A week or two ago there would have been a hint of sarcasm in that headline. And believe you me the Greensboro News & Record wants it to be true that attendance at High Point’s International Home Furnishings Market will decline due to HB2. Hence the front-pager“>front-pager on today’s edition:

The number of companies that have registered to attend the spring High Point Market is about the same as the number that did so for last spring’s market, a figure that is key for the market and its exhibitors, according to the market’s CEO.

But the number of individuals representing those companies is down 4 percent.

Tom Conley, president and chief executive officer of the High Point Market Authority, said those figures reflect those that have pre-registered for the market, which begins Saturday and continues through April 20.

Naturally the N&R raises HB2, but dear reader make sure you follow the jump all the way to the back page:

But Conley said the decline in the number of individuals attending market is something he anticipated long before House Bill 2 and is not in response to it. He said that decline is likely due to people leaving the companies, such as due to retirement. The key for the market and its exhibitors is that the buying power remain the same, he said.

This is twice now that Conley appears to be walking back the market’s position that HB2 will hurt attendance. But let’s be fair—-perhaps he realizes he should not be biting the hand that feeds him, to use that hackneyed phrase.