HIGH POINT — Furniture market organizers have received $15,000 from Duke Power to help promote the twice-annual event — the third grant awarded to bolster the market in the past month.

Duke Power spokesman Tom Williams said the looming presence of a Las Vegas furniture market scheduled to debut in July 2005 was on power company officials’ minds when they awarded the grant from its business-enhancement fund to the High Point International Home Furnishings Market Authority. It’s the first grant given to the market authority by Duke Power.

“Las Vegas is certainly a formidable competitor,” Williams said. “We view (the High Point furniture market) as a very, very important part of our business in the area. It’s a magnet for other businesses.”

The market’s estimated annual economic impact on the Triad is $1.05 billion, according to a study by UNCG economist Andrew Brod.

Market authority President Judy Mendenhall said they don’t yet have specific promotional plans for spending the $15,000.

Duke Power’s money is just the latest windfall for market organizers.

In late November, the market authority learned that

$2 million in federal funding is on the way to help pay for a covering to the planned downtown transportation terminal on Commerce Avenue between Wrenn and Hamilton streets. Construction is to begin after the April 2005 furniture market and should be completed in time for the October 2005 market.

In early November, the market authority learned it was receiving a $100,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to publicize the market. The foundation runs the state’s tobacco trust fund and gives grants to projects or organizations that promote or stimulate economic development. The money is being used for targeted mailings and advertisements in trade publications touting the trade show.

Mendenhall said the grants validate the market’s value and acknowledge “that the market is an economic engine for this state, not just for High Point.”

She attributed the market’s success in finding outside money to three factors: the creation of a market authority that can focus exclusively on the trade show; competition from the Las Vegas market; and the evidence of the market’s economic value provided by Brod’s study.

Contact Eric Swensen at 883-4422, Ext. 227, or eswensen@news-record.com

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