HIGH POINT, N.C. — In just a few days, downtown High Point will be bustling with activity.
The fall furniture market will happen despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spring market was canceled, but the city of High Point depends on these events.
FOX8 got a sneak peek at all the changes going on to make this multi-million-dollar event safe for the community and its guests.
With occupancy limits, masks and temperature checks, there’s no doubt that the High Point Furniture Market will be different this year.
“We’re about 50% down in terms of the number of employees. We’re at about 70% of the number of exhibitors we normally have,” said Tom Conley, the President and CEO of the High Point Market Authority.
One of the companies still in the mix is Ohio-based Norwalk Furniture.
Mary DeVincenzo, the design account manager said she felt it was necessary to come set up a showroom.
“I think homeowners are looking to remodel their homes or redo a room, and they would like to see some of the cutting-edge things out there,” she said.
She’s confident it’s safe.
“The High Point Market Authority is really taking care that there are protocols in place,” DeVincenzo said. “People should feel very safe coming to market.”
The market is now nine days long. It was extended to allow people to make appointments and spread out their visits to different showrooms.
“We’re going above and beyond to help people stay safe,” Conley said.
Conley said they’ve made some serous changes this year, including the way different showroom staff can entertain buyers and guests.
“Most of the exhibitors have chosen not to serve food,” he said. “Those that are serving food will do it with prepackaged meals.”
High Point Market Authority officials have also gotten rid of the downtown shuttles to make it easier to social distance and clean.
“We’ve opted for vans, sedans and SUVs. We’re trying very hard to only have one party per group in each vehicle,” Conley said.
He told FOX8 they’ve spent more than a million dollars of federal funds, distributed by the state, to make this market safe for everyone.
“The last thing we want is to have any kind of COVID-19 spike in this community,” Conley said.
Conley said that usually, both markets bring in about $6.3 billion into the High Point community.
While that will not happen for 2020, he hopes that 2021 is a better year.