For most of the year, the broad main streets of High Point, N.C. are quiet and empty, much like any other faded post-​​industrial town. But for 10-​​day long stints twice a year, the empty show­rooms fill with the latest uphol­stery fash­ions, and home fur­nish­ings buyers from around the world pack the town’s few restau­rants. That’s the inter­na­tional fur­ni­ture market: Still a huge eco­nomic driver, even after most fac­to­ries have fled the area.

Back in the late 1990s, that would cause prob­lems for Dwain Wad­dell, the dropout pre­ven­tion coor­di­nator at High Point Cen­tral High School — stu­dents used to skip class to earn a few dol­lars boxing up pur­chases and shining shoes. But things have changed.

They don’t even do that any­more. I don’t think the oppor­tu­ni­ties are there,” says the bow-​​tied admin­is­trator, whose win­dow­less office walls are cov­ered with his vic­to­ries — pic­tures of kids who went on to grad­uate, rather than fading away. “It seems like because the adults need more work, they’re occu­pying those jobs. And the fur­ni­ture stores and fac­to­ries have kind of gone down some, so there’s prob­ably not as much help needed.”

Read the article at The Washington Post →