ICON Honors winners announced

ATLANTA — The ICON Honors were held Thursday evening at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

The awards are designed to honor achievement, contribution and innovation in the gift and home furnishings industries, recognizing manufacturers, retailers, sales reps and service providers.

Grammy-winning musician Peter Frampton entertained the crowd, and former CNN anchorwoman Lynne Russell helped to emcee the event alongside Americasmart President and COO Jeffrey L. Portman Sr.

The ICON Honors are sponsored by Americasmart Atlanta, along with its partners the Gift & Home Trade Association and Progressive Business Media, parent company to Home Accents Today and Gifts and Decorative Accessories.

The list of winners is followed by brief profiles of all the finalists and winners.

Last night's winners were:
Lifetime Achievement
Donald J. Hall Jr., Hallmark Cards

Americasmart Medal of Excellence Honor
Century Furniture, Hickory, N.C.

For Innovative Technology Applications
Whereoware, Herndon, Va.

For Innovative Product Design
Blue Ocean Traders, Louisville, Ky.

Jura Capresso, Closter, N.J.

Rolf Glass, Mount Pleasant, Pa.

For Community Contribution and Influence
Bridgewater Candle Company, Spartanburg, S.C.

Urban Ava Boutique, Tipp City, Ohio

For Industry Contribution and Influence
French Laundry Home, High Point, N.C.

Groovystuff, Dallas

For Individual Career Accomplishment
Robert Currey, Currey & Company, Atlanta

GHTA Medal of Excellence

Lori's Gifts


Lifetime Achievement
Donald J. Hall Jr., Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, Mo.

The 2013 Lifetime Achievement Honor celebrates Donald J. Hall Jr., president and chief executive officer of Hallmark Cards, and his continuing contributions and leadership within the Hallmark family of companies. The honor additionally marks the Hallmark brand's iconic stature as an American enterprise of global reach and influence.

Founded in 1910 by Hall's grandfather from Nebraska with a couple of shoeboxes of postcards, Hallmark has been a family-owned business ever since. The company now employs 12,000 and offers products in 39,000 retail outlets in the United States, as well as 100 countries around the world.

Hall assumed his current role in 2002 and also serves as vice chairman of the board. He joined the company in 1971, working in multiple areas - manufacturing, product development, sales and creative among them - before being named executive vice president of strategy and development in preparation for taking over the company's top position.

"Don Hall Jr. and the Hallmark brand he leads are the very essence of American enterprise and ingenuity," said Jeffrey L. Portman Sr., president and chief operating officer of Americasmart "Over more than 100 years of innovation, Hallmark and the Hall family have helped to shape how our culture expresses itself across the great range of human emotion. Hallmark's contributions are inextricably linked to our lives."

Americasmart Medal of Excellence Honor
Century Furniture, Hickory, N.C.

The ICON 2013 Americasmart Medal of Excellence Honor marks and celebrates Century Furniture's long-standing role as a leading force in the American home furnishings design universe, maintaining levels of workmanship, craft and quality that are rare in the industry today.

Century Furniture, from its 1947 founding, has pursued one goal: To be the best furniture company in the world, providing finely crafted luxury furniture with impeccable design and quality and legendary service to its customers. Now a third-generation family-owned company, Century is located in Hickory, N.C., with more than 900 employees. Each Century employee owns a stake in the company. The commitment and dedication of its employees is evident in every piece of furniture Century creates.

Century's environmental policy is inseparable from its corporate philosophy. Its socially responsible culture embraces all its stakeholders, from employees to business partners and customers through responsible design, conservation, and recycling. The vast majority of Century products are manufactured in Hickory from predominantly domestic materials.

For Innovative Technology Applications

Snap Retail, Pittsburgh
Snap Retail's ready-to-use marketing technologies employ significant product enhancements, including online marketing content creation for its subscribing retailers.

WINNER: Whereoware, Herndon, Va.
Whereoware's extensive email campaign designed for Creative Co-Op Closeouts aims to move excess inventory in more profitable ways through a personalized approach to engage independent retailers.

For Innovative Product Design
WINNER: Blue Ocean Traders, Louisville, Ky.

From its inception, Blue Ocean Traders has championed vintage and reclaimed product in its mission to offer the home furnishings industry's largest variety of such merchandise.

WINNER: Jura Capresso, Closter, N.J.
With its Coffee à la Carte and ENA Micro 9 One Touch products, Jura Capresso embraces the popular single-cup phenomenon and brings to market the world's smallest one-touch automatic cappuccino machine in an authentic bean-to-cup experience.

Kuhn Rikon, Novato, Calif.
Kuhn Rikon's PushPan and Kochblume Spill Stopper introduce two housewares design innovations: The first baking pan to combine a 100% leak-proof design with easy release and bake-and-serve convenience, and a pot-insert spill-stop control to prevent stovetop boil-overs.

WINNER: Rolf Glass, Mount Pleasant, Pa.
Rolf Glass's inspired, eco-friendly Glacier Glass line gives used wine bottles new life in innovative and evocative glassware creations.

Tronk, Cincinnati
Tronk's Franklin Shelf introduces a full 90-degree corner shelf with a unique design allowing for maximum storage and space utilization.

For Innovative Product Packaging

Metal Boutique, Baxley, Ga.
With Metal Boutique's monogrammed plaques, housewares and decorative objects, the product and its packaging become one in a full line of personalized indoor/outdoor décor.

For Community Contribution and Influence

Bountiful, Easton, Md.
Home furnishing retailer Bountiful sustains a "neighbor-helping-neighbor" tradition with in-store events profiling the important work of local nonprofits to engage customers and the community at large.

WINNER: Bridgewater Candle Company, Spartanburg, S.C.
Through its Light a Candle, Feed a Child mission, Bridgewater Candle Company sustains an ongoing program in which a donation is made for every jar candle sold, to date totaling more than 2.6 million meals provided for orphaned children around the world.

WINNER: Urban Ava Boutique, Tipp City, Ohio
With Fashion Saves Lives, fashion and accessories retailer Urban Ava Boutique creates high-profile fundraising events of widespread reach and community impact with big results.

For Industry Contribution and Influence

Coton Colors, Tallahassee, Fla.
Attached to a Cause, Coton Colors' national annual giving program, ensures that 100% of net profits from the sale of components of its Happy Everything Collection benefits a selected charitable organization.

ECGC Distributors, Charles Town, W.Va.
The national alliance of leading independent garden centers ECGC and its Don E. Riddle Leadership program delivers mentoring and educational support to nurture the next generation of owners and senior management in green industry retailing and manufacturing.

WINNER: French Laundry Home, High Point, N.C.
Home furnishings manufacturer French Laundry Home's mission to design and produce merchandise within its North Carolina community creates local employment and economic impact while helping to lead a resurgence of U.S. textile and furniture manufacturing.

WINNER: Groovystuff, Dallas
Groovystuff's not-for-profit University Hall of Innovation & Job Creation represents a breakthrough approach to the nurturing of home furnishings design talent in partnership with leading U.S. colleges and universities.

For Individual Career Accomplishment

WINNER: Robert Currey, Currey & Company, Atlanta
Home furnishings industry veteran Robert Currey's career encompasses a long line of notable achievements, from the creation of his highly successful Storehouse home furnishings stores to today's Currey & Company lighting and home furnishings brand.

Mary Ella Gabler Bitzer, Peacock Alley, Dallas
Mary Ella Gabler Bitzer, starting with a chic boudoir pillow created on her home sewing machine, has built the Peacock Alley brand she founded 40 years ago into a multi-million-dollar global business.

WINNER: Mary Moore, The Cook's Warehouse, Atlanta
As founder and CEO of Atlanta's The Cook's Warehouse, Mary Moore has expressed her passion for cooking in a highly successful business with legions of customers and widespread acclaim within the culinary industry.

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