Funds will support infrastructure improvements and beautification in the downtown Market District
HIGH POINT — The High Point Market Authority announced that it is slated to receive a one-time investment of $9 million from the state of North Carolina that aims to bolster infrastructure and beautification within the city of High Point’s 13-block downtown Market District.
The budget appropriation that has been passed by the legislature illustrates the state of North Carolina’s commitment to the biannual High Point Market that hosts 75,000 U.S. and international visitors each spring and fall. The trade show generates $6.7 billion in state and local economic impact annually, including $202 million in tax revenue.
The investment bid was led by Tammy Nagem, HPMA CEO and president, with support from the Guilford County delegation. N.C. State Rep. John Faircloth led the initiative in the House of Representatives with support from Sen. Dave Craven in the Senate.
“On behalf of all High Point Market stakeholders in the community, we’re excited to champion the city’s unique platform as the world’s largest furnishings trade event,” said Doug Bassett, HPMA board member and past board chairman serving on the government affairs committee. “The investment made by the state of North Carolina will strengthen our focus on attracting market visitors with a world-class guest experience.”
Coordinated with the city of High Point, HPMA’s proposed improvements will be implemented over a two-year period, including substantial infrastructure updates within the Market District, transportation terminal upgrades, an integrated safety and security plan and street-level lighting.
“The High Point Market is one of the cornerstones of our state’s economy,” said High Point Mayor Jay Wagner. “This investment in infrastructure represents our commitment to keep it thriving for years to come.”
HPMA will additionally implement Market District-wide beautification efforts, such as the installation of public art and other permanent decorative features to enrich the downtown area and improve walkability in the showroom district.
“The entire ecosystem surrounding High Point Market will benefit from these improvements,” said Fred Henjes, CEO of Riverside Furniture, which opened a 70,000-square-foot complex in the former YMCA building at 401 S. Main St. in 2021. “As the Market District is further developed, it gives buyers even more reasons to attend, and that’s good for everyone.”
HPMA said it also will receive an incremental $500,000 from the N.C. Department of Commerce. This adds to its recurring budget allocation, which includes funds from the N.C. Department of Transportation and NCDOC.
The Market Authority secured the increase to target and recruit new buyers and to further improve the guest experience with technology-based enhancements. The funding also seeks to support student initiatives to develop and nurture emerging industry professionals.
An additional $250,000 was championed by N.C. State Rep. Cecil Brockman to support the Diversity Advocacy Alliance, an initiative the HPMA facilitated in 2022.
“We appreciate the opportunity to further our objective of attracting a diverse audience of buyers to the biannual trade show,” said Nagem, whose staff is responsible for year-round marketing and operations affecting the seasonal events.
The High Point Market Authority is a 501(c)(6) corporation which operates as a nonprofit entity.