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IHFC Building Begins Comprehensive Upgrade, Including Dramatic Transformation of Commerce Lobby and Exterior

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The International Home Furnishings Center has launched the “Market Central” project featuring a multi-million-dollar renovation plus new services and amenities to reinforce its position as the most significant destination at the world’s most important home furnishings market. Visitors from 110 countries attending the largest home-furnishings trade show opening here this week will experience the first stages of the transformation at the 3.5 million-square-foot Market Central. IHFC has: Extensively remodeled corridors on the Green Wing second floor and the Design Center eighth floor, enhancing visibility and accessibility for a number of exhibitors. IHFC will celebrate these renovations with cocktail parties from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Spruced up interiors throughout the building, including new carpet on many corridors, extensively remodeled bathrooms on the second, third and fifth floors of the Wrenn Wing, and significantly more direction signage in all five wings: Main, Wrenn, Green, Commerce, Design Center and Hamilton. Enhanced a 4,000-square-foot Designer Resource Center adjacent to the Interhall in the Hamilton Wing, just off the main Commerce lobby. Opened last April, the DRC is an office away from home with full amenities in a comfortable lounge setting on the first floor of the Hamilton Wing next to Interhall. DRC, which features a concierge service and highly qualified staff to assist designers, adds computer work stations and the “Catalog Wall” this market packed with catalogs, brochures, DVDs and other helpful materials from designer-friendly exhibitors. The center will also compile a list of companies that welcome and service designers, and that require low or no minimum orders. Published Designer Preview, a new magazine focusing exclusively on information important to interior designers. Designer Preview will be distributed through the Designer Resource Center, advertisers’ showrooms and the Media Center in the IHFC Commerce Wing. And that’s just the beginning, says Tom Lindh, who became IHFC chief executive officer earlier this year. As soon as this market concludes, Market Central begins a massive renovation of the Commerce Wing lobby, which serves as IHFC’s main entrance. Neither details nor artist’s renderings are available yet, but Lindh promises the transformation – inside and out – will be so extensive and dramatic that “IHFC will feel like a new building.” Parts of the project will be completed in time for the October market, but the entire Commerce lobby and exterior renovation will take most of the next 12 months. The lobby sits strategically next to the market’s vastly improved transportation hub on Commerce Avenue between Wrenn and Hamilton streets. “The Commerce lobby is our front door to the world, and we are determined to make it a world-class space that is both jaw-dropping spectacular and highly functional,” Lindh says. “That’s all I can tell you right now except that I give my personal guarantee that our exhibitors and everyone who does business will be very pleased with the change. This industry deserves such a gathering place, and at Market Central, we’re going to create it.” No other home-furnishings market facility provides as many resources and amenities under one roof as IHFC. Opening in 1921, IHFC was the original showroom building in High Point and after 85 years of expansion – from 250,000 square feet to 3.5 million – it remains the centerpiece of the world’s largest home-furnishings trade show. IHFC alone is home to 650 of the leading home-furnishings manufacturers, including 13 of the top 20 companies. More than 2,500 manufacturers exhibit in High Point twice a year in more than 11.5 million square feet of showrooms. No other building – and no other market – even come close. IHFC’s new marketcentral.biz website puts it this way: “Every industry has a focal point, a center around which its commerce and progress revolves. For home furnishings, that center is High Point, North Carolina – the Furniture Capital of the World. And at the very center of the High Point Market is IHFC – the International Home Furnishings Center. “This is MARKET CENTRAL.”

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