Premarket organizers loosen rules for upcoming winter event

HIGH POINT – The sponsors committee for Premarket has agreed to loosen some of its policies for the upcoming Feb. 28-March 1 event to help build some greater flexibility for retailers who plan to attend.

One of the biggest changes is that the sponsors are allowing guests two additional room nights, which will boost the total number of room nights from four to six for each retailer.

In addition, the sponsors committee is allowing dealers to book those nights from Saturday through Monday night as opposed to only Sunday and Monday nights previously. This coincides with a planned schedule of showrooms opening at noon Sunday Feb. 27 and closing at 5 p.m. Tuesday March 1.

For those attending the event, this means, for example, that two individuals from a single retailer can each get a room for three nights if they choose. Or three buyers from an account can get rooms for two nights.

“It is going back to being a two-and-a-half-day event, and we think that will give dealers a little more flexibility in their travel plans and give them an extra half day to get to as many sponsors as possible,” said Doug Bassett, the chairman of the Premarket sponsors committee, who responded to an interview request from Home News Now. “We also are relaxing room nights from four to six room nights as some may want to stay for three nights and for those who want to stay an extra day.”

The sponsors committee typically hosts between 60 and 80 accounts at Premarket covering the cost of rooms at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center and some meals, which have included a dinner reception at Grandover before the pandemic

At the last few Premarkets, the committee has provided a box dinner to guests staying at Grandover, allowing them to eat at socially distanced at tables inside or outside or letting them bring the meals back to their rooms. Now it appears that the reception will return on Monday night.

“We are cautiously optimistic that pandemic rules by late February will allow us to have our Monday night dinner at Grandover,” Bassett said, noting that all dealer guests are invited to the event, along with three executives from each sponsoring company. “It traditionally has been a very nice dinner that brings together several hundred key people in the furniture industry with great food and great wine.”

The changes occur as Bassett and others have said the event is getting back to its original intent, which is to give dealers a preview of product that will be shown at the High Point Market a month later, while also allowing them to lock up distribution in some key markets.

The challenge has been Premarket has been replacing the main event for some dealers.

At the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 events, for example, Premarket drew more than 300 dealers. Officials said that many of those dealers did not return to market, in some cases sending buyers in other categories such as accessories to the main event a month later.

Organizers said this pattern began to change this fall, when many dealers did return to market.

“We were successful in putting the toothpaste back into the tube,” said Bassett, who is also president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture, a long-time participant and sponsor of Premarket. “The original concept was for about 100 key dealers in large markets to come to Premarket and get a sneak preview of what was going to happen at market and let our sponsors set distribution in their key marketplaces.”

Bassett said that the September event drew about 150 dealers total, including about 60 dealers that members of the sponsors committee hosted during the event. The rest were dealers that largely came into town for a day or two at their own expense.

“They were coming to Premarket with a very specific agenda,” Bassett said of those that came on their own, noting that most of 60 or so dealers the committee hosted returned to market a month later.  “We achieved our main goal, which was to return Premarket to its original concept.”

Bassett said based on conversations with 18 event sponsors, most if not all are confident that they will have much of their planned spring introductions available at Premarket.

“We definitely have product in the pipeline to bring out,” said Roland Maddrey, vice president, sales of Sunpan, a member of the sponsors committee.

Typically  showrooms are expected to be market ready with a majority of their introductions during the event, but these rules have been loosened earlier this year due to logjams in the supply chain.

“Delivery dates are still an issue out of Asia,” Bassett said. “But as of now every company reported they were in good shape 2.5 months away from Premarket.”

The 18 sponsoring companies include:  Aspenhome, Austin Group, Avalon Furniture, Bernhardt, FD Home, Hillsdale Furniture, Hooker Furnishings, Incanto Group, Leather Italia USA, Legacy Classic, Magnussen Home, Samuel Lawrence, Pulaski, Riverside, Sunpan, Universal, Vanguard and Vaughan-Bassett.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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