The Home Furnishings Association
Retailer of the Year Awards
What are the Retailer of the Year Awards?
Nominated by the industry
Retailer of the Year - CITY Furniture
CITY Furniture, a South-Florida based, family-owned American furniture and mattress retailer and fine upholstery manufacturer and one of America’s Top 100 furniture retailers, operates over twenty-one showrooms from Miami through Vero Beach, and in Southwest and Central Florida, as well as fourteen Ashley Home Store showrooms as the brand’s Southeast and Southwest Florida licensee.
Retailer of the Year - Room to Room Furniture
Lisa Hawkins, a relative newcomer to furniture retailing, said that she and her team are humbled and overwhelmed to have been recognized as the HFA 2022 Retailer of the Year. “To be recognized by leaders in our industry is a high honor. At Room to Room, we are blessed to have an amazing team of people who enjoy working together to help individuals and families create homes they love. Being a relative newcomer to furniture retailing, I am grateful to the many mentors who have helped teach us best practices, especially the many Furniture 1st members. Thank you again for this wonderful honor.”
Room to Room Furniture is a 100,000 square-foot family-operated furniture warehouse and design
gallery located in Tupelo, Mississippi. It features a unique collection of home furnishings, accessories,
rugs, and art at affordable prices. Room to Room offers free design consultations as well as completely
customizable furniture pieces to help you create the home of your dreams.
HFA Emerging Star - Eric Beiter
“I am honored to be The HFA Emerging Star of the Year. When I started working in our warehouse as a teenager, I never pictured this being my career. As I became more involved in the business and realized just how important what we are doing is to our community, I knew I was in the right place. I cannot thank my father and grandfather enough for allowing me to find my own path within the business and for all the support they have given me because without them none of this would be possible.”
Family locally owned and operated since 1966, Beiter’s has been meeting the needs of the North
Central Pennsylvania for Furniture, Mattresses, and Appliances. We strive to be the place where
generations of customers come to fill every room in their home. We pride ourselves on the family
environment we’ve created for our employees, customers, and the communities in which we reside.
HFA Trailblazer Award - Irv Blumkin
The HFA Trailblazer Award recognizes lifetime achievement in the retail furniture business.
“I am humbled, honored, and grateful to receive the HFA 2022 Trailblazer of the Year Award,” commented Irv Blumkin upon hearing the news. “The home furnishings industry has been so rewarding for me and our company, and this award is one of the highlights of my career. Thank you for the tremendous recognition and honor, it belongs to our entire team at NFM.”
Nebraska Furniture Mart was founded by Rose Blumkin in 1937 in the basement of her husband’s pawn shop in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1983, investor Warren Buffett purchased a majority interest in NFM and made it part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Today, NFM is one of the nation’s largest home furnishings retailers, selling furniture, flooring, appliances, and electronics. NFM currently has locations in Omaha, Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City, Kansas and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
HFA Partner of the Year - Podium
Podium exists to help local businesses thrive, so they can focus on what matters most: their customers. Today, more than 100,000 local businesses are powered by Podium, helping to facilitate millions of customer interactions and payment transactions. From customer-generated reviews, to more seamless communication offerings and contactless payment tools, Podium is modernizing the way local businesses operate and grow their businesses. Podium is headquartered in Lehi, Utah, and was founded in 2014.
Retailer of the Year - Interiors Home
Retailer of the Year - PerLora
Emerging Star - Sydney Harris, Furnitureland South
Trailbazer - Dave Koehler, Johnny Janosik
Partner of the Year - Synchrony
Retailer of the Year - Brakenridge Furniture Co.
Retailer of the Year - Howell Furniture
Emerging Star - Joe Bright, Dunk & Bright Furniture
Trailbazer - Greg Crowley, Crowley Furniture & Mattress
Last Year's Winners
Retailer of the Year - Interiors Home
Interiors Home was founded in 1969 by Lillian Lehman to meet Lancaster’s need for high-quality, fashionable home furnishings and building strong, personal relationships within the community.
Lehman notes that monitoring their reputation and all aspects of the customer experience is the hallmark of success for Interiors Home. As the pandemic evolved, Interiors Home immediately expanded online sales, remote work, virtual meetings, and virtual design consultations.
“Encouraging community involvement and uniting the team behind a common purpose makes a positive difference for all, both professionally and personally,” Lehman says. Community initiatives Interiors Home is incredibly proud of are their efforts for The American Red Cross TOTES OF HOPE Program for Homeless and At-Risk Veterans, support for their local food bank, and even offering customers free gift certificates to local restaurants to aid the culinary community during these tough economic times.
Retailer of the Year - PerLora
PerLora is a medium to high-end furniture and design store founded by Perry and Lora Sigesmund. Both Perry and Lora grew up in the furniture industry. Each of their families founded and operated a furniture store for over 25 years. After recognizing the void in the Pittsburgh market for Contemporary Furniture, they purchased and renovated an old industrial building in Pittsburgh’s South Side and opened it in June 1994.
In 1999, PerLora opened an all-leather showroom, PerLora Leather, and in 2015 opened PerLora Loft, which caters to a younger audience. Across all three stores, PerLora stays true to its mission and offers a unique customer-centric experience.
During this past year, PerLora restructured their advertising mix, created a category for in-stock merchandise on their website, implemented sales training with Sales Rx at PerLora Leather, and purchased more for immediate delivery.
“Being flexible enough to pivot with the times brought us increased sales in 2020 and two times the website traffic that we had in 2019,” said Lora Sigesmund. “And over-communicating with our customers about supply chain delays has made a huge difference to maintain a positive customer journey.”
Since day one, PerLora has always given back to the community. Through the support of numerous charities, other local businesses and non-profit organizations, their local food bank, and dedicating space in their store to highlight female and minority-owned accessory companies, PerLora understands the importance of social responsibility.
HFA Emerging Star - Sydney Harris
“The unique difference Sydney has made at Furnitureland South in a short amount of time deserves this recognition, for sure,” stated Mark Schumacher, CEO of the Home Furnishings Association. “Her quick rise within her organization is no small feat. And it’s that kind of future leader that truly invigorates our retailing community. We eagerly look forward to watching her career and the innovative positive force she will be for the industry.”
Furnitureland South, the World’s Largest Furniture Store, began in 1969. The company’s founders, Darrell and Stella Harris, Sydney’s grandparents, wanted to bring the latest trends from the High Point Furniture Market to the end consumer.
Starting at Furnitureland South in 2018 as a Sales and Design Consultant, Sydney’s skills as a leader were quickly recognized, and at the end of her first year, she became the Sales Education Team Trainer. As a sales trainer, she oversaw the development and implementation of proprietary sales software, specifically an order entry system and a customer relationship management system.
Sydney served as a Co-Chair of the WithIt (Women in the Home Furnishings Industry Today) 2020 Leadership Conference and was instrumental in establishing a Women’s Leadership Circle at Furnitureland South, committed to supporting and empowering all women of Furnitureland South.
HFA Trailblazer Award - Dave Koehler
“This is no surprise to anyone. We have long admired Dave’s contributions to the home furnishings industry,” said Mark Schumacher, CEO of the Home Furnishings Association. “His experience and accomplishments have truly impacted our industry and the organizations he’s served over the years. To merely recognize his dedication is an understatement when you look at a career filled with exemplary leadership, innovative strategies, mentorship, and always encouraging those around him to challenge the status quo to do better, not only for the business but for the community.”
Twenty years with Havertys Furniture in various management positions, building teams, and increasing performance earned Koehler an unprecedented level of respect from seasoned professionals. While serving as Assistant Vice President of Operations for Havertys, he was selected as a “Top Forty” under forty.
Taking over as CEO at Johnny Janosik in 2007, Koehler took the company from $36M after the 2008 economic downturn to $62M in 2019, positioning the company as a ‘Top 100 Retailer’, currently at number eighty-six on the list.
Now serving as chairman, Koehler diligently worked to overcome the challenges of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, helping Johnny Janosik reinvent their customer experience through socially responsible strategies. The constant focus on meeting the needs for improved customer experiences is always at the forefront.