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Piedmont Triad Partnership launches global furnishings initiative

A major five-part initiative to enhance the global competitiveness of companies throughout the furnishings industries is being launched by the Piedmont Triad Partnership, an economic development group representing the 12-county Piedmont Triad Region of North Carolina.

The Global Exchange for Furnishings initiative is designed to enable industry members operating in the Piedmont Triad Region - or those who are considering moving to the area - to more easily tap into the area's rich base of resources, relationships and expertise in the furnishings arena.

"You may have always thought of this area as the Furniture Capital of the World," said David M. Powell, CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. "This initiative is going to build on that foundation so that no matter what segment of furnishings - residential, contract, hospitality or institutional - when you think furnishings, you will think the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina, USA."

This region is the world's hub for furnishings design, sourcing and distribution, providing products and services across a wide range of categories, market segments, sales channels and end use.

"Through the decades, supporting component products and services have cross-pollinated and grown into a strong web of unmatched infrastructure," Powell said. "This cluster of hundreds of companies and professionals has grown into a thriving concentration of more than 4,000 resources that is unmatched anywhere in the world. Quite simply, we offer the total package, the entire product cycle from design to production and distribution, to specialized legal and financial services, to the complete suite of sales and marketing activities."

Among the Piedmont Triad's strengths are:
• A large pool of well-trained, highly skilled workers at all levels - from the plant floor to top management. In addition to manufacturing expertise, the Piedmont Triad also boasts a rich reserve of creative capital, from product and showroom designers to printers, photo studios and Website developers.

• A strategic location and easily accessible transportation system. This system includes seven interstate highways with more than 100 trucking companies, efficient rail service, four deep water ports within six hours and air cargo services that includes the new FedEx Mid-Atlantic hub.

• Furnishings-focused educational and training resources. Many of the 11 colleges and universities and nine community colleges in the area offer classes and courses relating to home furnishings design, production and marketing, including several degree programs. More such programs are planned for the future. In addition, a new facility being developed by Guilford Technical Community College will provide a cutting-edge destination for logistics education, research and outreach.

• A friendly business environment. Industrial, warehouse and office real estate costs are among the lowest in the nation. Utility and construction costs also are lower than the national average. Labor costs are low, and the region offers favorable tax rates and incentives.

"We can unequivocally say that our region delivers what you need to do business globally - right now," Powell said.

The PTP's new five-part initiative, launched during the High Point Market, will serve as a clearinghouse for information, ideas and insights into all of the furnishings-related enterprises in the Piedmont Triad Region. The PTP also has identified two other major business clusters in the region - transportation and logistics, and life sciences to include regenerative medicine, nanotechnology and material sciences.

The furnishings initiative includes companies involved in wood bedroom, dining room, occasional, entertainment, home office and outdoor furniture, upholstery and bedding suitable for residential, contract and hospitality use, as well as accessories, decorative fabrics, floor coverings, kitchen cabinets, wall coverings and a broad range of other related products.
The PTP program's reach will be international and inclusive of all segments of the furnishings industry, Powell added. It will include manufacturers, material and component suppliers and service providers.

"Just as an ‘exchange' is an interchange of ideas and products, our Global Exchange for Furnishings initiative will foster a fresh exchange of intellectual capital for all facets of the furnishings industry," Powell said. "We will help you every step of the way. We are going to demonstrate that this region is the best choice - the best location - for any business involved in any role of the furnishings product cycle across multiple industries."
The initiative features five key components:

• Regional Intelligence. For companies that are considering setting up or expanding operations in the Piedmont Triad, the PTP will provide all the information needed to make informed decisions. This information - on subjects such as labor availability, tax structures and construction costs - will be provided free of charge and tailored to individual companies' needs.

• Site Selection. As a partnership of 12 counties, the PTP can help companies navigate the entire regional landscape to find the best location for their operations. The group can even coordinate trip logistics and act as a host for site visits.

• Government Liaison. The PTP also can provide liaison services, identifying and providing introductions to top local, regional and state government officials and community representatives.

• Database of Resources. To assist companies in their efforts to establish or expand operations in the region, the PTP is creating a comprehensive database of local resources. This information will be specific to the furnishings cluster and will be an invaluable resource in identifying future business partners.

• Furnishings Concierge. For those questions or details that require extra assistance, the PTP will offer a Furnishings Concierge charged with finding the answer or the right person to contact.

"The Piedmont Triad already is the place to be for furnishings-related businesses," Powell said. "And during the next five to 10 to 20 years, it will be even more so. This initiative will continue to evolve over the next several months to better meet the industry's needs as we connect with additional furnishings companies globally and across the United States."

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