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Furniture made in America.

There's a unifying note among the myriad furniture, lamps and other home furnishings displayed in the Made in America Pavilion at the High Point Market: The U.S. flag.

In aisle after aisle in the 25,000-square-foot top floor of Suites at Market Square, flags hang above the heads of market visitors as they wander among the displays of more than 70 exhibitors.

The decor is only part of the effort, begun in 2011, to create a shared identity for the country's domestic home furnishings manufacturers by bringing many of them together under one roof.

For years, 40-year old furniture and custom-cabinetry maker Habersham has had a showroom elsewhere in Market Square, but the presence in the Made in America Pavilion "has helped Habersham discover some new customers," says spokesperson Suzanne Pruitt.

At the Pavilion, buyers visit not to see a particular company but because they're drawn to domestically produced product in general, she says. "Their customers are asking for it."

For manufacturers, like Eddy West, the pavilion provides visibility at a price below what a showroom would cost. The company does primitive reproductions, reproduction of some Canadian designs and custom. The company, which shrunk from 80 to 30 employees during the U.S. manufacturing downturn, intends to maintain a presence in High Point, says Director of Shipping John Caudell. "If you don't come to market, people think, 'Hmm. They must be out of business," he says.

Being in the pavilion highlights Eddy West's status as a domestic manufacturer, Caudell says." I think it's a good selling point."

In the International Home Furnishings Center several blocks down Commerce Street from the pavilion, Vaughan-Bassett's President, Doug Bassett, agrees. His company is a recognized leader of the "Made in America" movement, and would be in the Pavilion if its needs could be met there, he says. "We are big advocates and fans of that floor and that area. We want to see them succeed." But, he says, "To show our line at its best, we need a 25,000-square foot showroom."

However, he thinks the pavilion is onto something. His dealers tell him that customers are coming in and saying 'Show me your Made in America furniture," he says.

He's so passionate about the subject that Vaughan-Bassett is starting a signage program to help dealers display their domestically-made items in one spot in the store, with one identify. Grand Furniture prompted it by asking for Vaughan-Bassett's help in creating such a display last July 4th. Since then, he's had kits made up with an assortment of signs announcing "Made in America Bedroom Gallery." There's a 6-foot banner, several 3-foot posters, tent cards, and a sticker for the dealer's front door. "They are hungry for this."

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Title Annotation:Furniture Trends
Author:Miller, Hannah
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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