From Home Furnishing Business
IHFRA Names 3 Legacy Award Winners
These representatives have established relationships with retailers, manufacturers, and fellow sales representatives that have lasted throughout the years and display qualities that make them stand out to both manufacturers and dealers. Retailers, manufacturers, and fellow sales representatives cast ballots nominees by region.
Bob Bruns has been selected as the recipient of the Middle America Legacy Award.
Bruns is a veteran furniture industry executive with 43 years of experience. He has held various sales and management positions with Nebraska Furniture Mart, Bassett Bedding, Schweiger, Serta, Benchcraft, and Berkline. During this time he was a member of the Home Furnishing Representatives of Michigan and the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association. He spent 10 years on the IHFRA executive committee and 28 years on the Home Furnishings Representative Association of Michigan Board of Directors. Bruns was education chair for CHR from 1993 to 1996. He became president of IHFRA in 1997 and was awarded the Harold P Braun Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
In 2011, immediately after Berkline closed, Bruns started a sales and marketing company, BRCM Enterprises. The company was originally comprised of Bruns and 19 former Berkline sales representatives. He contracted two lines to be sold across the US. Both manufacturers were interested in entering the furniture channel. By the end of the year, BRCM had 26 sales representatives and had sales coverage in all 50 states. In 2013, Brns decided to dedicate all of his efforts to one of those companies and was named president of Cozzia USA. Cozzia has won the branded division Team of the Year the last three years from its parent company Xiamen Comfort, Science & Technology Group. This award is based on excellence in management, operations, and finance.
Bruns and his wife Romie currently reside in Novi, Mich., and Fort Myers, Fla.
The West Coast Legacy Award goes to Michael J. Burton. Burton has spent 40 years in the furniture industry. He is a member of the Home Furnishings Representatives Guild of Southern California and was presented the Dean of IHFRA Award from that Chapter in 2012. He entered the furniture industry in 1976 as vice president of sales and marketing with Parkview Furniture in Southern California, where he remained until 1993 when joined Leggett and Platt in Southern California. His skills and background in the industry helped many of the large and small manufacturers on the West Coast during his four years with Leggett and Platt.
As most representatives have done, Burton has carried several lines and has grown from his years on the road. Team Burton includes Burton’s oldest son Michael who grew up in the furniture industry. Two additional reps, Mark Cisneros and Gary London, round out the West Coast team. The team is aligned on the West Coast with Robert Michael Ltd., Uniters North America, Himolla/Euro Link, and Luonto.
Burton and his wife Liz live in Seal Beach, Calif.
Larry Lodish has been named Legacy Rep Award for the East Coast. Lodish marked his 50th year on the road as a sales representative this year. His furniture career began in 1966 when the Simmons Co. hired him as a sales representative. Lodish was a bedding and sofa bed representative in the Philadelphia territory for 10 years. Lodish then moved to the New York Metro area in 1978 working for Stanley Furniture and Thomasville Furniture. He also represented multiple furniture and accessory lines in the New York Metro area before becoming the New Jersey sales representative for the Lane Co.’s wood division. He was honored by the Lane Co. as salesman of the year in 1998, 1999, and 2000. From 2004 to 2010, Lodish worked exclusively for the Powell Co. The last five years, he has been representing several furniture and accessory companies, including lighting, rugs, and recliners as well as Guildmaster and Jasper Cabinet.
A member of the Greater Metropolitan Furniture Association, Lodish was honored in 2000 as salesman of the Year.
Larry and his wife Carole have lived in East Brunswick, N.J., for 30 years.
Additional information on The Furniture Industry Awards Gala will be be held April 18, at Grandover Resort and Conference Center. Additional information is available via e-mail or by phone at (336) 889-3920.