CHICAGO – The International Casual Furnishings Assn. wrapped up its first virtual awards gala yesterday, handing out 10 awards during a 30-minute online presentation.
Traditionally, award winners are honored during an in-person awards gala during Casual Market Chicago, but because of the COVID-19-related cancellation of Casual Market Chicago, the ceremony moved online, with plans to more fully honor Lifetime Achievement award winner Gary McCray during the 20201 awards gala.
“We’re delighted that more than 300 guests have joined in to salute the best and brightest in the casual furnishings industry,” said Doug Sanicola, owner of Outdoor Elegance and chairman of the ICFA’s executive committee, in his opening speech.”There’s no question that one good outcome to the year is the increased interest in our category, and while the ICFA was forced to pause most of its activities for 2020, there are huge plans in place for 2021 and beyond.”
The Apollo Awards recognize retail excellence in the sales and marketing of outdoor furnishings. Finalists must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and commitment to customer service. Winners in two categories, single-store and multi-store, were selected from a group of 10 finalists through an online ballot.
Gasper Home & Garden of Richboro, Pa., was the winner in the single-store category. The Firehouse Casual Living Store, based in Charlotte, N.C., was the multi-store category winner.
Finalists in the single-store category included Outdoor Elegance, La Verne, Calif.; Patios Plus, Rancho Mirage, Calif.; Villa Terrazza Patio & Home, Sonoma, Calif.; and Village Green Home and Garden, Rockford, Ill.
Finalists in the multi-store category included Daylight Home, Lighting & Patio, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Kolo Collection, Atlanta, Ga.; Today’s Patio, Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Yard Art Patio & Fireplace, Coppell, Texas.
Design Excellence and Lillian B. Winchester Award
The Design Excellence competition recognizes products in 11 categories for their overall design, as well as their marketability, innovation, color, construction and imaginative use of materials. Eligible designs must have been introduced in the marketplace within the previous year and must be offered by companies exhibiting at Casual Market Chicago. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. co-sponsors the awards. The 2020 category winners included:
- Chaise Lounge: Pavilion Carlyle chaise – John Caldwell
- Complementary Casual Products – Accents: Elaine Smith Tavarua pillow – Elaine Smith Design Team
- Complimentary Casual Products – Furnishings: Summer Classics Brant coffee table – Summer Classics Design Team
- Dining Bar Chair: Summer Classics Havana 30-inch barstool – Summer Classics Design Team
- Dining Bar Table: Mamagreen Maxximus Extension dining table – Vincent Cantaert
- Fabric: Glen Raven’s Richard Frinier Collection for Sunbrella Tweeds – Richard Frinier
- Heating/Firepit: Plank & Hide Functional Top fire pit – Plank & Hide Design Team
- Lounge Seating with Cushion: Castelle by Tropitone Berkeley lounge chair – Castelle Design Team
- Lounge Seating without Cushion: Lloyd Flanders Reflections Padded lounge chair – Lloyd Flanders Design Team
- Rugs and Flooring: Treasure Garden Reflections – Ocean Blue – Treasure Garden Design Team
- Shade: Tuuci Northstar Mast – Dougan Clarke
The Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” Award, selected from among the 11 category winners, went to Mamagreen’s Maxximus Extension dining table, designed by Vincent Cantaert, which also received the Lilly Award in the Outdoor Accents category. Tuuci Northstar Mast, designed by Dougan Clarke, received the Lilly Award in the Outdoor Furniture category.
Unsung Hero Award
New to the awards roster this year was the Unsung Hero Award. Created to honor outstanding customer service representatives, the recognition pays tribute to manufacturers’ employees who serve as company liaisons for dealers and sales representatives. This year’s winner was Mia Nault, a member of the Ebel team, who received the award in memorium.
Manufacturer of the Year Award
OW Lee was named as Manufacturer of the Year — a tribute to the design and quality of its products, as well as outstanding merchandising, customer service, ethics, communications and trade relations. The 2020 finalists included Lloyd Flanders, Telescope Casual Furniture, Treasure Garden and Tropitone.
Sales Representative of the Year Award
This award recognizes an outstanding sales representative within the casual furnishing industry. Candidates were selected based on leadership, professionalism, exceptional service, communication skills, knowledge and product training expertise. The 2020 winner, selected from eight finalists and determined through online voting, was Dave Digirolamo of Dublin, Calif. Other finalists included Joe Crandall, Marietta, Ga.; Phil Fowler, Wilmington, Del.; Ed Joseph, Seattle; and Carmen Squadrito, Wake Forest, N.C.
“We’re so product to recognize the successes and best practices of each of our award winners,” said Patrick Troy of Tuuci, an ICFA executive committee member who closed the awards gala. “Even more impressive is the collective contributions that they and all of our ICFA members have made on the casual market.”