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We, the People

Government shutdown threatens economy

We, the PeopleIt was a bit tempting to drag out an old column and rerun it this month, as the same ridiculous song and dance is going on in Washington, and those of us on the outside are faced with another "precipice" that threatens the nice growth we've seen in 2013 and are projecting for some years ahead.
     As of press time, the federal government was still in partial shut-down, and the threat of crisis sparked by failure to raise the debt ceiling was still hanging over the American economy.
     But, I am choosing to be an optimist, and opting to ignore (as much as possible) what's going on in D.C., and assuming that, at the last minute, this latest doomsday scenario has somehow been averted and we can all get back to business.
     It's October, after all - a critical month for every single one of us in the home furnishings business. It's the start of the all-important fourth quarter - makeor- break time at retail. The retail forecaster types are predicting a pretty upbeat holiday season (page 14), which would be a nice cherry on the top of a year that's seen continuing steady (if slow) growth.
     And, of course, October is High Point Market. The trend we've seen of impressive new product rollouts continues this season. I'm excited to see in person all that's new, but this issue is a great one for getting a head start. Tracy Bulla outlines our top trends in our Exclusive Sketchbooks, starting on page 38, followed by a look at introductions from more than 200 exhibitors in our New Products pages, beginning on page 46.
     A highlight of the last several markets has been the Made in the USA Pavilion in the Suites at Market Square. For this fall, there are 60 exhibitors showcasing their domestically produced goods.
     It strikes me as vaguely ironic that while at the same time that Congress's approval rating measures somewhat lower than hemorrhoids, toe fungus and cockroaches (yes, really), there are still so many who are fiercely proud of this country and working hard to support it.
     Check out Alexa Boschini's in-depth look at the Made in the USA movement starting on page 86. She cites research indicating that nearly three-quarters of respondents feel buying American-made furniture is important or very important. Talk is cheap on this subject, as we all know, but that's a pretty strong majority in favor (take that, toe fungus).
     Now it remains to be seen in High Point: Will the market buyers be able to shake off the Washington-induced financial jitters? I sure hope so - vendors have invested heavily in product development, showroom redesigns, expansions and other improvements. Let's show our own pride in the USA and do what we can to support them.

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