Market Authority hires a professional
transportation company to take over all shuttle operations for the
trade show and begin looking at other means to improve the logistics
for the show.
2002: Market organizers go to the N.C. General Assembly for
the first time in its history seeking state support for the trade
show. The Market is shortened by a half-day- the Market now opens on
a Thursday and closes the following Wednesday.
2003: The Market Authority begins a scaled down version of
shuttle service starting on the Monday before the furniture market
formally opens. The N.C. Department of Transportation sets aside
$900,000 for each of the next two years so the Authority can offer
free shuttles to and from 100 hotels and the Piedmont Triad
International Airport. The Market currently had about 3,000
exhibitors, 11.5 million square feet of showroom space, 188
buildings and approximately 70,000 - 80,000 attendees each Market.
2005: Three major enhancements debut at the Fall 2005 Market:
A new state-of-the-art Transportation Terminal opens in downtown
High Point, offering Market visitors free shuttles to every showroom
and event. An on-line Market Planning Tool is added to the Market
Authority web site, allowing guests to select the showrooms and
events they will be visiting, and then print them out on a map that
cross-references each location to its nearest shuttle stop. And the
new centralized registration system allows visitors to obtain a
single badge for all major Market venues in one transaction. In
addition, the world's most comprehensive home furnishings Market
grows by 187,500 square feet as five new showrooms are opened.
2006: The International Home Furnishings Market is officially
renamed High Point Market. On-line pre-registration becomes
available at the start of the New Year. Verifiable data from the new
system reveals that 100,128 home furnishings professionals
registered for the Spring 2006 Market, confirming its position as
the industry's leading event. Judy Mendenhall, the Market
Authority's first president, announces her retirement in February,
and in an expression of gratitude for her substantial contributions,
the city of High Point renames the new transportation terminal the
Mendenhall Transportation Center. New president Brian Casey, a 26
year veteran of the trade show industry, takes the helm just prior
to the Spring Market, outlining his vision for an organization that
is relentlessly focused its customers and committed to continuously
improving its guests' experiences. Further strengthening its
leadership team, the Market Authority hires furniture industry
veteran Kimberley Wray as its first vice president of marketing.
Announcing the hiring, Casey cites Wray's tremendous talents and
industry connections as keys to the ongoing growth and improvement
of the High Point Market.
Source: "News & Record - High Point Edition, October 12, 2003”