Saturday, April 25, 2009

Furniture Capital of the World

High Point, NC has long billed itself as the furniture capital of the world. In the past, the city and many surrounding cities built alot of furniture. Among the cities are Thomasville and Lexington--very popular names in the furniture business. Well, something that grew and maintains somewhat today is what we call Furniture Market. They have two markets a year, one in April and one in October. The market has been known to pull around 80,000 people to a city that only boasts about 95,000 to 100,000 residents. People come from all over the world and definitely from all over the U.S. There are buyers and sellers from many companies big and small. Also, twice a year they have premarkets that bring in people before the actual markets start. This of course brings a ton of money to our area. They are other furniture markets held around the country, but we are told that we are consistently the largest and best.

Well, it is that time of the year for the spring market. People have been gradually arriving in the area. The economy has been slowing the last few markets down and alot of the manufacturers and stores around here have either gone out of business or shipped themselves overseas. That's not to say that alot of companies are not left. Although the manufacturers are leaving, many businesses still house the furniture here and ship it out through the country. Of course, with that many people arriving in town the local restaurants and hotels see a huge increase in business.

I have been lucky enough to have a connection to a restaurant that I worked at for many years. I started there when I was 18! I have done every job imaginable there from waiting tables, cooking, bartending and even a stint as the manager.The place is called Austin's Steakhouse. Well, many times they ask me to come back and work the markets which ends being about 10 to 12 days of night shifts. The place is only a couple of miles away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown market activity. Lots of times I have made great money. I remember one market making about $200 to $250 a night-awesome!! Most years you can count on $100 a night. The last couple of markets have been much lower- $37, $27, $68, and last night I made $105 waiting tables. We still have about a week to go, so maybe things will be more consistent. Either way, I am just happy to be seeing some money come my way.

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