Market-goers and local businesses are invited to hit the pavement in the early morning hours this Spring as part of the home furnishings industry’s 2nd Annual Hike for Hope. The one-hour event, a two-mile walk through downtown High Point, is an industry-wide fundraiser for City of Hope (COH), a leading cancer research and treatment center. The Hike will be held on Sunday, March 25, 2007, the morning prior to Market’s official start.
“The Hike for Hope is a chance for everyone connected to the home furnishings industry to show their support for the City of Hope,” says Jena Hall, co-chair of the National Home Furnishings Industry board. “Every year, the industry’s fundraising efforts for this vital organization are greatly appreciated by the doctors and researchers at City of Hope. But more important, it matters to the patients, whose lives we are helping to save. Unfortunately, cancer touches almost everyone’s life in one way or another.”
Organizers are encouraging manufacturers, retailers, designers, Market showroom buildings, local businesses and other Market-goers to participate in the Hike for Hope. The Hike will start promptly at 7:15 a.m., rain or shine, beginning at the High Point Market Transportation Terminal at the 200 Block, East Commerce Avenue. Refreshments will be served courtesy of the International Home Furnishings Center (IHFC) and the event will culminate just one hour later, enabling all participants to get back to the work of Market no later than 8:30 a.m.
“We’re asking everyone connected to the High Point Market to get involved in this important event,” relates Kimberley Wray, vice president of marketing at the High Point Market Authority. “The Hike for Hope is an opportunity for everyone to demonstrate their team spirit and raise funds for an important cause. At the same time, the event is also a unique marketing opportunity—enabling companies to promote their brands on the streets of downtown High Point. Participants can either add their company name to a tee-shirt specially designed by City of Hope for the event, or wear a tee-shirt (or other logo apparel) that promotes their company during the Hike. Last year, Ashley Furniture flooded the streets with hundreds of sales representatives wearing Ashley’s signature orange at the inaugural walk last Spring. On that morning, the Ashley representatives not only helped to raise $50,000 for COH, they made quite a visual statement about the Ashley brand and their support of one of last year’s honorees, Todd Wanek.”
This year, Hike for Hope Grand Marshall Jeff Cook, newly named president of Broyhill Furniture Industries, will lead the procession through the streets of downtown. According to Kim Hunter, office manager at Magnussen Home Furnishings Inc., where Cook most recently served as president and chief executive, the Magnussen team will be out “en force” to support both City of Hope and Cook. “We’re challenging our peers at Broyhill to do the same,” she says with a laugh…and may the most company tee-shirts win!”
Many Market buildings, including IHFC and Market Square are supporting the event, and Tom Dayvault, president of the High Point Chamber of Commerce is getting the word out to local merchants. “We are inviting all of the local businesses that serve the High Point Market to participate in the Hike as a show of support for the Market,” Dayvault says.
“City of Hope holds various regional home furnishings industry events each year to raise awareness about its mission, as well as raise necessary funds for research,” Hall comments. “The West Coast, for example, hosts an annual golf tournament each Spring while the Mid-West hosts an evening dinner cruise each summer. At one time, High Point hosted a Pre-Market golf tournament, but it was difficult for many to participate because it required so much time away from the showrooms. That’s what makes the Hike for Hope such a great initiative; it’s a quick and easy means for individuals to show support for this worthy cause.”
“The Hike for Hope is a great way to kick off your Market,” says Ellen Gefen, president of Gefen Productions, and Hike for Hope chairwoman. “It’s a new, fun and affordable way for individuals to support one of the nation’s premier cancer centers. It’s also a chance for everyone involved in the High Point Market to stand side-by-side in support of a common cause.”
A registration fee, which serves as a suggested donation to City of Hope, is $50. “This is a suggested amount,” Hall notes. “Individuals can of course invite others to sponsor them in the walk in order to raise funds, and everyone, whether they choose to walk or not, is invited to make a donation.”
Registration forms and tee-shirt templates may be downloaded at www.highpointmarket.org/cityofhope. Volunteers from MGM Transport will also man the High Point Market Authority Information Booth on Saturday, March 24, the day prior to the Hike, to collect donations and enable individuals to register for the walk on-site.
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