Market boycott due to LGBT law could hurt state's economy

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina city is bracing for an economic hit if thousands stay away from what's billed as the world's largest furniture market.

Organizers say thousands could boycott the semiannual High Point Market to protest a new North Carolina law that limits protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. About 75,000 buyers, sellers and other industry insiders usually cram into High Point for the market, which opens Saturday. The next is scheduled for October.

A professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who co-authored a market impact study says if 2,000 people boycott the market, it could mean $15 million in lost tourism spending. T. William Lester also says a 5 percent drop in market sales could mean more than $100 million less for North Carolina furniture manufacturers.