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Paula Deen Challenge Winner: "Red Hot Freedom"

By Home Furnishings Business in High Point on April 23, 2013

The centerpiece of the "Red Hot Freedom" team from Guilford Technical Community College claimed the trophy for Paula Deen€™s Great Party Challenge on Monday.

Based on the Spring Market theme of €œInspiration,€ five teams of culinary students from GTCC designed and prepared edible centerpieces inspired by one of five family parties: a child€™s birthday, graduation, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and New Year€™s Eve. Students only had 50 minutes to assemble their centerpiece, which had to be 24 or more inches high.

Paula Deen, TV star, restaurateur and author, hosted the event along with Eric Chilton, host and meteorologist for the Good Morning Show on WFMY News 2 in Greensboro, N.C.

€œI was amazed and impressed by the speed and skill that the students exhibited when building their centerpieces,€ said Deen. €œThe final centerpieces were truly works of art. Based on their performances, many of these students have exciting careers ahead of them in the culinary arts.€

The 16 students currently are enrolled in the second level culinary skills course taught by Chef L.J. Rush, interim department chair of the School of Culinary and Hospitality Management at GTCC. 

Each member of the winning team received a promotional video, with a personal interview taped with Paula Deen to use in their portfolio. They also will be featured on the Paula Deen Facebook page, Twitter, and in her blog that is sent to Paula€™s 2.5 million followers. In addition, each received a signed cookbook, a trophy designed just for this competition and a gift card worth $250.

€œI€™m extremely proud of all of the students, their creativity and their showmanship,€ said Rush. €œEach and every student put their heart and soul into this competition. Whether they won or not, this will be a wonderful lifetime memory.€

Estep Named VP at McNeill Communications

By Home Furnishings Business in Executive Changes on April 23, 2013

McNeill Communications Group has promoted Lauren Estep to vice president of media relations.

Estep will guide the High Point-based strategic marketing firm€™s media relations efforts, social media outreach and strategic event planning. She also plays an instrumental role in the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation.
€œLauren has proven invaluable in her work with members of the media as well as social media projects,€ said Karen McNeill, CEO of the McNeill Communications Group. €œShe is highly gifted in strategic positioning through traditional media relations, social media and events which garner greater visibility for our clients.€
Estep joined the company in 2004 as media counsel. She previously worked with the High Point Chamber of Commerce and the Volunteer Center of Durham. She holds a bachelor€™s degree in Journalism and Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

ASFD Launches New Web Site

By Home Furnishings Business in Internet on April 23, 2013

The American Society of Furniture Designers has launched a new Web site.

The move is part of ASFD's new initiative, €œTouching Lives By Design,€ which along with the new member-centric Web site, includes a full revamp of its logo.

The Web site expansed on the existing content to add Designpedia, a glossary of style and design terms used in American furnishings, a monthly trends article and a designer spotlight.

€œWe desire to provide to the ASFD membership, the industry and consumers a source for topical styling references, major trend movements and influential designers€™ works we think are consequential for home furnishings to touch individual lives,€ said John Conrad, president of ASFD. €œWe believe a collaborate approach from our members to provide current content to the website will focus and showcase the significant forces the society offers to have major impact on today€™s environments. It is only thru multiple viewpoints that can we provide relevant elements to help guide our industry and consumers to make choices that enhance their lives for a long time.

€œWe are every excited to start a new chapter for the ASFD which cements our mission as an organization that continually touches lives by design. I have never been more excited to be a furniture designer and to be in this industry.€

In addition to furniture designers, ASFD welcomes manufacturers, industry professionals, graphic designers and design students as members.

Magnussen Recognizes Top Sales Performers

By Home Furnishings Business in on April 22, 2013 Case goods vendor Magnussen Home Furnishings honored nine sales associates for peak performance in 2012.

Sales awards were presented at Magnussen€™s sales meeting at this April€™s High Point Market.

Sales award recipients include: David Wildenberg, recipient of two awards, The Ingwer Magnussen Sales Person of the Year and the Greatest Dollar Volume Increase for 2011-2012; Harry Bassett, recipient of the Highest Market Share increase for 2011-2012; Sidney Dassinger and Phil Traynor, recipients of the Greatest Percentage Increase in 2012 award; Cathy and Alan Taylor, recipients of the Customer Service award; Bob Irish, recipient of the Sales Demand Planner of the Year award; Barry Lipkind, recipient of the Highest Market Share award; and Chuck Klypchak recipient of the Rookie of the Year award.

Next Gen-Now on the Move

By Home Furnishings Business in on April 22, 2013 Furniture networking group Next Generation-Now partnered with Surya for its High Point Bash Sunday evening.

The group needed more space for the event after a a 127 percent spike in membership since the spring 2012 High Point Market.

Attendees €œRocked the Casbah!€ at the Surya celebration while enjoying foosball, air hockey and doubleshoot basketball with the Next Gen crew.

€œThe Surya team is a great partner for Next Generation-Now,€ said Next Gen member Mark Mueller of Mueller Furniture. €œNetworking and brainstorming at High Point with successful, energetic leaders will breed positive energy and activity that young retailers can take home to their businesses.€

During the event, participants had the opportunity to drop off their business cards and be entered to win an all-expense paid trip for two to the 2013 Home Furnishings Industry Conference, June 2-4 in New Orleans, sponsored by the group€™s benefactor sponsor, Ashley Furniture Inds.

€œI think it€™s really great to be supported by such a well-established industry organization," said another NGN member, Joey Gunn, of Knight Furniture. It€™s obvious they believe in what we're doing with Next Gen, and it's really motivating to see that they are willing to help us bolster our network and help cultivate the future of the furniture industry.€

The group heads to the 2013 HFIC in New Orleanson June 1 for an exclusive pre-conference event, hosted in partnership with the conference.

€œThis is the first year that the Next Gen group will be hosting exclusive events in conjunction with the HFIC,€ said NGN Membership Recruitment Co-Chair Lael Thompson. €œThe 2013 HFIC set the bar really high; we knew we had to provide an event that would be both enlightening and beyond enjoyable. We thought a store tour of one of the most compelling furniture stores in the New Orleans area--Olinde€™s Ashley Home Store in Harahan, La.--and an awesome night in the French Quarter for our members would do the trick.€