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Furniture Hall of Fame Announces 6 Nominees

The American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation has announced this year's candidates for election into the American Furniture Hall of Fame.

The voting period begins July 15 and ends August 16. 

The six nominees who will be made Industry Fellows at the October 20 banquet are Aminy I. Audi, John D. Bassett III, Milo Ray Baughman Jr., A. Leon Capel Jr., Hassel H. Franklin and Eugene Rosenberg .
“The home furnishings industry is comprised of highly diverse roles and products, which is represented in this year’s slate of the leaders in our industry,” said George Cartledge III , president of the Foundation. “Each person represents a life-long career of exemplary achievement, leadership, innovation and generosity. Each nominee has earned the respect of his peers as well as the industry as a whole, and will be made an Industry Fellow.”

Inductees will be determined by the combination of a vote of the Foundation membership and a points-based rating system of each nominee by the Foundation’s Industry Fellow Selection Committee. New members will be announced and officially inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame at the annual banquet celebration on Oct. 20 at the High Point Furniture Market

Aminy I Audi, CEO and chairman of L. & J.G. Stickley, and her late husband, Alfred, purchased a struggling company with only 25 employees in 1974 and were instrumental in a major resurgence of the Arts & Crafts style. Today, Stickley employs more than 1,500 people in three manufacturing plants, 14 company-owned stores and a network of retail dealers. Audi has helped to direct seven state-of-the-art expansions at the plant in Manlius, N.Y., which run 20 hours a day. She has been instrumental in the purchase of Nichols & Stone, John Widdicomb, Heirloom Upholstery, Cibola Leather and Madison Square while also directing the planning, staffing and merchandising of each store in their retail division. An active mentor, philanthropist and industry champion, she has been honored by WithIt, the International Furnishings and Design Association, the Small Business Administration and the American Red Cross while serving on boards including the American Home Furnishings Alliance and as a trustee of the State University of New York. 

John D. Bassett III, chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. is a champion of American-made furniture, serving as chairman of the Committee for Legal Trade and advocating for a critical Environmental Protection Agency rule change to benefit both the furniture industry and the environment. He has led the company from sales of $38 million when he joined the company in 1983 to more than $90 million today, making Vaughan-Bassett one of the largest American wood bedroom manufacturers, importing less than 2 percent of total sales. In 2012, he oversaw an $8 million expansion and reopening of a factory. A recipient of the American Home Furnishings Alliance Distinguished Service Award, the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association Pillar of the Industry Award, and InFurniture Magazine’s Man of the Year award, Bassett willingly shares his best practices about American manufacturing throughout the country. He supports many community organizations and created the Vaughan-Bassett Free Clinic, which provides free medical care for all employees and their families. 

Milo Ray Baughman Jr. (1923-2003) is widely recognized as a pioneer of mid-century modern furniture design. His unique and creative genius was combined with inventive engineering and manufacturing expertise. He formed Milo Baughman Design Inc. in 1947 and began to design furniture for Pacific Iron and Glenn of California, becoming identified with the burgeoning California Modern style. In 1953, he forged a collaboration with upholstery manufacturer Thayer Coggin Inc. that continues to thrive today, long after his death. Demand continues to grow for his original pieces of furniture while his classic modern designs have been reintroduced by Thayer Coggin and are sold by fine retailers and design showrooms. An award-winning designer, his iconic pieces have been selected for the Museum of Modern Art’s Good Design program and his work has been exhibited at many museums, including the Whitney Museum of Art in New York. Baughman founded and led the Department of Environmental Design at Brigham Young University and taught design at several prestigious universities. He was known for his kind and generous heart.

A. Leon Capel Jr., an innovator in the rug industry for nearly 60 years, led Capel Inc., America’s oldest rug manufacturer, until his retirement in 2005. With his brothers, the company founded by his father has grown from two to five factories and from $1 million to $55 million in sales worldwide. A leader in rug manufacturing, sales, design, display and marketing, Capel was for decades the only rug manufacturer with its own spinning mill, weaving division, dye house and sales force, as well as showrooms in 10 U.S. cities. Capel is known for devising unusual promotions to drive showroom attendance. He has served on the Governors Travel Council for Exports to Europe, the Far East and South America; the N.C. Dept. of Commerce for Domestic Exports; and advisory boards at the High Point, Dallas and Atlanta market centers. Active on numerous community boards, he has served on the Board of Trustees for the University of North Carolina, the N.C. Energy Policy Council, U.S. Carpet Golf Trade Assoc. and Save Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  

Hassell H. Franklin , chairman and CEO of Franklin Corp., launched a small, family-owned business in 1970, which now supplies American-made upholstered motion furniture worldwide while sustaining double-digit growth nearly every year. Among the largest privately owned U.S. furniture manufacturers with more than 1,300 employees, its 75-acre campus includes a metal stamping facility, foam fabrication plant, dimension mill, recliner plant, motion sofa plant, logistics company and fully equipped research and development operation. Franklin has received the AHFA Distinguished Service Award, the Upholstered Furniture Action Council Industry Service Award and was elected to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame. He has served as lead director of BancorpSouth and on boards including the Mississippi Economic Council, North Mississippi Health Services, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Publishing Co., Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, the Community Development Foundation, and Mississippi State’s Development and Athletic foundations. He established a $1 million endowment at Mississippi State University for the Franklin Furniture Institute, a research and training center benefitting the furniture industry.

Eugene Rosenberg , a founder of Bob’s Discount Furniture and Planned Furniture Promotions, and a partner in the revival of Boyles Furniture, has combined hard work and perseverance with his love for the furniture industry. In 1962, he co-founded Gene Rosenberg Associates, now called Planned Furniture Promotions, the country’s largest furniture promotion firm, which has assisted more than 6,000 retailers with high-impact sales that have enabled retailers to survive, reorganize or close without extensive debt. In 1991, he co-founded Bob’s Discount Furniture, growing the chain to the 15th largest furniture retailer in the country. Dedicated to assisting those in need, he founded Camp Rising Sun for children stricken with cancer and the Bob’s Discount Furniture Foundation, which benefits dozens of children’s charities as well as the Connecticut Children's Hospital, American Red Cross, The Jimmy Fund, The Chabad House, The Bess and Paul Siegal Hebrew Academy, Hartford Hospital, Solomon Schecter, Jewish Federation, and The Gene and Anja Rosenberg Rehabilitation Center at Hebrew Health Care and the City of Hope.

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