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COVID-19 concerns prompt industry event cancellations

 13 March 2020     Michael J. Knell 

TORONTO – A number of both trade and consumer events serving the Canadian furniture, mattress and major appliance industries have been either cancelled altogether or postponed in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Among these are the spring editions of the High Point Market (HPM) and the member buying fair organised by Home Hardware. On the consumer side, the National Home Show (now called The Big One) was cancelled for the first time in its 70-year history.

The High Point Market Authority (HPMA) has postponed the upcoming spring edition of the twice-annual furniture trade, that was scheduled to launch its usual five-day run on Saturday, 25 April.

In a statement, the authority said that should conditions improve, it anticipates holding the market in early June, although exact dates haven’t been determined.

“The decision was difficult, as any change in date could have tremendous economic repercussions on our industry and community, as well as the countless small businesses whose livelihoods relies on High Point Market, but underscores our shared concern and well-being of the citizens in our community and our industry partners,” HPMA chairman Dudley Moore, Jr., president of Otto & Moore, said.

He noted the High Point Market has been a staple of the North Carolina economy since 1909 and has only ever been cancelled once – in 1942 due to World War II.

“Our board of directors will continue to monitor the situation, and we will remain in communication with the proper medical and elected officials,” HPMA president and chief executive officer Tom Conley added. “Our aim is to have a decision in early May as to if market can occur, given the uncertainties of this rapidly evolving situation.”

He also said online registration has been postponed but will re-open once the new dates have been set.

Some 85 Canadian furniture and home furnishings resources exhibit at the High Point Market.

In a related announcement, its organising committee has cancelled the pre-market event, scheduled for 16 and 17 March. This event is designed for a select group of invited retail buyers.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on industry related events in Canada as well. Home Hardware, the co-operatively owned group of hardware, building centre and furniture retailers, has cancelled its spring market, which was scheduled for 5 to 7 April at its headquarters in St. Jacobs, Ontario.

“The health and safety of the Home Hardware community, our dealer-owners, team members, suppliers, business partners, and customers is, and will always be, our number one priority,” said Kevin Macnab, president and CEO of Home Hardware Stores. “We understand that this is the first time in Home’s 56-year history that a market has been cancelled. This event hosts over 7,500 attendees from across the country and we believe this precaution is necessary.”

The Building Industry and Land Development Association has also cancelled The Big One in Toronto, which was scheduled for 13 to 22 March. A number of furniture and home furnishings retailers exhibited at the consumer event, which used to be called the National Home Show.

Related Story: ISPA cancels Expo 2020

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This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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