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Six nominated for American Furniture Hall of Fame

HIGH POINT - Six industry leaders in manufacturing, retail and design are candidates for election this year into the American Furniture Hall of Fame.
     The nominees, who will be made Industry Fellows at the Oct. 20 Hall of Fame banquet here, are Aminy I. Audi, John D. Bassett III, Milo Ray Baughman Jr., A. Leon Capel Jr., Hassel H. Franklin and Eugene Rosenberg, the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation announced.
     "The home furnishings industry is comprised of highly diverse roles and products, which is represented in this year's slate of the leaders in our industry," said George Cart ledge III, president of the foundation. "Each person represents a lifelong career of exemplary achievement, leadership, innovation and generosity. Each nominee has earned the respect of his peers as well as the industry as a whole, and will be made an industry fellow."

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     Foundation members will vote between July 15 and Aug. 16 on which nominees will be inducted into the hall.
     New members will be announced and inducted into the Hall of Fame at the annual banquet Oct. 20 during the High Point Market.
     Officials said the candidates were selected from open nominations and by the Industry Fellows Selection Committee based on their contributions to the growth and development of the furniture industry in America with a focus on four standards: enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity, and philanthropic generosity.
     Here are summaries of the official Hall of Fame biographies of the nominees:
     ► Aminy I Audi, CEO and chairman of L. & J.G. Stickley, and her late husband, Alfred, purchased a struggling company with 25 employees in 1974 and were instrumental in a resurgence of the Arts & Crafts style. Today, Stickley employs more than 1,500 with three manufacturing plants, 14 company-owned stores and a network of retail dealers.

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     ► John D. Bassett III, chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co., is a champion of American-made furniture. He has led the company from sales of $38 million in 1983 to more than $90 million today, making Vaughan- Bassett one of the largest American wood bedroom manufacturers, importing less than 2% of total sales.
     ► Milo Ray Baughman Jr. is recognized as a pioneer of mid-century modern furniture design. In the 1940s, he became identified with the burgeoning California modern style. In 1953, he forged a collaboration with upholstery manufacturer Thayer Coggin that continues to thrive today, long after his death. He has won design awards and his pieces have been exhibited at a number of museums.
     ► A. Leon Capel Jr., an innovator in the rug industry for nearly 60 years, led Capel Inc., America's oldest rug manufacturer, until his retirement in 2005. With his brothers, he helped grow the company founded by his father from two to five factories and from $1 million to $55 million in sales worldwide. Known for his creativity, Leon Capel devised unusual promotions to drive showroom attendance.
     ► Hassell H. Franklin, chairman and CEO of Franklin Corp., launched a small, family-owned business in 1970, which now supplies American-made motion upholstery worldwide and has sustained double-digit growth nearly every year. Franklin established a $1 million endowment at Mississippi State University for the Franklin Furniture Institute, a research and training center benefitting the furniture industry.
     ► Eugene Rosenberg, a founder of Bob's Discount Furniture and Planned Furniture Promotions, and a partner in the revival of Boyles furniture, has combined hard work and perseverance with his love for the furniture industry. In 1962, he co-founded Gene Rosenberg Associates, now called Planned Furniture Promotions, the country's largest furniture sales promotion firm. In 1991, he co-founded Bob's Discount Furniture, growing the chain to the 15th largest furniture retailer in the U.S.
     For longer biographies, see this story on www.furnituretoday.com.

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