AHFA Hall of Fame Foundation Names
Five New Members
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Five industry leaders will be inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame on October 23 during the High Point Market. Joining the current 103 Hall of Fame members are John Bray, chairman and CEO of Vanguard Furniture; Robert B. Currey, founder of Storehouse Inc. and Curry & Company; Art DeFehr, chairman of Palliser Furniture Upholstery; Richard Frinier, award-winning designer and principal and creative director of the Richard Frinier Design Studio; and Robert Ching Wo, chairman of C.S. Wo & Sons.
“This list of respected individuals that we announce today clearly demonstrates how carefully the Selection Committee approaches their responsibility to diligently search across all segments of our industry for those individuals who most deserve to receive the industry’s highest honor,” said Michael Amini, president of the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors. “The seven committee members are dedicated to investing dozens of hours to thoroughly vet our leaders and pioneers to identify the most deserving inductees.
“The entire American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Board of Directors joins me in say that we would like to be the first to sincerely congratulate the new honorees and wish them continued success,” Amini said.
Inductees are chosen based on their contributions to the growth and development of the home furnishings industry in America, by a seven-member selection committee consisting of three Hall of Fame Foundation board members and four representatives from various segments of the industry. The decision-making process includes individually appraising each person through a points-based evaluation for the four foundations of induction: enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity, and philanthropic generosity. The results are tabulated by CPA Ken Fulp with the Hall of Fame Foundation’s accounting firm, Sharrard McGee & Company.
This year marks only the second time that the inductees are announced prior to the Induction Celebration, which is moving to the Sheraton Greensboro Four Seasons to accommodate more guests for the industry’s most prestigious celebration. The evening will be highly inspirational and entertaining, reflecting the power of the Hall of Fame, our industry’s premier organization of leaders.
The five new inductees and their achievements are:
Richard Frinier has spent more than 35 years designing award-winning furniture, textiles, lighting and accessories for residential, contract and hospitality environments, with a vision to bring the quality of indoor living outside and the casual spirit of the outdoors inside.
A former chief creative officer of Brown Jordan, his creative consultancy, the Richard Frinier Design Studio, was founded in 2002 with his wife and partner, Catherine. He has licensed his exclusive and co-branded designs to lifestyle and legacy brands and manufacturers, including Glen Raven/Sunbrella, Brown Jordan, Century Furniture, and Dedon, creating thousands of product designs across hundreds of collections, which represent more than $1 billion in sales worldwide.
He has received more than 90 awards for design excellence and his career achievements, including the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Casual Furnishings Association, and a Stars of Design Award from the Pacific Design Center. In 2015, Interior Design magazine named his Orbit XXL for Dedon as one of the best designs of the decade in the outdoor furniture category. Frinier’s sculptural designs have been specified for some of the world’s most discriminating spaces, including the Vatican, royal palaces, luxurious resorts and spas, and private residences.
John Bray, chairman and CEO of Vanguard Furniture, joined the company during its early formation and today oversees the highly regarded manufacturer and marketer of case goods and upholstery, selling to dealers and designers globally. The Hickory, North Carolina-based Vanguard employs more than 575 associates in seven manufacturing facilities in Hickory and Hillsville, Virginia, and in a 40,000 sq. ft. High Point showroom. Regarded as a visionary and a leader, Mr. Bray helped establish the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy, a program that teaches furniture manufacturing skills to qualified candidates and provides an ongoing source of capable and trained employees for furniture manufacturers.
Robert B. Currey is the founder of Storehouse Inc., and the founder and chairman of Currey & Company, a leading lighting, home accents and accessories resource. An innovative merchant, he is a prolific designer and creator. In 1969, he founded the Atlanta-based furniture retailer Storehouse Inc., an early leader in well-designed, well-priced contemporary home furnishings. Storehouse introduced many of today's best-known international manufacturers to the United States. When Storehouse opened its Lenox Square location in Atlanta in 1978, it was one of the first home furnishings stores in the South to offer housewares, hardware, textiles and lighting. He later founded Garden Source Furnishings, now Currey & Company, a resource for lighting, interior and outdoor home accent furnishings and accessories that take their inspiration from nature and natural materials.
Art DeFehr, chairman of Palliser Furniture Upholstery Ltd., has built his family’s furniture manufacturing business into a leading North American manufacturer offering a wide choice of custom options for upholstered and motion furniture – and one of Canada’s most successful manufacturers. Palliser employs more than 2,000 people, in Canada, Mexico and Indonesia. In High Point, the company built and owns the 360,000 sq. ft. showroom building, 220 Elm. Under DeFehr’s leadership, Palliser has earned a reputation for innovation, and the company’s premium brand of upholstery received the 2015 Pinnacle award from the American Society of Furniture Designers.
Robert Ching Wo, chairman of C.S. Wo & Sons, transformed a family general store in Honolulu into the largest furniture retailer in the state of Hawaii, ranked among Furniture Today’s Top 100 Furniture Retailers. During the 1949 port strike, the retailer began manufacturing its own products in Hawaii and positioned C.S. Wo as one of the first vertically integrated companies in the home furnishings industry. By introducing multiple store brands across a range of price points, C.S. Wo & Sons has achieved a statewide market share that exceeds 50 percent.