Hall of Fame inducts three
Furniture Today Staff -- Furniture Today, November 18, 2011
HIGH POINT - Industry leaders Don Belgrad, Alex Bernhardt and Gordon Segal were inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame at a banquet ceremony during the High Point Market.
They join 85 members previously inducted into the hall, which honors individuals whose outstanding achievements have contributed to the continued growth and development of the U.S. furniture industry.
Kathy Ireland, CEO and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, hosted the sold-out banquet. Kurt Darrow, La-Z-Boy CEO and president of the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation, said this year's inductees were chosen using a revised process involving foundation members.
"We congratulate each new member for their enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity, and philanthropic generosity in their time, talents and resources," said Darrow.
Belgrad has worked for industry and philanthropic causes, spending his furniture career at Schnadig International Corp., which he built into the largest U.S. familyowned upholstery producer, according to the Hall of Fame. He pioneered a correlated approach to upholstery and other furniture, and established a Chinese subsidiary before orchestrating the sale of Schnadig to Markor International Furniture in 2009.
Bernhardt led Bernhardt Furniture Co. to become a design leader in residential and contract furniture. During his tenure, he quadrupled the size of the business founded by his grandfather in 1889, making it the largest high-end furniture company in the United States.
Segal built Crate and Barrel from one store in Chicago to a Top 100 company with more than 100 stores in the U.S. and abroad. He was among the first to buy directly from factories in Europe and introduced methods of visual and product merchandising, dubbed "the Crate and Barrel look."
Other nominees for this year's Hall of Fame included Donald H. Flanders Sr., whose career in case goods and casual furniture manufacturing included the founding of Flanders Mfg. and Lloyd/Flanders; John C. Portman Jr., who transformed the industry and the Atlanta skyline with his 7 million-square-foot AmericasMart and the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center; and the late Roy B. Unger, who played major roles at Sealy and Serta in a 50-year bedding career and was known as the "father of the modern bedding era."