First Retail Chairman Doug Sanicola Aims High

Doug Sanicola

Whether it was building his insurance company from 11 to 514 employees, changing careers to open Outdoor Elegance Patio Design Center as the casual furniture shopping destination for the stars and the rest of upscale Southern California, or becoming the first retail Chairman of the Board of the International Casual Furnishings Association, Doug Sanicola always goes big. His aspirations for his legacy as the head of our trade organization are equally lofty. “I am pledging to reach out to all retailers to join us. The Nationwide Marketing Group alliance we just forged is the best member benefit we’ve had in years. The return on the investment in membership for all categories is quantifiable and far-reaching. With my retail perspective and the support of our dedicated Board and members, I’ve set my goal to increase membership in the retail category by at least 50%.”

Sanicola’s introduction to the ICFA came through an invitation by manufacturing colleague, Terri Lee Rogers of O. W. Lee, to attend an open Board meeting in Chicago seven years ago. “I was impressed by the power of this group to impact our entire industry through advocacy, education and by working together toward shared goals. I joined and quickly became involved on the Board. I accepted the nomination to become the first retail Chairman because I wanted other retailers to see that one of their own was at the top of the organization serving as their voice. I hope that by learning how my involvement with the ICFA has helped my business, they will better understand the value of membership and how best to leverage the many benefits to improve their bottom lines.”

As the President and CEO of Outdoor Elegance, Sanicola appreciates the unique concerns of casual furnishings retailers who for the most part represent family-owned, closely-held single-store businesses, with second- and third-generation employees. The finance and marketing experience he developed in his first career helped catapult his business to an enviable success that includes winning the ICFA Apollo Award for Best Single Store in 2010 and six nominations, most recently in 2016. “Casual furnishings retailers are already committed to a life in this industry through their business. Joining and supporting the trade organization that best represents all our interests makes sense from both a professional and a personal point of view. We all face the same challenges, and together we reap the many rewards of being involved in a rapidly growing industry where consumer demand is increasing in every market. I’m looking forward to meeting as many of our members as I can in the year ahead, and encourage feedback or suggestions through the “Ask A Question” tab on ICFA website home page or directly at”