A trailblazer is someone who moves ahead of everyone else to carve out a path and enter uncharted territory. In that case, it’s no wonder our judges decided that Howard Haimsohn, 3rd generation owner of Lawrance Furniture in San Diego, deserved the recognition and honor of the HFA 2023 Trailblazer Award.
He joined the family furniture business in 1976. Lawrance Furniture was built on a desire “to be first .” I’m not talking about first in sales volume or anything like that. Howard’s father, Ed, built a culture of being the first adopters of technologies and programs when they were yet to be on anyone’s radar.
They were fully computerized in 1971. Under Howard’s leadership, they were the first retail store in Southern California to utilize energy-efficient motion detection lighting. That was in 1981. Lawrance has had a comprehensive website since 1995. Think about those dates. They were fully computerized 52 years ago.
While Howard has carried on the desire for Lawrance Furniture to be first, make no mistake, he has another strong desire: a desire to serve. Howard held board positions with the Western Home Furnishings Association and the National Home Furnishings Association, two entities that came together to become today’s HFA. He is a founder and leader of the Contemporary Design Group, a networking and buying group in Lawrance’s contemporary furnishings category.
If you ask him, Howard says his most significant accomplishments are sustaining and growing an 84-year-old family furniture business with his wife and co-owner Julie and bringing his son Joel and daughter Bethany into that enterprise. That is one common thread among trailblazers who have won this award over the years, like Irv Blumkin, Jake Jabs, and many others. Not only do they carve out a unique path, but they also want to bring everyone else along with them. With leaders like this, the trail always leads to success.