Residential Lighting: What do you think are the biggest opportunities facing the High Point Market?
Tom Conley: The market has many wonderful opportunities. We have a rich history and tradition. We have a state and local community that steps up with many resources to help make each market run extremely well. We have an industry that loves the High Point Market and is committed to its success. And we have a Market Authority Board of Directors and staff that are dedicated and work all year long to ensure the success of our markets.
RL: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the High Point Market?
TC: The single biggest challenge is the economy and the lack of jobs. We need to see a dramatic turnaround before we can begin to return to some of the “glory years” we have seen before. Having said that, we have to play the hand we are dealt by the economic realities. So we have to constantly look for ways to enhance our brand and clearly communicate the value-add to the retail community.
RL: What experience or abilities do you feel you bring to the table at the High Point Market Authority?
TC: Having been around different retail categories — many closely associated with home furnishings — I know that I can learn the nuances of this category quickly. Also, having looked at industries and markets strategically puts me in a good position to work with our board and staff to suggest tactics to help take the High Point Market to the next level.
RL: As someone coming in from outside our industry, what are your impressions of our industry so far?
TC: There are some wonderful people in the industry. They care and want the industry to grow. Our job, as a market maker, is to do everything within our power to give every industry member the opportunity to achieve that goal.
RL: What changes can we expect at the October market?
TC: We have added new innovations to our social media and planning tool, and we are adding QR codes to all signage. Both of these things will help the buyers better navigate the High Point Market.
RL: How do you view the International Market Centers (IMC)?
TC: They are a major building in this market. They are one of our partners in achieving the success we must have for each market.
RL: Now that IMC has acquired a critical mass of properties in High Point, do they have more of a voice in decisions at the High Point Market Authority?
TC: Market Authority bylaws provide for us to have three of the larger building owners at the table. Because of IMC’s position in this market, I would see that they would always have one of those voting seats as long as they want one. That is a very good thing as far as I am concerned.
RL: Do IMC’s other market properties pose any issue for High Point, given that they used to compete?
TC: Because IMC has such a large presence, they have committed themselves to High Point and to our markets. We respect and appreciate that commitment and will work diligently with all the building owners to help them protect and grow their investment in the local real estate so that they achieve their returnon investment goals.