Heaven knows how many awards and honorary degrees Home Furnishings Association member Jake Jabs has accumulated in his lifetime. “Let’s just say a lot,” said Jabs, the president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse, with a chuckle.
But Sunday night’s tribute might have been the most memorable, he said. Jabs was inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame during High Point Market. Three other industry icons joined him: Clement “Clem” M. Lange, co-founder and chairman of Best Chairs, Inc., Best Home Furnishings; Paul Maitland-Smith, founder of Maitland-Smith Ltd. and Theodore Alexander; and Jim McIngvale, founder and owner of Gallery Furniture.
“This one’s special because it’s coming from my industry, my peers,” said Jabs. “That means a lot when you know it’s from people in the industry you respect.”
In 1975, Jabs bought the assets of Colorado’s American Furniture at a bankruptcy sale for $80,000 and turned it into one of the nation’s largest home furnishings businesses with 14 stores in Colorado, Arizona and Texas. Combined sales are more than $440 million annually, but Jabs insists his stores maintain a small-store feel with the service and attention they deliver to the customer.
Jabs said his mark on the industry was possible because of the country he lives in. “You look at what I did, what Ashley did, what Storis did – none of us could have had that kind of success in China, Cuba or North Korea. We did it because we worked hard and because of the country we live in. People talk about socialism and communism these days. You could never have this kind of success in those countries. Only in America.”