From Home Furnishing Business
Hall of Fame Inducts Todd Wanek
Each year, an anonymous, seven-member selection committee chooses three to five nominees for their contributions to the growth and development of the home furnishings industry in America. Committee voting is grounded on four foundations: enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity and philanthropic generosity.
“Success requires intensive innovation, continuous improvement and mentoring,” stated Wanek. “Throughout my 40 years in the business, I’ve learned a lot. Most importantly I gained expertise in all parts of the business and believe in the power of curiosity. I love working “on” the business and have always found my passion creating new products and understanding how to bring it to market through great manufacturing.”
Wanek moved to Asia in the late 80’s to develop a manufacturing base in Taiwan, China, Malaysia and Indonesia, which secured a blended strategy of domestic production and offshore sourcing needed to grow Ashley Furniture Industries into the world’s largest furniture manufacturer. Today, the company has over 30,000,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution space and 30,000 employees across the globe.
Additionally, Wanek spearheaded manufacturing expansion into upholstery, leather, motion, mattresses, outdoor and RTA furniture categories. The first Ashley HomeStore opened in 1997, growing into North America’s largest furniture retailer with eCommerce and more than 1,050 stores.
“I am deeply humbled to be represented in the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame. Tonight has been nothing short of the ultimate achievement; It has been a blessing and an honor to work in the furniture industry and I plan on continuing for many more years,” said Wanek.
Other 2020 inductees include Irv Blumkin, CEO of Nebraska Furniture Mart; the late Robert G. Culp III, co-founder, former chairman and CEO of Culp Inc.; Robert J. Maricich, chairman and CEO of International Market Centers; and Allan H. Palecek, chairman and founder of Palecek.