Residential Lighting: Spring High Point registrations were down 8 percent. What traffic are you expecting for fall?
Brian Casey: It’s hard to predict. Our pre-registrations are actually fairly close to where we were about this time [one year ago]. There are some signs that the economy is improving, although slowly. We also look at pre-market. What is amazing is that the numbers for pre-market were ahead of where they were in April, and that was the best pre-market we’ve had since we’ve gone through the whole reorganization, in terms of the number of retailers that attended.
RL: This year, wasn’t there also a market out West coinciding with September pre-market?
BC: Actually, it had no negative impact at all. Retailers of significance understand that this [High Point] is where the true product introductions are made. There are product introductions done at other markets, but many times it becomes a new-to-you type of a program. It’s product that has already been introduced and tested in the marketplace and is now proven to have some viability with consumers, so that retailers seeing it for the first time are able to capitalize. But [High Point] is where the innovation and the creativity begins and is launched for the very first time.
RL: What’s new this fall?
BC: We have redone our media center and have moved it to a location that is going to be close to a new restaurant facility launching next market. We are looking at expanding the entertainment experience. We will be having, for the first time, a couple of satellite locations that will have some fun and exciting entertainment going on during market. Of course, we’ll have the central, main stage entertainment.
We are continuing with some free medical service, which is going to be interesting in light of the flu virus. At the last fall market, we provided free flu shots for people who came.
It’s all going to be celebratory because we have the second market in this year celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the High Point Market.
RL: What has been the trend in lighting participation at market?
BC: I can’t speak to exact numbers, but it is still a solid component of the market. Those who come to the High Point Market know that this is fairly diversified. We are working on ways to communicate to the buyer more specifically the value component of the lighting exhibitors to create a better experience for them in terms of the value of what they can see from those companies showing lighting here. We are creating ways where we can develop the communication channels to talk to them more aligned with their interests, as opposed to a broad-based means of communicating.
RL: What else would you like to say to the lighting industry?
BC: We understand the importance of the lighting category to this industry. Lighting creates such a difference in the ambiance of a room and blends and coordinates with other things the consumer buys to make their home feel warm and rich. It’s one of many key components, but a very important component for this market for us to continue to focus on and cater to. We’re going to continue to talk to and listen to the needs of this category and determine how we can develop appropriate programs that will deliver the best value for them.