John Beard, vice president of sales, cuts the ribbon for the Behold Washington Furniture showroom space in building VI Thursday at the Tupelo Furniture Market in Tupelo.

TUPELO – With its 400,000-square-foot warehouse nearly complete and ready to be moved into by December, Behold Washington Furniture has already made one big move – more than tripling the size of its showroom at the Tupelo Furniture Market.

On Thursday, the company, joined by officials from the market and the Community Development Foundation, cut the ribbon on the nearly 19,000-square-foot space in Building VI.

Behold had formerly been in an 6,000-square-foot showroom. But expansion in recent years precipitated a need to look for more room. Then in June of last year, the Smithville-based company emerged with Pontotoc-based Washington Furniture Sales. The new showroom displays the combined company's product line, which includes motion and stationary furniture, including sofas, recliners and accent chairs.

"We're fully supportive of the Tupelo Furniture Market and so the time was right to expand our footprint near Tupelo," said John Beard, Vice President of Sales for Behold Washington.

The main Washington plant was destroyed by fire in September, slowing down the company's plan temporarily. The new 400,000 building under construction will be used for warehousing; the company has a quick-ship program, and having the warehouse enables it to expedite orders to its customers.

"We're an aggressively priced furniture manufacturer," Beard said. "Our business is to provide a quality product at a great price, and we're highly sought after ... it's very important for us to support our retailers, and what better way than to provide a big presence in Tupelo so they can shop and have a good experience while at the the Tupelo Furniture Market."

Beyond Washington has nearly 300 employees, and recently announced it was investing another $400,000 and adding another 20 employees.

Company CEO Lyle Harris said the new showroom allows the company to highlight both brands to its many customers.

"We really do complement one another," he said. "Washington is a great family and a great company, and it's promotionally priced upholstery that complementary to what we were doing at Behold. They have a wonderful customer base we can tap into with the Behold product. Just the scale of the companies together allowed us to make some key hires and invest in a really nice facility will will grow us to the next level."

Reception of the combined showroom has been excellent, Harris said, with some Top 100 furniture retail accounts having already visited or on their way.

"We actually brought in a customer from Ohio yesterday," Harris said. "This market for us is really about reconnecting with some of the buyers we lost after the fire. We want to be important to them, and anytime we can touch a large portion of those customers – and Tupelo allows us to do that – then I think it's money well-spent"

Twitter: @dennisseid

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