As you know, as your Executive Director, I value our give-and-take, two-way conversations with our members.  Every now and then, a topic touches my heart and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.  This is one of those times and I hope the following message to you, resonates with you.  As always, I am anxious to hear from you!

T.S. Eliot called April the “cruelest month,” and in terms of the clout that premarket continues to have on the Spring High Point market, he was clearly on the mark.

Early in January of 2020, the World Health Organization sent out a low-key notice about a mysterious Coronavirus-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The pandemic, soon to be known as Covid-19, swept over the planet and quite literally, turned the world upside down.   And our industry, was by no means immune from the virus.

To our credit, we have not only survived, but have found new ways to get back to business.  However, to our detriment, it took a pandemic to force us to relinquish the status quo that many of us were so comfortable with.

We now communicate via Zoom or other comparable technologies,  we have been forced to embrace new technologies and like it or not, we are all driving our businesses, at least to some extent, on the digital highway.

Need more proof?  Take a look at the changing nature and role of furniture markets.  A few years ago if someone had mentioned First Tuesday, he or she would have probably gotten a blank stare.

Similarly, if someone would have told you that premarket would suddenly become as important as market, you would have smiled and dismissed that idea as beyond silly.

But to laugh at these ideas now, could mean the joke just might be on you.

Covid-19 has taken our play book and thrown it in the dumpster.   Regardless of your point of view, First Tuesday continues to become more important to retailers and don’t be surprised if this upcoming premarket takes a huge bite out of the June market.

Based on conversations I have had with a number of key retailers, they plan (just like they used to do at market) to come in early for premarket and stay upwards of five to seven days.

Sound to you what used to happen during “traditional” market?  It does to me.

Make no mistake—your customers have always driven the bus…always have and always will.

They will—and are—dictating what works for them…and if you want to sell them, it had better work for you.

I’ve talked to reps who after initially resisting First Tuesday are now converts, and here’s why: Reps are getting quality time with their customers in a much less frantic environment.  A number of them report getting to spend 3-4 hours of uninterrupted time with retailers.

Can you put a price tag on that?

In the months ahead, the business is going to be like a big game of musical chairs.  Retailers and reps alike are looking for respective partners that can deliver the goods, make good on the promises and help them succeed.

As a rep, you need to embrace change, understand the technology, be adaptive, be proactive  and most of all, provide solutions.

I don’t want to see any of you without a chair when the music suddenly stops!