UPDATE: Icon Honors salutes industry luminaries
Home Accents Today Staff -- Home Accents Today, July 27, 2010
The first Icon Honors event was recently held in Atlanta, recognizing retailers, manufacturers and sales agencies for excellence in three categories: Innovation, Contribution and Achievement.
The awards were presented in front of a sold-out venue of 900 industry representatives. Jeffrey Portman, president and CEO of Americasmart, welcomed the assembled guests, acknowledging the support and contribution of his father, John Portman, chairman of Americasmart.
The event kicked off with a performance by Grammy Award-winning musician Michael McDonald.
It closed with a keynote speech from noted retailer Stew Leonard Jr., founder of the popular Stew Leonard's grocery chain in the Northeast. He espoused the importance of customer service in retail, and cited his well-known motto: "Rule 1: The customer is always right. Rule 2: If the customer is wrong, reread Rule 1."
James Douglas Glover, founder of Palmer Marketing, was honored posthumously with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Members of his family accepted the award on his behalf.
The 2010 Industry Stewardship Honor went to Peter Schauben, co-founder of rep firm Appelman-Schauben. He was recognized for his creation of Gift for Life, which to date has raised more than $4 million for AIDS research and education initiatives.
The Innovation Awards were presented to three independent retailers to recognize the use of technology for sales and marketing
Fitzsu, Los Angeles, owned by Su and Fitz Sazama, was honored for building their brand inviting 35 international designers to interpret the Playsam toy they carry in their stores.
Motif Modern Living, Austin, Texas, owned by Steven Lora, was recognized for creating a tech-based marketing campaign to reach customers in Monterrey, Mexico.
The Cordial Cricket, Chester, Va., owned by Elizabeth Howard, was honored for her use of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, to grow her sales 67% in 2009 despite the tough economy.
In the area of Contribution, honorees were recognized for their charitable efforts and their overall impact on the industry.
Jacqueline Cambata Designs, a porcelain tableware company based in Wheaton, Ill., was singled out because the owner designed a pair of dinnerware lines and donated 80% of her profits on those to civic projects. The company also provided $10,000 in microloans to poor countries in 2009.
Just Got 2 Have It!, a sales agency with a showroom at Americasmart, owned by Michelle Ruby and Barbara Knight, was recognized for its creative merchandising and special events that drive traffic and inspire retail customers.
Pendleton Woolen Mills, a sixth-generation textiles producer owned by the Bishop family, was honored for its ongoing support of the Native American community. The company has donated more than $1 million to the American Indian College Fund through the sale of certain blankets designed by Native American artists.
Two Achievement awards were presented, one for a retailer and one for a manufacturer. Winners were Carl Kirkland, co-founder of retailer Kirkland's, and Garry Kvistad, co-founder of Woodstock Percussion.
Kirkland received the Singular Achievement award because of his "consistent exemplary career achievements." The chain has 279 stores and is currently ranked No. 21 on the Home Accents Today Top 50 Home Accent Retailers list.
Kvistad, a Grammy award winner, parlayed his passion for music into a business that produces an extensive line of sound-perfected wind chimes.
The event also featured two Medal of Excellence honorees. The winners were the Museum of Modern Art Retail division, based in New York, and Anthropologie, based in Philadelphia.
MoMA was honored for its "good design as a standard for all merchandising decisions from product to selling environments to e-commerce. Anthropologie was recognized for its "ability to translate its design perspective from apparel to home, consistent with its customers' perspective." n