by Sam Hieb
Aside from Bruce Springsteen spurning Greensboro, decline in International Home Furnishings Market attendance symbolized the doomsday scenario for North Carolina as a result of HB2. Remember the lofty statement the market authority put issued warning us all of the “significant economic damage” HB2 would inflict on the market?
Ok, market numbers were down— a whopping 1 percent. And International Market Centers, which runs the majority of showrooms ann has the most accurate numbers since it scans badges, saw a 1 percent increase.
Market officials are now strangely quiet:
Tom Conley, president and chief executive officer of the market authority, was traveling Friday and unavailable for comment. But Doug Bassett, chairman of the market’s board, said officials would have no further comment about the attendance numbers.
“We’ll let our statement speak for itself,” said Bassett, president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture, when reached by cellphone Friday.
That’s a reversal from late March when, just days after HB 2 was passed, the authority said it had received calls from dozens of customers saying they planned to cancel their attendance at the spring show due to the passage of the bill.
Quite the reversal indeed, but rest assured the N&R’s Doug Clark did his best to put the best possible spin on the bad news (or is it the worst possible spin on the good news?):
We don’t know, of course, whether the 1 percent drop was entirely due to HB 2. Attendance might have been down for other reasons, but with an improving economy one might have expected it to increase. So it’s possible that the real impact of HB 2 was greater than 1 percent.
At any rate, it would be better to see attendance rising than declining.
There’s probably not much chance that HB 2 is good for the furniture market.
So now we’ve gone from end of the world to “probably not a good chance that HB2 is good for the furniture market” in in 6 weeks. Attendees stated what most rational people realize—-all said and done it’s —better for business to attend the market than to stay away in protest. Somehow I think a lot of businesses—including the NBA—- will come to that realization.