A panoply of Long Eaton’s finest – plus guests – took to the Spring Long Point show to present sourcing and networking opportunities from the intimate surrounds of the town’s local showrooms. Paul Farley reports …
The sun shone on Derbyshire, as April gave way to May and 22 exhibitors put their new lines to the fore. According to Andrew Mitchell – chairman of the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers, and the show’s de facto director – the event was a success, particularly given the current state of trade.
Long Point majors in upholstery, with the likes of Westbridge, G Plan Upholstery and Steed Upholstery flying the flag for British-made, mid-market sofas. Yet the show’s cabinet component – from German bedrooms (Wiemann and Staud) to English reproduction furniture (Iain James Furniture) – is growing.
Although bolstered by guest exhibitors and those seeking a permanent presence in Long Eaton, the event sits on a bedrock of local businesses. The aforementioned Long Eaton Guild – which predominantly comprises long-established upmarket sofamakers – typically open their well-appointed factory showrooms to the trade during the biannual show, and there’s nothing like seeing new product in its optimal setting.
Take Duresta’s showroom on Fields Farm Road. Its opulent look may be recreated accurately enough at other exhibitions, but it’s hard to beat the atmosphere, intimacy and hospitality of a manufacturer’s home turf. It’s just one of owner Sofa Brands International’s showrooms in the town that’s open to the public nearly all year round, proudly flying the brand’s flag and giving customers a better idea of how they can sell its models in their own stores.
Elsewhere, guild members such as John Sankey, Steed and Artistic Upholstery present their own high-end collections to visiting retailers and interior designers.
The town’s showrooms are just a short distance apart from one another, and make for a rewarding diversion from the event’s central hub, Harrington Mill. This expansive building houses the lion’s share of Long Point’s guest exhibitors, but has also seen its inhabitants lavish attention on their own spaces, which are often permanent.
Carlton Furniture’s vintage stylings work particularly well, while Alexander & James’ creativity is beyond reproach. The latter wowed January Furniture Show’s visitors with a new Wonderland-themed look (winner of Furniture News’ Stand of the Show award), and it can only be a matter of time before its Harrington Mill showroom enjoys a similar makeover.
Just down the road from the mill is The Exchange, a new venue that’s home to CG specialist Orbital Vision and British trade association, the BFM. As well as show exhibitor Hugo Park, it’s also the new permanent base of operations for upmarket German bedroom furniture brand, Staud, adding further flavour to the locale.
And Andrew is confident there’s room for further growth. “There’s certainly the capacity to house more exhibitors here,” he says. “Indeed, we’re already in talks with some new companies regarding their participation in September’s event.”
To avoid clashes with a bank holiday and a buying group show, this year’s Spring Long Point occupied an earlier dateline than usual, and its organiser is yet to confirm when the 2020 edition will fall. In the meantime, Autumn Long Point will take place from 23rd-25th September.
This year's show show ended with a prize draw for a deluxe accommodation and meal package at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. Maggie Throup MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Group, did the honours – the winner was Robert Shotton of Cousins Furniture.