No one understands the preparation it takes for the International High Point Furniture Market unless they are involved in some capacity. Each person has their respective duties, whether it’s designing, planning, delivering, setting up, or dismantling. And oh the time it takes before the Market even begins…
The sights and colors of the showroom wares where I work are eye candy to lure in any visitor. Beautifully coordinated paint and furnishings are backdrops to the decor on display, each color group sectioned off to stand alone to the buying eye.
And tucked away amongst the palettes of color is the market kitchen. Not just a kitchen, but a room with a view, where I can look out my window to drink in the fashions of the season.
My role is a self imposed one that I have enjoyed for the previous four Markets – catering a showroom solo. Planning, buying, cooking, serving, hosting, and cleaning, to be exact. And I love every minute of it. Why? Because I love to create and cook. This list gives just a glimpse into the amounts purchased for consumption (think Christmas …. ):
12 heads of lettuce, 11 pounds of poultry, 10 tiers of cookies, 9 bags of popcorn, 8 drinks in liters, 7 sleeves of crackers, 6 cups of sour cream, 5 golden plates……, 4 egg casseroles, 3 bags of ice, 2 bags of bacon, and a continuous bowl of chocolate candy. Give or take.
The sights and sounds of my kitchen work move in rhythm to the sounds on the speakers, keeping me on track in an upbeat fashion for a daily 11 hour shift. The usual sounds can be heard – chopping, clanging, and cleaning. But the sounds that mean the most are not the ones I create, but those shared for my listening ears:
- The rep who wants a second helping of homemade cornbread for a late night snack or for the drive home.
- The designer from a neighboring state who compliments the availability of healthy food while sharing her story of a changed life because of nutritional changes.
- The buyers who share that their adult daughter is intentional about feeding her family well who also influences the lives of the Millennials in her circle of influence.
- The rep who, with tears in her eyes, shares that she is so thankful her adult child is getting the necessary help and support to move forward in life.
The beautiful table filled with homemade food for visitors is just an appetizer to what is really on the showroom menu. The food is served and consumed. But the food for the soul is that which lasts – a smile, a sharing of a story, and serving up a good experience for those I meet.
These are the sights and sounds that last after the table has been cleared and cleaned until next time. These are the memories that linger long after the menu is forgotten.