The International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) recognized manufacturing and retailing excellence, turned the spotlight on top product designs and honored the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at a gala awards celebration yesterday during Casual Market Chicago.
Some 680 ICFA members and guests joined the dinner event at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, which also included announcement of the Sales Representative of the Year and the Unsung Hero Award recipient. The annual ICFA Awards Gala is underwritten by theMART, co-sponsor of Casual Market Chicago.
The Apollo Awards recognize retail excellence in the sales and marketing of outdoor furnishings. Finalists must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and commitment to customer service. Winners in two categories, single-store and multi-store, were selected from a group of five regional finalists through an online ballot.
Winner in the single-store category was the Southeast finalist, American Casual Living of Suwanee, Ga. Winner in the multi-store category also was the Southeast finalist, Elegant Outdoor Living, based in Bonita Springs, Fla. Other finalists in the single-store category included Gasper Home and Garden Showplace, Richboro, Pa.
(Northeast); Daylight Home, Lighting and Patio, Paso Robles, Calif. (Northwest); Patio Productions, San Diego, Calif. (Southwest); and Village Green Home and Garden, Rockford, Ill. (Midwest). Finalists in the multi-store category included Rich’s for the Home, Lynnwood, Wash. (Northwest); Watson’s, Cincinnati (Midwest); Patio Place at Ski Haus, Salem, N.H. (Northeast); and Sunnyland Outdoor Living, Dallas (Southwest).
Design Excellence Awards
The Design Excellence competition recognizes products in 10 categories for their overall design, as well as their marketability, innovation, color, construction and imaginative use of materials. Eligible designs must have been introduced in the marketplace within the previous year. The 2022 category winners include:
- Chaise Lounge: Windward Design Group Water’s Edge Chaise, designed by Winward Design Group;
- Complementary Casual Products/Accents: TUUCI Ocean Master Mega Max, designed by Dougan Clarke;
- Complementary Casual Products/Furnishings: Ratana Roca Stool, designed by the Ratana design group;
- Dining Bar Chair: Castelle Furniture Berkley Sling, designed by Curtis Bulleman;
- Dining Bar Table: Hi Teak Cambria Rectangular Table, by the Hi Teak design team;
- Fabric: Outdura Correlation of Sherwood Taupe and Bark Taupe, designed by Mariia Elizrova;
- Heating/Firepit: Outdoor Greatroom Company Uptown Fire Table, designed by the Outdoor Greatroom Company design team;
- Lounge Seating with Cushion: Jensen Outdoor Tempo All-Weather Lounge Chair, designed by Edi and Paolo Ciani; Lounge Seating without Cushion: Alfresco Home Luc Lounge, designed by Sako Wijma; and,
- Rugs and Flooring: Trans-Ocean Import Company Orly Stripe in Natural, designed by Liora Manne.
Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” and “Lilly” Awards
The Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” award was selected from the 10 category winners listed above. The 2022 award went to Jensen Outdoor for the Tempo All-Weather Lounge Chair (left), which also received the Lilly Award in the Outdoor Furniture category.
TUUCI’s Ocean Master Mega Max received the “Lilly” award in the Outdoor Accents category.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award is reserved for individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the casual furniture industry and to their individual communities. The 2022 honoree is Rory Rehmert, Senior Vice President of Sales at Castelle Furniture Company. A casual furnishings industry veteran with more than 40 years of sales and marketing management experience, Rehmert held leadership positions at Winston Furniture, Meadowcraft Furniture and Pride Family Brands prior to its acquisition by Brown Jordan. Throughout his entire casual industry career, Rehmert has been a dedicated supporter and advocate of the ICFA and its predecessor, the Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association. He has held many board positions, including Chairman and President. As a leader, mentor and role model, Rehmert is known as a great friend to the casual furniture industry.
Manufacturer of the Year
Telescope Casual Furniture was named Manufacturer of the Year – a tribute to the design and quality of the company’s products, as well as its outstanding merchandising, customer service, ethics, communications and trade relations. The company has earned seven Manufacturer Leadership Awards since 2012 and three Manufacturer of the Year awards since 2019.
This year’s finalists, all of whom received Manufacturer Leadership Awards, included Castelle Furniture Company, Hanamint, Summer Classics and Treasure Garden.
Sales Representative of the Year
This award recognizes an outstanding sales representative within the casual furnishing industry. Candidates were selected based on leadership, professionalism, exceptional service, communication skills, knowledge and product training expertise. The 2022 winner, selected from five finalists and determined through online voting, was Courtney Randolph, who represents Treasure Garden, Shademaker, Jardinico USA, Ebel Inc., Homecrest Outdoor Living, HOUE and Pavilion through her Irvine, Calif.-based business, Coco Randolph Co. Other finalists included Doug Becht, Geneva, Ill.; Joe Crandall, Marietta, Ga.; Phil Fowler, Wilmington, Del.; and Rob Robinson, Birmingham, Ala.
Mia Nault Unsung Hero Award
This award was created to call attention to outstanding customer service representatives at manufacturing companies throughout the casual furnishings industry. Candidates are selected based on their ability to provide exceptional customer service, as well as outstanding communication skills, innovative problem-solving, professionalism and ability to inspire others as brand ambassadors. This year the award was renamed in honor of the inaugural 2020 recipient, the late Mia Nault of Ebel Inc. Christy Dase of Gensun was selected as the 2022 recipient.