Last week worried organizers of North Carolina’s High Point Market Week, which bills itself as the world’s largest home furnishings industry trade show, revealed that they were being deluged with cancellations in the wake of the state’s anti-LGBT hate law. Yesterday event CEO Bob Maricich issued a statement which slams the “appalling” law and declares that any anger directed towards them is “misplaced.” Home World Business reports:
“At IMC, a guiding principle of our commitment to excellence as a company is to treat all people with dignity and to act with integrity. Inclusiveness is a core value of our organization. We celebrate diversity and view it as a strength and unequivocally denounce any form of discrimination. In order to build relationships and exceed expectations internally and with our customers, we continue to work together to better understand one another, and to evolve together to achieve success today and well into the future. We believe through kindness and fundamental fairness that we cannot only build an exceptional company but we can positively influence our industry and community.”
Maricich asserted that the High Point Market should not be the focus of disdain as regards HB2 and the protests against it, in that the market has been a source of “creativity, leadership, camaraderie and commerce” for more than 100 years. He pointed out that more than 70% of the exhibitors are small businesses, mostly from outside of North Carolina, that depend on the market to drive revenues, so any anger directed toward the market is misplaced.
“In the meantime,” Maricich added, “as I walk throughout our campus in High Point, I have good reason to believe that rational minds and common sense will prevail. I see busy streets, our parking lots are full, our docks are bustling with activity, our tenant relations managers are as busy as ever and showrooms are getting ready. It feels like market. Like me, many of you have seen and experienced first-hand external challenges to our industry in the past. We weathered 9/11, a major recession and more.”
Market Week delivers an estimated $5.4B to the local economy with its spring and fall events.