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From Home Furnishing Business

IHFRA Adds Rising Star Recognition to Awards

The International Home Furnishings Representatives Association will add a new category that honors individuals with less than five years experience in sales.

The Rising Star Award will debut at the 21st Annual Furniture Industry Awards Gala set for April 18 at Grandover Resort and Conference Center. Three individuals will be honored with the award.

Carter T. Burns is the recipient for the East Coast Rising Star Award. Burns currently represents Caracole, Saloom Casual Dining, and eBITS Solutions. His furniture career began with a temporary worker position during High Point Market, and his performance caught the eye of Lenwood Rich, vice president of sales with Caracole, who offered him a sales position with the company. Burns lives in Denton, N.C., and enjoys golf, fishing, baking and cooking, networking, and supporting High Point University athletics.

The West Coast Rising Star Award goes to Brian Nguyen, who began working in the furniture industry by opening a furniture store in the San Francisco area. He has worked with Ashley Furniture for the past four years as a stationary division marketing specialist in San Francisco, Oregon, and Log Angeles. Nguyen is married to Samantha Nguyen and has a son and another child on the way.

Anna Marie Alessi is the recipient of the Middle America Rising Star Award. A third-generation furniture representative, Alessi is a motion upholstery marketing specialist for Ashley Furniture in the Kansas territory. She is married to Scott Alessi and mother to 2-year old Victoria Grace.

Winners of the new award recognizes sales representatives who have been on the road five years or less. The individuals display qualities that make them stand out to manufacturers and dealers. Retailers, manufacturers, and fellow sales representatives cast ballots for the new category by region.

Information and gala registration will be posted online or additional information can be obtained via e-mail


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