Three influential industry leaders will be inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame on Oct. 15 during High Point Market. Joining the current 131 members of the Hall of Fame are Alexander Peykar, co-founder and co-chairman of Nourison Home; the late Erie J. Sauder, founder and chairman of Sauder Woodworking; and Jeffrey Seaman, co-founder and CEO of Rooms To Go.
“This year’s inductees represent a broad spectrum of superior accomplishments and enduring excellence from across the industry, including manufacturing, retail, design and global sourcing,” says Karen McNeill, CEO and president of the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors. “They each have positively impacted the industry in a multitude of ways and provide exceptional role models for future leaders building their careers in home furnishings.”
A seven-member selection committee, composed of Hall of Fame Foundation board members and representatives from diverse segments of the industry, chose this year’s inductees based on their contributions to the growth and development of the home furnishings industry in America. The committee uses a points-based evaluation system grounded on four foundations: enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity, and philanthropic generosity.
“Our independent selection committee, which maintains the highest standards, is committed to thoughtfully and thoroughly researching candidates from across the entire home furnishings industry,” McNeill says. “All three of this year’s inductees have had a significant, far-reaching impact on our industry. They epitomize the innovation and enduring excellence worthy of our industry’s highest honor.”
The three new inductees are:
Nourison Home co-chairman and co-founder Alexander Peykar expanded the horizons of the rug industry by popularizing the idea that the floor could serve as a key element for artful expression in a room. A lover of art with a natural talent for design, Peykar pioneered wholesale programs, which offered hand-woven rugs from India, hand-knotted rugs from China, and later machine-made rugs. Trained as an engineer and armed with first-hand knowledge from his family’s carpet and rug business, he well understood the challenges of importing. Nourison was launched with his brothers, Edmond, Paul and Stephen Peykar, in 1980. The company based in Saddle Brook, N.J., now offers original designs and styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, for area rugs, broadloom carpet and custom rugs, pillows, throw blankets and other decorative accessories.
Ohio woodworker Erie J. Sauder launched the beginnings of a new segment of the furniture industry in 1953 when he received the first U.S. patent for a “knock-down” occasional table. Greatly reducing the size of boxes required to package and ship furniture led to the revolutionary wave of ready-to-assemble furnishings that could be delivered inexpensively to a consumers’ doorsteps via expanding home delivery services. Fueled by a strong demand for his new tables, Sauder Woodworking steadily grew its line, despite two devastating fires that nearly closed the company. Today, Sauder is based in Archbold, Ohio and is one of the country’s five largest furniture producers with dozens of collections of ready-to-assemble furniture for the home, including home entertainment, home office, bedroom, kitchen and storage products.
Jeffrey Seaman made decorating fast and easy, by offering fully coordinated rooms for consumers looking to save time and money. Founded in 1990 in Orlando, the privately held company quickly grew through creative store design, energetic advertising and heavy investments in technology to streamline distribution. Innovative product development has featured license-branded collections in collaboration with Cindy Crawford, Sofia Vergara, Eric Church, Drew and Jonathan Scott, and others. As the fifth-largest furniture retailer in the U.S., the chain includes Rooms to Go Kids and Teens, and Rooms to Go Patio. Rooms to Go also has invested in the web portal, Furniture.com, as well as upholstery and case goods manufacturing plants located in Mississippi and Mexico. The regional powerhouse has 152 stores in 10 states and franchise units in Puerto Rico.