Get yourself to market
Well, here we are. Market is coming. Everyone in the industry knows my view. If you are a Canadian furniture, mattress and major appliance retailer, it’s in your best interest to get out of your store and get yourself to Mississauga for the Canadian Furniture Show, which opens at the International Centre this Friday morning (May 26).
Conversely, if you are a Canadian furniture manufacturer, mattress maker, major appliance resource or other potential vendor partner to the aforementioned retailer, your obligation is to have a presence on the floor, ready to share your knowledge, insight and strengths – and maybe even your product.
A year ago, in this same space, I advocated furniture trade events really shouldn’t be about buying and selling. In my view, the purchase order should be seen as a bonus – as a ‘nice to have’ not as a ‘must have’.
We need to come together as an industry and start talking to each other about what’s coming, because I don’t think the industry is really aware of potential dangers lurking on the horizon. They will impact all points of the purchase path to the consumer, from manufacturing and distribution to retail.
Some of them we’re aware of: increasing household debt; stagnant wages; housing affordability; and, uneven job growth. Others are not so obvious.
The new U.S. administration wants to renegotiate NAFTA. During the first go-round, this industry was very nearly sacrificed in our own government’s haste to sign the deal. Fortunately, that exercise seems to have worked out reasonably well. After all, the damage in recent years was caused by the dollar, which went on a crazed oil-driven growth spurt and drove it to highs no one anticipated.
Now, our sitting federal government is talking about free trade with the People’s Republic China, which is a really bad idea. The PRC has done this industry a lot of damage over the past two decades and we’re going to have to fight this.
After all, trade is only truly free when it’s fair and balanced.
And the best way to fight the things that need fighting and prepare for those things that really aren’t in our control is to get united. That’s why we need the Canadian Furniture Show. It’s a place for people from across the industry to meet and talk. We need to strengthen our manufacturing. We need to bolster Canadian furniture retailing. Our best place to meet is at our only truly national industry event. It’s not a panacea. It’s a start.
I hope to see you there.