Shopping the High Point Furniture Market like a local {and a Pro}

April 17, 2013

High Point is a pretty amazing place this time of year.  In addition to the spring blooms mother nature brings our way, the city (literally) comes to life with our market friends.  Downtown is buzzing with activity from delivery trucks to furniture manufacturers, designers, day workers and the like; we are all here to create displays that keep today’s buyers coming back to High Point for more.

This spring, I believe we all feel a sense of renewed energy and excitement.  The Triad Business Journal just posted an article that says this market “is shaping up to be one of the best markets in years”.  Good, we need it.  (By the way, that article features one photo and it happens to be a showroom we designed with Nourisson!)

As designers in High Point, it goes without saying that we work on showroom interiors.  Our clients vary greatly as well as the products and we love each and every one of them.  Additionally, we are BUYERS.  That’s right, we get out there after weeks of set-up and late nights and walk those streets just like everyone else.  The difference for us is we know this city like the back of our hand – and with that comes some perks, some of which I thought I would share.  When we go to “other” trade-shows such as Atlanta, Chicago or Vegas (this year we plan to add NYC to the list) I am concerned about several things:  finding great new resources, how to make the most efficient use of my time and let’s be serious:  parking and food!

Lets start with the details first:  Parking and Food.  Honestly, neither has been all that great in the past but HP has made HUGE progress in both areas.

Parking:  As a buyer, you are able to park in the IMC Buyers lots located on Commerce and Green.  Be prepared, they will expect to see your buyers pass before you can enter and get there early, those lots fill up fast.  There are also several parking garages downtown:  one on Commerce between Elm and Main, one on Main Street between High Ave and Commerce, and one on Broad between Wrenn and Hamilton.  Again, show up early as they fill up fast.  Another option is parking at your favorite showroom (assuming they know they are your favorite)!  Many exhibitors have their own lot and will even shuttle you to wherever you like to go and even pick you up!  Be sure to make arrangements in advance.  You can also do something called Park & Ride, which I highly recommend if you are not an early riser.  These lots are located at the Oak Hollow Mall (there are electronic billboards directing you to the right location) and South Market Center Drive (this one is slightly closer to downtown but not as convenient to Greensboro).  As a last ditch you can pay to park in a variety of lots located in the heart of downtown.  For those of you that this irritates (I see this everywhere I go so HP isn’t the only city that charges to park) MANY of these lots are “donated” to local charities and the parking fee goes to raise money for that charity – if that makes you feel any better.

Food:  As much as I would like to fix a home-cooked meal for each and every one of you, I’ll be at market shopping.  Luckily, the options to continue shopping AND eat have greatly improved over the last few years!  Many showrooms now provide some sort of lunch ranging from light finger foods to a full-course spread.  The buildings themselves also now provide cafe and restaurant-like options.  Each building will identify where those spots are.  I am happy to report there is (finally) a Starbucks located in Market Square! And just spied this week:  a food truck on the corner of Elm and Commerce just outside of Market Square Suites entrance.  Inside the downtown shopping area (and in walking distance) there are several restaurants including Jimmy’s Pizza on Main Street, Penny Path (new) on Kivett, Oscars Burgers on Wrenn Street, and Elm Street Cafe (obviously, on Elm).  Just a bit further north you can find some local favorites including Sumela, Blue Zucchini, Blue Rock Pizza, Emerywood Fine Foods, Granny’s Doughnuts, and for a fine dining option, High Point Country Club (a private club that – true to southern hospitality – opens its doors to market visitors twice a year).  For dinner there are a variety of really great local eateries in the Piedmont Triad Area.  Some of my favorites include:  [Greensboro] Josephines, 1618 Grill, Southern Lights, The Iron Hen, Liberty Oak, The Filling Station, Bravo, Green Valley Grill and Printworks Bistro.  [Kernersville] Bistro B.  [Winston Salem] Mozingos, Sweet Potatos, West End Cafe, 6th & Vine, Milner’s, and O’So Eats..

The next question is how to make the most of your time?  One market I had a group from ORVIS come in town to shop with me.  At the end of the day, one of the executives said “it would have taken us days to cover the amount of territory you have covered in hours, thank you”.  As nice as this comment was, it was my responsibility to make it simple for them so I was happy to know I had done my job.  Even though I am local, you too can shop like one – it just takes planning.  I typically shop 3-4 days, more than many visitors I know.  In other cities we keep it to two so we have to be efficient.  Let me say this clearly:  PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.  Review things like the Market Preview, the Planning Guide, and talk to your reps.  Once you know where you want to go divide it out according to it’s location.  I typically reserve one entire day to see the large IMC building at the bus terminal and Showplace.  The second day includes one of my favorite buildings, Market Square (home to our office), the C&D building, 220 Elm, and the some of the showrooms located within and around this city block.  The third day I will do Hamilton and Wrenn Streets – some of these are spread out but our weather is so beautiful I enjoy walking this shopping route.  The fourth day I do any outlying buildings that are not on the loop mentioned above (this is also the day that is highly likely to get cut if necessary).

Map from the HP Market Authority

Map from the HP Market Authority

Transportation has vastly improved over the years and is an important component for getting quickly from one stop to the next.  High Point offers two free continuous bus lines that loop around the entire downtown area:  the RED line and the GREEN line (shown above).  You can get a bus map here go to page THREE for the Red and Green Line stops.  High Point also provides one of my favorite market perks – the G0-Anywhere shuttle van.  That’s right, they will take you anywhere, for free, within a three mile radius.  Go to the downtown Transportation Terminal or simply flag one down from any location in the Market area. You may also call 336.887.RIDE (7433) to have a shuttle dispatched to you. Go-Anywhere Shuttles will be operating from Saturday, April 20 through Wednesday, April 24, 7:30am – 8:30pm, and Thursday, April 25, 7:30am – 5pm.

If it’s your first time to High Point market (let me be the first to say WELCOME), I would highly recommend reading about being a first-time visitor on the High Point Market Authority’s FIRST TIME VISITORS section here.  It includes valuable information that you will want on-hand including videos, printouts and maps.

Lastly, one of the most important things I do when shopping market is finding great new resources….and that my friends is a trade secret I won’t be sharing today, sorry!  However, if you are interested in my favorite finds, you can follow my Spring market shopping Pinterest Board Fun Finds.

There is so much more to learn and know about market like buyers passes and where to stay among other things.  Be sure to visit the HP Market Authority website that provides an ample amount of additional information.

If you find this post helpful to your shopping experience please be sure to let me know and share it with your friends!

Good luck and hope to see you soon, in High Point of course!

xo Christi

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.  The world never sleeps!

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2 Responses to “Shopping the High Point Furniture Market like a local {and a Pro}”

  1. Ed Charles Says:

    Christi, great job as usual. What a great supporter of HIgh Point and the Market. I hope you have great one.
    Ed C.

  2. Chuck Portaro Says:

    Christi……EXCELLENT overview! You covered everything! Enjoy market! c!

    Sent from my iPad


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