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ICFA Announces Apollo Award Finalists

By Home Furnishings Business in Casual Furniture on May 30, 2013

The International Casual Furnishings Association has named the finalists for the 2013 Apollo Awards. The program recognizes retail excellence in the sales and marketing of outdoor furnishings.

Finalists must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and a commitment to customer service. The ICFA membership will vote via an online ballot for a winner in each of two categories later this summer.

Finalists will be honored and the winners announced at the ICFA Awards Gala Sept. 19, during the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago.   


Finalists in the 2013 competition include:


Single Store Category

Kolo Collection, Atlanta

Outdoor Elegance, La Verne, Calif.

Seasons Four, Lexington, Mass.

Sunnyland Furniture, Dallas

Village Green, Rockford, Ill.


Multi-Store Category

ABSCO Fireplace & Patio, Birmingham, Ala.

Patios Plus, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Outside in Style, Austin, Texas

Stauffers of Kissel Hill, Lititz, Pa.

Yard Art Patio & Fireplace, Irving, Texas

Theodore Alexander Sponsors 'Downton Abbey' Creator at Festival

By Home Furnishings Business in Community/Charitable Support on May 30, 2013

Julian Fellowes, English actor, writer, and director and creator of the award-winning period drama, "Downton Abbey", will speak at the 10th Althorp Literary Festival taking place June 13-15.

Fellowes' June 13 appearance is sponsored by home furnishings manufacturer Theodore Alexander.  This is the eighth year Theodore Alexander has been a participating sponsor of the Festival, founded by Charles, Ninth Earl Spencer. The Festival takes place on the grounds of Althorp, in Northhamptonshire, the 500-year-old ancestral home of the Spencers.

Fellowes will discuss his varied career as an actor best known for the TV series "Aristocrats" and "Monarch of the Glen", and in films including "Shadowlands", "Damage", and "Tomorrow Never Dies", along with his fascination with aristocratic life in post-Edwardian Britain, the inspiration for his iconic television series, Downton Abbey. Boasting fans worldwide, the series made its U.S. debut on PBS in January 2011 as part of the Masterpiece Classic anthology. It won the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film and the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie the same year.  Starring Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the first decades of the 20th Century.  

"We are honored to once again support this beloved annual event," said Harvey Dondero, CEO of Theodore Alexander. "The splendid estate of Althorp and the way of life it has represented over the last 500 years is the perfect setting for the Literary Festival, and even more so with this year's appearance of Julian Fellowes with his highly popular depiction of life in an English stately home."

Theodore Alexander is the exclusive manufacturer of the Althorp Living History collection of furniture and accents inspired by or reproduced from many of the important furnishings collected by the Spencer family throughout history.

In addition to more than 30 presentations by authors, columnists, and political figures, the Festival includes musical performances and a cricket match between Althorp staffers and their rivals, Authors' XI, a team composed entirely of writers.

Other sponsors include Christie'sHarper's Bazaar, and Brights of Nettlebed, distributor of Theodore Alexander in the United Kingdom.

Spencer, a noted author, founded the Althorp Literary Festival in 2003. Since then the Festival has attracted more than 100 writers to Althorp. In support of the 10th anniversary, the Festival is donating £10,000 to Whole Child UK, to assist orphans and abandoned children in the developing world with the basics of learning including literacy.

Althorp, a grand estate that is the hallmark of the Spencer Heritage brand, has been home to 19 consecutive generations of the Spencer family and the addition of a Festival of Literature is entirely in keeping with the history and heritage of the house.  George John, Second Earl Spencer, built a library that housed one of the finest private collections of books in Europe. Although not simply a classical collection, it was extraordinarily rare and included Papal Letters of Indulgence from 1452, the first edition of the "Mazarin" Bible of 1455, the Mentz Psalter of 1457 and 57 original Caxton Bibles.  

Tupelo Furniture Market Sets Seminar Series

By Home Furnishings Business in Markets on May 29, 2013

The Tupelo Furniture Market  is boosting its offerings to retailers with a slate of educational seminars.

The Lunch & Learn sessions will be held two times each day during the summer market set for Aug. 15-18. The seminars will be held in Building 1 in the Magnolia Room.

Joe Milevsky and Bob Moorman with JRM Sales & Management, a consulting firm and resource in the furniture industry, have developed seminars designed to provide information to retailers to help increase overall sales, margins and efficiency.

These seminars are free to attendees. 

Scheduled seminars currently include:

Exceeding Customer Expectations

This seminar focuses on positioning your company to maximize the potential of every customer that calls or visits your store.

Are you ready?

Is your store ready?

Does your sales floor make it easier for your salespeople to sell?

Do you understand how to truly evaluate and help to improve salespersons' performance?

What are the seven areas of your business that must be consistent? How do you ensure that everyone in your company is customer-centric and on the same page?

Merchandising Your Store in Today's Ever-changing Business Climate

Does your merchandising engage customers through a better understanding of their preference and behaviors?

How should your merchandise lineups be structured?

What does the first 500 square feet near the entrance of your store tell the customer?

How are you merchandising your floor; what's new?

Your product tagging strategy; is it customer friendly?

Your customers; what demographics are you merchandising to?

Merchandising must enhance the customer experience and create environments that make customers want to buy.

Anatomy of a Salesperson

What makes one salesperson succeed while others fail?

What is the magic profile for a strong salesperson in our industry?

Where do I find my best candidates?

Why would top salespeople come to work for me?

How do I increase the probability that I can position salespeople to succeed?

How do I ensure that my salespeople have enough but not too much of my stores' traffic?.

The Mystery of the Budgeting Process

Most independent retailers do not produce an annual budget. Professionally run, successful companies produce budgets and work their budgets to facilitate positive outcomes.

Discover processes that will keep your business safe. Learn how to:

Create and understand how to use a budget.

Establish a chart of accounts that will define company safeguards.

Benchmark your company's performance.

Set reasonable, achievable and detailed financial goals.

Hold management team members accountable for their performance to budget.

Build company initiatives to effect positive financial goals.

Make your profit more predictable.

The Market's schedule of events is available online.

Swedish Home Furnishings Retailer IKEA Begins on-Site Demolition; Future Kansas City-Area Store to Open Fall 2014 in Merriam, KS

By Aggregated Content in on May 29, 2013 from

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Gnome Commercial Gets Flack for Ikea

By Aggregated Content in Advertising on May 29, 2013 from

It was meant to be a light-hearted attempt to sell garden furniture.

But advertisers working for the Swedish furniture giant Ikea clearly underestimated the sensitivities of British gnome lovers.

When their TV campaign showed a line up of the garden ornaments being systematically destroyed they received dozens of angry complaints.

Read Full Article...


Shannon Kennedy, 55, Dies

By Aggregated Content in Obituaries on May 29, 2013 from

Shannon Marie Kennedy, director of marketing for the High Point Market Authority, died Monday, May 27 following a long battle with cancer. She was 55.

In April, Kennedy shared with us that she was focused on seeing her daughter Erin Ann Moulson graduate from the University of Alabama in May and then ensuring she was settled in the start of her career. Both of those things came to fruition.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, May 31, 2013 in St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 333 Springdale Ave, Winston-Salem, N.C.

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United Furniture Inds. Expanding

By Aggregated Content in Upholstery on May 29, 2013 from

United Furniture Industries has announced the company is expanding operations at its manufacturing facility in Nettleton.

The project represents a company investment of $277,000 and will create about 100 new jobs.

The company currently has 400 employees at the Nettleton facility.

Read Full Article...

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