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Fiesta Furnishings, Rotmans are NHFA Retailers of Year

Will be honored at gala during High Point Market

HIGH POINT — Fiesta Furnishings in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Rotmans in Worcester, Mass., are the National Home Furnishings Assn's Retailers of the Year for 2011.

 Claudia LeClairClaudia LeClair
 Steve RotmanSteve Rotman

Fiesta, led by Claudia LeClair, and Rotmans, led by Steve Rotman, will be honored during the High Point Market at an industry awards gala April 4, starting at 6 p.m. in the 11th floor ballroom of International Home Furnishings Center, Green Wing.

Recipients of NHFA's highest honor are selected for outstanding contributions to the home furnishings industry, exemplary service to the community and personal business achievements.

LeClair of Fiesta, the honoree in the category of stores with annual sales of $10 million or less, started doing business from her garage in 1988, importing accessories from Mexico and selling them to local stores and hotels. Within a year, she had rented a warehouse and began selling at trade shows around the country.

Fiesta Furnishings was established in 1995, when LeClair and husband Ralph Farrar decided to go into retail.

LeClair has served for seven years on the Western Home Furnishings Assn.'s board, most recently as 2010 president. She has been a member of an Impact Performance group and the Contemporary Design Group.

She also was one of eight retailers invited by Vanguard Furniture to attend a Summit Partnership Meeting to discuss innovative ideas for the industry and participated in a panel discussion during the American Home Furnishings Alliance's 2010 annual meeting.

"Claudia and her business serve the community through a variety of activities," NHFA said in a release, noting her involvement in a number of charities.

The family behind Rotmans, the honoree for annual sales of more than $10 million, has been in the furniture and carpet business since the mid-1950s. In 1964 Murray and Ida Rotman opened the retailer's present location in downtown Worcester. They were joined by son Steve in 1962, followed by sons Barry in 1966 and Bernie in 1980.

Murray Rotman, who was a nominee for the American Furniture Hall of Fame, died in 2004. Ida, now in her 90s, is still partially active in the business, which "continues to flourish with sons Barry, Steve and Bernie at the helm," NHFA said.

Over the years, Rotmans has expanded its operation and has become known as the largest single-store operation of its kind in the Northeast. The retailer recently opened a window treatment department, and can create room packages incorporating all of its product categories, including television and audio.

About two years ago Rotmans initiated a successful in-home free design service. This January, it added an Accessory Club, which enables the consumer to save 20% on accessories purchases.

Last year, the Rotman family set up Rotmans Employee Charitable Trust, a foundation to help employees financially while going through serious medical issues.

Rotmans received the Better Business Bureau Torch award for Central Massachusetts in 2010 and the New England Retailer of the Year Award last October from SCORE-Worcester. The NHFA said the retailer has a reputation for being family-oriented and honest, with outstanding customer service and involvement in community services and activities.

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