Chillin’ With The Cool Kids

Light up your Market nights with showroom crawls, cold brews, open mics, and awards dinners

When you’re looking to wind down after a busy day at Market, enticing evening events abound. We asked a group of high-energy High Point socializers to share their favorite ways to relax and de-stress while building relationships and gathering valuable business information. If you’re looking to get in with the in crowd, here are a few of their preferred after-hours activities.

Hundreds of happy hours mark the unofficial end of every day. “The meetings don’t stop at 5pm. If they haven’t already, the showrooms open the bar and serve some snacks. While everyone has put away their iPads, there is still plenty of business and networking going on,” said Jay Steinback, Art Van of St. Louis Franchise President & CEO. “Hanging out with other business owners, reps, and buyers in a casual setting is a fantastic way to wind down. As beautiful as the showrooms are for shopping, they are also a great place to relax and enjoy some dinner and drinks with your team.”

Tim Donk, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Legends Furniture focuses on his company’s ‘Open Mic Night,’ a popular Saturday night tradition for more than a decade. “We start at 6pm so early guests can check out our new collections in a relaxed and leisurely fashion, before the music begins," he said. Jake Jabs, Ray Allegrezza, and Donk are among those who typically demonstrate their musical talents. The party is always the official last stop on the “Night of Networking Showroom Crawl” by the Next Generation Now under 40 group sponsored by the Home Furnishings Association.

Most industry associations schedule annual meetings during Market, attracting those with special interests. “I enjoy attending the Hall of Fame and City of Hope award dinners and events hosted by organizations like WithIt and NextGen. Exposure to these groups has helped me build my network and connect with many amazing and influential people in the industry,” said Kayla Wallace, VP of Client Relationships at FurnitureDealer.Net. “When we don't have a formal event on the schedule, we host our clients in our building. We get to know them as people and the informal conversations help us to identify any problems and find solutions.”

Dinner at a local pub is another way to wind down with colleagues and clients. “One of my favorite new places to chill is Brown Truck Brewery on Main Street. The craft brewery has a house label, and dogs are welcome! It also has a nice selection of wines and a live band. There’s a different food truck every day, and one features the best burgers you will ever eat,” said John Iasiello, Sr. VP, Strategic Planning and Business Development at Riverside Furniture. “I have met Market visitors from Asia, Saudi Arabia, and Russia while spending time there catching up on family news with dealers I have known for years.”

Acclaimed New York designer Anthony Baratta has firm rules for nighttime behavior. “I’m not a bar person, so I create a moving party with a posse of younger associates. I tell them, ‘look cool whatever you do’ and never forget, even in the wildest situation, it’s still work. You need to look and act a certain way to be successful. Keeping it under control is a competitive advantage. Don’t get drunk or be seen with drunk people. Being sloppy is not good for your career. Our business partners depend on us to be professional. We always have a blast, and there’s never regret in the morning!”

Whether you take tips from our cool kids or create your own after-hours adventures, start your planning by checking out all the social events – and more – offered at www.highpointmarket.org/events.