As we’re closing this issue, I’m getting ready for my first COVID-19 vaccine. The thought of finally being somewhat protected from this virus after a year of hunkering down has allowed me to start thinking of the possibilities. There are things I took for granted that I’ve missed this past year. Hugging my children who don’t live with us, for example. Going out to dinner. Heading to markets once again and seeing new products and old friends.
For a year, we’ve put so much on hold that was once so routine. It’s exciting to be looking toward the future where life and business can start to normalize.
By High Point Market in June, our team will be vaccinated and while we’ll still be wearing masks, we might not also have to stand on the other side of the showroom to visit with colleagues and friends. I do believe it’s going to take some time until we feel really comfortable traveling or being around large groups of people again, but it’s nice to think of a return to a time where interactions can be personal once more.
In the home furnishings industry, we’ve had to really think out of the box — or in it as pretty much all interactions have taken place over a computer or phone screen. I’m so impressed with the steps the industry, retailers and designers have taken to not just keep business afloat, but to thrive in new ways. From my conversations, most have flourished even as the landscape just keeps changing.
As we start to see our way to the other side of this pandemic year, how do you think your businesses might change again? At Furniture, Lighting & Decor, we’re looking forward to in-person seminars at markets. Don’t get me wrong, Zoom is cool, but live conversations… well, we miss those.
Do you look forward to the day you can greet customers in your stores again with a smile instead of a face shield? Are you heading back to markets, like us, to see what’s new?
Some of the new tools and processes we’ve put into place will stick around for sure. That’s a positive. However, there’s an energy at a market that’s difficult to duplicate on Zoom. You know that energy when customers walk into your store? Or when design clients meet you for the first time to hear your plans for their spaces?
This industry should be so proud as we begin to close this COVID chapter. The innovation and agility that has been on display this past year, I think, has exceeded many of our own expectations. It will be interesting to see how we adapt as we move forward.
In our May issue next month, we’ll share some of that innovation through our profiles of the 12th annual Showroom of the Year Awards finalists. I’m looking forward to presenting the winners with their awards in person at June Lightovation. We hope to see you there and all around the market circuit this summer.