The International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) honored top retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives and designers recently at a virtual gala awards celebration.
More than 300 members and guests joined in the online presentation to recognize manufacturing and retailing excellence, spotlight top product designs, recognize the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree and announce the recipient of the inaugural Unsung Hero Award. Awards presented or recognized 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, single-store and multi-store, were selected from a group of 10 finalists through an online ballot.
Gasper Home & Showcase of Richboro, Pa., was the winner in the single-store category. The Fire House Casual Living Store, based in Charlotte, N.C., was the multi-store category winner.
Finalists in the single-store category included Outdoor Elegance, La Verne, Calif.; Patios Plus, Rancho Mirage, Calif.; Villa Terrazza, Sonoma, Calif.; and Village Green Home and Garden, Rockford, Ill.
Finalists in the multi-store category included Daylight Home, Lighting & Patio, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Kolo Collection, Atlanta; Today’s Patio, Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Yard Art Patio & Fireplace, Coppell, Texas.
Design Excellence Awards
The Design Excellence competition recognizes products in 11 categories 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 2020 category winners included:
- Chaise Lounge: Pavilion Carlyle Chaise – John Caldwell
- Complementary Casual Products – Accents: Elaine Smith Tavarua Pillow – Elaine Smith Design Team
- Complementary Casual Products – Furnishings: Summer Classics Brant Coffee Table – Summer Classics Design Team
- Dining Bar Chair: Summer Classics Havana 30” Barstool – Summer Classics Design Team
- Dining Bar Table: Mamagreen Maxximus Extension Dining Table – Vincent Cantaert
- Fabric: Glen Raven’s Richard Frinier Collection for Sunbrella Tweeds – Richard Frinier
- Heating/Firepit: Plank & Hide Functional Top Fire Pit – Plank & Hide Design Team
- Lounge Seating with Cushion: Castelle by Tropitone Berkeley Lounge Chair – Castelle Design Team
- Lounge Seating without Cushion: Lloyd Flanders Reflections Padded Lounge Chair – Lloyd Flanders Design Team
- Rugs and Flooring: Treasure Garden Reflections – Ocean Blue – Treasure Garden Design Team
- Shade: TUUCI Northstar Mast – Dougan Clarke
Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” and “Lilly” Awards
The Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” award, selected from among the 11 category winners listed above, went to Mamagreen for the Maxximus Extension Dining Table by Vincent Cantaert (right), which also received the Lilly Award in the Outdoor Furniture category. TUUCI’s Northstar Mast by Dougan Clark received the “Lilly” award in the Outdoor Accents category.
Lifetime Achievement Award
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 2020 honoree is Gary McCray, former president of Klaussner Outdoor and Lane Venture. The tireless manufacturing executive is known for creative talents that brought innovation to the category. His leadership of ICFA during two terms a decade apart helped launch several new initiatives that made the Association stronger. He spearheaded the first ICFA Educational Conference and renewed the ICFA board committee system, which collaborated to initiate a philanthropic relationship with the City of Hope.
Manufacturer of the Year
OW Lee was named Manufacturer of the Year – a tribute to the design and quality of their products, as well as outstanding merchandising, customer service, ethics, communications and trade relations. The 2020 finalists for the Manufacturer Leadership Award included Lloyd Flanders, OW Lee, Telescope Casual Furniture, Treasure Garden and Tropitone. Previously, OW Lee was chosen as the Manufacturer of the Year for six consecutive years between 2012 and 2017.
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 2020 winner, selected from five finalists and determined through online voting, was Dave Digirolamo, of DJD Associates, Dublin, California. Other finalists included Joe Crandall, Marietta, Ga.; Phil Fowler, Wilmington, Del..; Ed Joseph, Seattle; and Carmen Squadrito, Wake Forest, N.C.
Unsung Hero Award
This new award was created to call attention to the outstanding customer service representatives at manufacturing companies throughout the casual furnishings industry. Candidates were selected based on their ability to provide exceptional customer service for their manufacturer and retailers. Other qualities included use of outstanding communication skills and innovative ways to problem solve, service as a model of professionalism and talent to act as an inspiration for others as a brand ambassador. This year’s honoree is the late Mia Nault of Ebel. Mia was an important part of the Ebel team for 10 years until she was tragically lost in an automobile accident in February. Other finalists included Sara Brown
at Telescope Casual Furniture; Christy Dase at Gensun; and Ana Hartman at Treasure Garden.
About The International Casual Furnishings Association: The ICFA, based in High Point, N.C., represents manufacturers, retailers, sales representatives and designers of outdoor furnishings plus suppliers to the industry.