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Byline: Richard Craver
Jul. 26--LAS VEGAS -- Thousands of exhibitors and buyers got their first look yesterday at the opening furniture market in Las Vegas, a trade show that may eventually challenge High Point's market supremacy.
The new World Market Center is still relatively small in terms of showroom space, but it registered 53,000 visitors -- 8,000 more than expected. The High Point market averages 70,000 visitors.
"If we had an attendance of 5,000, 10,000 or even 20,000, I could see where someone might say this market was driven by curiosity," said Shawn Samson, one of the Las Vegas market's founders.
"But when you have 53,000, that's not curiosity, but a mandate from the industry and an unprecedented show of support for the dawn of a new era for the industry. You also saw a great amount of business being written today."
The atmosphere was surprisingly workmanlike. Except for a self-congratulatory, grand-opening ceremony at the end of the business day, and the hiring of professional models as greeters, there was little glitz or fanfare that tied the new …