• Bill McLoughlin

Furniture Today names 3 retailer awards, first Champion of the Industry

Tom LiasTom Lias, Gorman's Home Furnishings and Interior Design
ORLANDO, Fla. — Rooms To Go, Furniture Mall of Kansas and e-commerce innovator Houzz will all be on hand to receive Furniture Industry Leadership Awards at FT’s annual Leadership Conference, Nov. 28-30 at the Four Seasons Resort here.

In addition, for the first time Furniture Today will present a Champion of the Industry Award, which this year will recognize Gorman’s Home Furnishings and Interior Design President and CEO Tom Lias, for his career commitment to the furniture industry, his community and the highest ideals of servant leadership.

Furniture Industry Leadership Award honorees were selected in three categories based on nominations received from the industry earlier this year. Those categories include: brick-and-mortar retailer over $200 million in annual sales, brick-and-mortar retailer under $200 million in annual sales and an e-commerce specialist.

jeff seamanJeff Seaman, Rooms To Go
Ranked No. 5 on Furniture Today’s Top 100 list with more than $2.3 billion in annual sales, Rooms To Go is widely recognized as one of the industry leaders for its merchandising and marketing acumen, creating its own Sofia Vergara and Cindy Crawford Home celebrity lines, as well as taking the lead on other high-profile licenses, such as the Eric Church Highway to Home collection by Pulaski.

The retailer is also widely respected for its support of the communities in which it operates. This effort includes donating $2 million and more than 2,000 rooms of furniture the victims of hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In 2012, RTG CEO Jeff Seaman received one of industry’s highest philanthropic honors, the City of Hope’s Spirit of Life Award.

jeff winterJeff Winter, FMOK
jamie winterJamie Winter, Furniture Mall of Kansas
Family-owned Furniture Mall of Kansas, which can trace its roots to a lunch room, gas station and frozen homemade custard shop founded in Emporia, Kansas, in 1933, formally opened in its current form in 2013 after decades in operation as separate furniture stores.

The uniquely designed store was created to deliver a small-store feel and a big-store selection and combines five store brands under one roof: Discovery Furniture, RoomMakers, Marling's Furniture, Mattress Headquarters and Abbey Flooring Headquarters.

The company has taken a proactive approach to technology and is credited with developing some of the most innovative systems in the industry. In 2014, it opened a second location in Olathe, Kansas, demonstrating its ability to grow in a highly competitive market environment.

liza hausmanLiza Hausman, Houzz
This year’s e-commerce award winner, Houzz, is a content and commerce innovator, delivering a unique blend of practical how-to’s, educational and entertaining design and home improvement content, and the ability to connect consumers with everything from a design professional to a potential sofa purchase. This year Houzz took that one step further with the debut of My Houzz, a celebrity renovation program where stars such as Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Ludacris and Jenna Fishcher renovate their relative’s homes.

For the first Champion of the Industry Award Furniture Today selected Gorman’s president and CEO. Lias has spent his career in the furniture industry and has helped Gorman’s achieve substantial growth since joining the company in 1983.

“Tom is active in the community and is presently president of The Arc of Oakland County, a non-profit helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives,” said Bernie Moray, Gorman’s chairman. “He is considered by his peers and the industry as a top merchant and a true gentleman.”

Each of the awards will be presented on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Conference Awards dinner. For more information on the Conference or to register please visit: leadershipcon.com.

Bill McLoughlinBill McLoughlin | Chief Content Officer
BMcLoughlin@furnituretoday.com

I'm Bill McLoughlin Editor in Chief of Furniture/Today and Chief Content Officer of KidsToday. For over 25 years I've covered retail across more channels of distribution then I can count. My goal on these pages is to share ideas, insights, even random musings to help enhance children’s lifestyle merchandising, whether that is in the form of trend, product or lifestyle information; or simply a fresh take on our society.

Some of you will agree with me, others not. Either way I hope to spark a lively dialogue that can help move the industry forward in positive directions.

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