HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 24, 2016 – At the High Point Market, couches, coffee tables and bedroom sets are infinite. But, for the High Point University students who are working there, the experiences and lessons are priceless.
Taking advantage of an opportunity that can only be found in the city of High Point, students majoring in business, journalism, interior design and visual merchandising are working, learning and building industry contacts at the High Point Market held twice a year in the city. The connections and experience they gain often lead to full-time careers.
Juniors Maggie Clancey and Annie Redovian, both visual merchandising design majors, and sophomore Morgan Reid, an interior design major, are working at the Designmaster Showroom. All three HPU students agreed that networking and real-life experience are the biggest benefits of working the market.
“Making connections and networking are a huge part of working here,” said Redovian. “We have the chance to meet people who work in the industry that we plan to join. Plus, we get to see the same things we learn in class being applied to real businesses, which is affirming for us.”
“We’ve been very impressed by the HPU students,” said Laura Howard, assistant to the president of Designmaster Furniture. “They’re always willing to help no matter what we ask them to do, and they’re quick to learn the business.”
Kayla Hedgecock, Kirsten Ellis and Alyssa Morris, all HPU students representing a variety of majors, are working at the showroom of Magnolia Home – a furniture line designed by Joanna Gaines, the star of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.”
Hedgecock, a junior and business administration major, said that above all, her experience has been both stretching and rewarding.
“It’s a stretching opportunity for me because I’m jumping into a new position where I’m somewhat out of my comfort zone, learning this new skill and selling furniture,” Hedgecock said. “It’s giving me great experience for the career path that I hope to pursue someday.”
Ellis, a junior, said that it may seem unexpected for a sports management major like herself to work at the market, but she was drawn there because of the high profile companies.
“I actually just closed my first sale, which was great because I got to follow a sales rep and learn how to sell the showroom to buyers who want to sell Magnolia Home in their shop,” said Ellis. “It was a chance to interact and have conversations with buyers, and even though this may not be the area that I’m necessarily going into, those are great skills to have.”
Students are also working in the showrooms of major companies like La-Z-Boy, Sherrill Furniture, Century Furniture, Bernhardt, Hooker Furniture, Bassett Mirror Company and Texture Imports.
Jarray Davis, a senior communication major, has worked at Bernhardt for the last three years. In that time, he has been under the advisement of sales representative Pat Coughlin.
“It’s been great to watch Jarray grow over the years,” said Coughlin. “He’s a quick study and he knows how to connect with buyers. Honestly, they tend to like him more than they like me.”
The High Point Market officially began on Oct. 22 and runs through Oct. 26.
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