The inevitable news came this week that High Point Market has been canceled. The High Point Market Authority had initially postponed its Spring Market, due to begin in April, until June. However, with no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the huge disruptions it has brought, the Authority has announced that it will cancel the event entirely. This marks the first time that the 111-year-old market has been canceled since the Second World War.

“We’ve been listening to our stakeholders, members of the design industry, our local community and the government over the past few weeks and there’s an overall uneasiness about going forward with a Market in June,” said president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority, Tom Conley. “We also have a sense that, even when stay-at-home orders are lifted and businesses reopen, large gatherings and events will be the last thing to come back. It made sense to pull the plug sooner rather than later.”

The June event was planned to be a much smaller affair. Showrooms were scaling back their programs and most overseas visitors were expected to avoid making the journey to North Carolina.  Such is the disruption to worldwide supply chains that many brands were concerned they would not be able to transport their new products to High Point in time for the June market. Therefore, the wise decision was made to cancel and now the HPMA can focus its efforts on Fall Market, which is slated for October 17 to 21.

The move follows the announcement in Italy that Salone del Mobile has also been canceled. The Milan furniture event had also been pushed from April to June before being scrapped altogether.

IMC to launch virtual market

Within days of the decision to cancel the Market, International Market Centers has jumped to the fore by announcing it is launching the IMC High Point Virtual Market next month. This is a three-week online experience which will feature product discovery and digital connections. Alongside these features will be a new sourcing tool as well as a raft of pop-up online events. The platform will run on IMC’s High Point Market website and launches on May 11.

“While we know that we cannot replace the value of physical markets, we also realize there is a real desire and need for the industry to connect virtually right now,” said IMC CEO, Bob Maricich. “We hope this new virtual market will help bridge the gap in the home furnishing industry’s sourcing and shopping calendar by creating a digital experience that provides that provides knowledge, practical business tips, and a platform for sourcing and discovery, as well as a much-needed sense of community.”

Necessity is the mother of invention, so we’re not surprised the industry is stepping up and exploring new ways to connect businesses and customers in these trying times. From all of us at Austin Home Interiors, we hope all our customers and clients keep safe and look out for one another.

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