Casual Industry Salutes 2015 Award Winners
All segments of the industry gathered at the Chicago Field Museum Friday, Sept. 18, to recognize manufacturing and retailing excellence, spotlight top product designs and pay tribute to the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.
Individuals and companies honored during the event included the following:
The Apollo Awards recognize retail excellence in the sales and marketing of outdoor furnishings. Finalists must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and commitment to customer service. Winners in two categories, singe store and multi-store, were selected from a group of 11 finalists through an online ballot.
Hill Company, Philadelphia, was the single store winner. Yard Art Patio & Fireplace, with stores in Allen, Colleyville, Grapevine, Lewisville and Plano, Texas, was the multi-store category winner.
Finalists in the single store category included Outdoor Elegance, LaVerne, Calif.; Sunnyland Furniture, Dallas; AuthenTEAK, Atlanta; Patios Plus, Rancho Mirage, Calif.; and Village Green Home and Garden, Rockford, Ill. Finalists in the multi-store category were Outside In Style, Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Summer House, Seattle and Bellevue, Wash.; Great Gatherings, Annapolis and Gaithersburg, Md., and Gainesville and Fairfax, Va.; and ABSCO Fireplace & Patio, Birmingham and Pelham, Ala.
Design Excellence Awards
The Design Excellence competition recognizes products for their overall design, as well as their marketability, innovation, color, construction and imaginative use of materials. Eligible designs must have been introduced in the marketplace within the previous year and must be offered by companies exhibiting at Casual Market Chicago. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. co-sponsors the awards. The 2015 winners included:
- Chaise Lounge: Mamagreen Stripe Stackable Lounger 2 Recliner
- Complementary Casual Products: Elaine Smith Eden Basketweave Pillow
- Dining Bar Chair: Gloster Curve Stacking Chair
- Dining Bar Table: Gloster Split Rectangular Dining Table
- Fabric: Sattler Corp. Outdura Cocoon Buff
- Heating/Firepit: Pride Family Brands Icon Fire Pit
- Lounge Seating with Cushion: Gloster Bay Lounge Chair
- Lounge Seating without Cushion: Agio Del Mar Lounge Chair
- Rugs and Flooring: Jaipur Desert Rug
- Outdoor Lighting: Gloster Voyager Rechargeable Lantern
- Shade: TUCCI Ocean Master Max Manta Cantilever
New “Lilly” Awards and Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show”
The Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” award, selected from among the 11 category winners listed above, went to Gloster’s Voyager Rechargeable Lantern. In addition, Gloster’s Bay Lounge Chair was selected for the new “Lilly” award in the Outdoor Furniture category, and the Voyager Rechargeable Lanternreceived the “Lilly” for Outdoor Accents.
Voyager Rechargeable Lantern
Bay Lounge Chair
The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award is reserved for individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the casual furniture industry and to their individual communities. The 2015 honorees wereDudley Flanders and Buzz Homsy.
Flanders founded Lloyd Flanders with his father, Don, in 1982, and Homsy is co-owner and founder of California Backyard, a five-store retail operation based in Sacramento, Calif.
Flanders started working for Flanders Manufacturing immediately following his graduation from college in 1974. The Fort Smith, Ark.-based case goods company was founded by his father and mother in 1954 and sold to Riverside Furniture in 1969. A year later they founded Flanders Industries after purchasing a metal outdoor and commercial furniture manufacturing company.
In 1982, Flanders and his father acquired the Lloyd division of Heywood Wakefield Company, which produced wicker furniture on the unique Lloyd Loom patented by Marshall B. Lloyd in 1917, and founded Lloyd Flanders, which would become one of the country’s leading producers of casual furniture. Flanders has served as president of the company since 1983 and as CEO since 1991.
Flanders served as chairman of the Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association (SCFMA) from 2002 to 2004 and chaired the committee that helped oversee the organization’s transition to the International Casual Furnishings Association in 2008. He then served as ICFA’s first chairman from 2008 to 2010, and he remained on the Board of Directors through 2013. He also served on nearly every committee within SCFMA and ICFA. In all, Flanders served on the SCFMA and ICFA boards for over 10 years.
Outside the industry, Flanders is a dedicated volunteer, having served on the United Way Board, the Cancer Support Foundation Board, the Employers Health Coalition, the Westark Area Council of the Boy Scouts and the Board of Trustees for Lyon College. He is also a founding board member for the Arkansas Valley Habitat for Humanity, and under his leadership 100 houses were built in his community.
Homsy operates four stores in Northern California and one in Nevada. The operation, which offers outdoor furniture, barbecues, hot tubs and seasonal merchandise, began with a single store in Roseville, Calif., in 1989. Prior to California Backyard, Homsy operated Pool, Patio ‘n Things, a chain of eight stores plus several franchises, throughout Northern California, Oregon and Colorado.
In the early 1980s, Homsy was among the founding members of the Casual Furniture Retailers Association, an association that merged with SCFMA as part of the transition to ICFA. He also created the Casual Classics Group, a retail buying group that now has members representing over 150 stores. Homsy’s passion for collaboration and sharing ideas to better serve consumers continues today through ICFA’s retail roundtables.
One manufacturer was honored in each of 10 categories for the design and quality of their products, along with their merchandising, customer service, ethics, communications and trade relations. Winners, selected by ICFA members through online voting, were:
- Elaine Smith – Complementary Casual Products
- Gensun Casual Living– Cast Metal
- Jensen Leisure Furniture – Wood Casual
- O.W. Lee – Wrought Iron/Aluminum
- Patio Renaissance – Rattan/Wicker/Woven Materials
- Seaside Casual Furniture – Resin/Fiberglass
- Summer Classics – Outdoor Lighting
- Surya – Outdoor Carpeting/Rugs/Flooring
- Treasure Garden – Shade Products
- Tropitone Furniture – Tubular Materials Furniture
Manufacturer of the Year
For the fourth year in a row, O.W. Lee was named “Manufacturer of the Year.” Like the category winners, the Manufacturer of the Year is selected for the design and quality of their products, as well as outstanding merchandising, customer service, ethics, communications and trade relations.
Sales Representative of the Year
This award recognizes an outstanding sales representative within the casual furnishing industry. Candidates were selected based on leadership, professionalism, exceptional service, communication skills, knowledge and product training expertise. The 2015 winner, selected from four finalists and determined through online voting, wasMark Cannon.
Cannon has been a part of the casual furniture industry since 1977. He was with Samsonite Furniture for 20 years and then became a sales representative for Woodard and Gloster. He currently represents Ancient Mosaic Studios, Winston, Brown Jordan and Gensun Casual Living in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Finalists for Sales Representative of the Year were John Benner, Mary Geiseman and Judy and Ed Hamer. ICFA manufacturer, retailer, designer and supplier members reviewed the nominees and cast their ballots in online voting in August.