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Clint Engel

Belfort Furniture, Lawrance Furniture are NHFA Retailers of Year

HIGH POINT — Belfort Furniture in Dulles, Va., and Lawrance Furniture in San Diego are the National Home Furnishings Assn.'s Retailers of the Year for 2012.

The awards presented annually, are NHFA's highest honor, recognizing outstanding contributions to the home furnishings industry, exemplary service to the community, and personal business achievements.

The awards will be presented during the spring High Point Market at an awards gala at 6 p.m. April 23 in the International Home Furnishings Center ballroom.

Belfort is being honored for retailers with annual sales volume under $10 million, and Lawrance for retailers with sales under $10 million.

Mike Huber and Kristi Huber founded Belfort, as it is known today, in 1987 with the opening of their first store in an industrial park. Within five years, the retailer employed 25 people. In 1992, the company opened a 35,000-square-foot Belfort Galleries in Dulles, Va., in one of the fastest growing counties in the United States.

Belfort Basics opened in 2003, followed by Belfort Mattress & Kids in 2004 and Belfort Interiors in 2005 and an 83,000-square-foot warehouse in 2006.

Mike Huber was elected to the NHFA board in 2012. He is an advisory board member at Middleburg Bank, a member of Loudoun County CEO Cabinet, an honorary board member of the Loudoun Education Foundation, and is recognized as a Top 100 Smart CEO by Washington, DC SmartCEO, and a Top 20 CEO by NOVA Executive.

Belfort has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable causes over the years, including City of Hope's Walk for Hope, Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter, Embry Rucker Shelter, the American Cancer Society, Avon Breast Cancer Walk and Doctors without Borders. It's also the corporate sponsor of the YMCA Loudoun County Charity Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $300,000 to send less fortunate children to camp.

Belfort was named 2008 Corporate Sponsor of the Year by the Loudoun County YMCA, and awarded the 2010 Corporate Partnership Award by the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.

Lawrance Furniture, led by Howard Haimsohn, was founded in San Diego as Modern Furniture Co. in 1937 by Haimsohn's grandfather Herman Haimsohn and a friend.

In the mid-1950s Haimshohn's father, Ed, took over the business and changed the merchandising strategy from a general furniture store to a modern specialty retailer. In 1976, Howard Haimsohn became the third generation of the family to work in the business and was named president in 1986.

Today, Haimsohn and his wife, Julie, manage Lawrance Furniture and have locations in San Diego and Encinitas, Calif., according to the NHFA release.

Howard Haimsohn has served on the boards of the Western Home Furnishings Assn. and the NHFA. He was elected NHFA president in 2002.

He and his father founded the Contemporary Design Group in 1983, and Howard Haimsohn currently serves as president of the retailer organization, which has 20 member companies across the country.

The Haimsohns and Lawrance are active in their community, supporting Rady's Children's Hospital, Congregation Beth Israel Hunger Project - providing 1,000 meals a year to the homeless and needy - City of Hope cancer research, Susan B. Komen for the Cure, Seacrest Village senior housing and healthcare, Helen Woodward Animal Center, and Center for Community Solutions for the prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.

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