A burst of information - in cyberspace and traditional magazine format - is helping buyers and manufacturers keep pace at the Tupelo Furniture Market.
In a faster move than even he had expected, Tupelo computer consultant Steve Dyer has put the furniture market's Buyer's Guide and Directory onto the Internet, offering every company its own web page.
"We're going to blanket this on the Internet," said Dyer, president of Interstate Consulting in Tupelo.
He said he came up with the idea shortly before the February market and approached V.M. Cleveland, chairman of the Tupelo Furniture Marketing Association.
"Both of us are high on marketing," he said.
Dyer said he had planned to ready the Internet access for the February 1997 market, but his work proceeded "extremely fast."
"I'm surprised we're at this market," he said.
Furniture companies' access to the Internet doesn't end at the market. Dyer is offering four choices to establish a web page for manufacturers.
The web pages range from a basic offering at $50 annually that establishes on the Internet a company's name, address, telephone and fax numbers, company contacts and products and services to a web site that offers computer disk space, a web site design, an e-mail post office and other features. The cost is $399 for three months.
Dyer said he has not had trouble convincing furniture company executives to take the leap into cyberspace.
"People think it's up and coming," he said. "It's here. It's in your face all the time."
Dyer, 26, and the Internet grew up together. A graduate of Mississippi State University, he and his roommate began "hacking around" as Internet sites were connected.
Now marketing director for Cash Distributing Co., a Tupelo beer wholesaler, Dyer began consulting work part time. He helps computer users set up at home and offers tutorials.
The potential for Northeast Mississippi on the Internet is vast, he said. Conducting an Internet search using the words "furniture and Tupelo," Dyer found 556 listings.
In contrast, searching the Net with the words "furniture and High Point," a reference to the central North Carolina manufacturing center, yields 299,648 entries.
Furniture manufacturers, buyers and others have had another, less technical, way to get information about their industry.
Furniture Today, a weekly trade magazine, made its debut in Tupelo as a daily Friday and Saturday.
"There's plenty to report on," said Lester Craft Jr., editor of the magazine. The magazine has featured the introduction of furniture products and sketches of the new furniture.
The High Point-based magazine set up shop in a spare room at the Mississippi Building at the furniture market. Eight reporters, editors and others lay out the magazine on laptop computers and send their work to a printer in Memphis via a telephone modem.
The printer delivers about 4,000 copies of the 32-page special magazine to the furniture market.
The 28,000-circulation magazine has published four daily magazines at the High Point furniture market and discontinued a daily at the Dallas market, Craft said.
"We've done well enough to justify it," he said of the Tupelo market edition.