International Casual Furnishings Association members and guests gathered at the Georgia Aquarium for the dinner event, which also included announcement of the Sales Representative of the Year, the Unsung Hero Award recipient, and a new accolade: the Dudley K. Flanders Senior Leadership Award.
The annual ICFA Awards Gala was underwritten by ANDMORE (formerly International Market Centers), co-sponsor of Casual Market Atlanta at AmericasMart.
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 finalists through an online ballot.
Winner in the single-store category was Village Green Home & Garden of Rockford, IL. Finalists included Island Living & Patio, West Palm Beach, FL; O’Malia’s Living, Carmel, IN; Outdoor Elegance, La Verne, CA; Patios Plus, Rancho Mirage, CA; and Villa Terrazza, Sonoma, CA.
Winner in the multi-store category also was Gasper Home & Garden Showplace, based in Furlong, PA. Finalists in the multi-store category included Kolo Collection, Atlanta; Sunnyland Outdoor Living, Dallas; Today’s Patio, Scottsdale, AZ; and Viridien, Charlotte, NC.
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 2023 category winners are:
- Chaise Lounge: Brown Jordan’s Oliver Adjustable Chair designed by Ann Marie Vering;
- Complementary Casual Products/Accents: TUUCI’s Highland Garden Planter designed by Dougan Clarke;
- Complementary Casual Products/Furnishings: Bernhardt Exteriors’ Milos-Cyprus Table Group designed by the Bernhardt Exteriors design team;
- Dining/Bar Chair: Bernhardt Exteriors’ Rhodes Arm Chair designed by the Bernhardt Exteriors design team;
- Dining/Bar Table: Castelle’s Tulip Table with Faux Marble Top designed by Curtis Bulleman;
- Fabric: Glen Raven’s Strada Sky designed by Richard Frinier;
- Heating/Firepit: Ocean Rock USA’s Bianco White Carrara Marble Porcelain Fire Table designed by the Ocean Rock USA design team;
- Lounge Seating with Cushion: Foremost Home’s Ming Chair designed by Jim Sica;
- Lounge Seating without Cushion: Jensen Outdoor’s Trellis Lounge Chair designed by Edi and Paola Ciani; and,
- Shade: Sunvilla’s Powered Market Umbrella designed by the Sunville design team.
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 2023 award went to Bernhardt Exteriors for its Milos-Cyprus Table Group, (left), which also received the Lilly Award in the Outdoor Furniture category.
Sunvilla’s Powered Market Umbrella 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 2023 honoree is Kathy Juckett, CEO of Telescope Casual Furniture. Representing the fourth generation of the Telescope Casual family, Juckett arrived at the company intending to simply complete an independent study in the human resources office in order to complete the last few credits necessary for her graduation from Skidmore College. She ended up staying 44 years (and counting). Early in her tenure, she focused on developing a company culture committed to continuous improvement and lean manufacturing best practices. “My objective has always been to create a culture where change isn't scary but embraced as we strive for continuous improvement. By being a nimble manufacturing operation that maximizes opportunities and minimizes downsides, we can survive and thrive,” said Juckett. The winner of seven Manufacturer Leadership Awards since 2012 and three Manufacturer of the Year awards, the company now employs more than 320.
Manufacturer of the Year
Lloyd Flanders 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. This year’s finalists, all of whom received Manufacturer Leadership Awards, included Castelle, Ebel Inc., POLYWOOD 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 2023 winner, selected from six finalists and determined through online voting, was Charlie Smith of La Quinta, Calif., who represents O.W. Lee, Hanamint, TUUCI, Gloster and Quality Works.
Other finalists included John Balch, Nashville, Tenn.; Tim Baldwin, Richmond, Va.; Doug Becht, Geneva, Ill.; Joe Crandall, Marietta, Ga.; and Phil Fowler, Philadelphia.
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. In 2021 the award was renamed in honor of the inaugural 2020 recipient, the late Mia Nault of Ebel Inc. Ana Hartman of Treasure Garden was selected as the 2023 recipient. She was recognized for her overall professionalism, her special talent for defusing complicated situations, her skill in handling calls with a polite, friendly voice, and her competent actions to resolve situations.
Dudley K. Flanders Senior Leadership Award
The first recipient of the Dudley K. Flanders Senior Leadership Award is Jessica Salisbury of Village Green in Rockford, Ill. Salisbury stepped into the CEO’s role with the passing of founder, Larry Smith. She is active both in ICFA and in her company. Her integrity is top-notch, and her personal style is an excellent example of effective leadership.