Pros to know
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, March 1, 2008
As another casual furniture selling season begins, Casual Living is updating and revamping its editorial advisory board. We are adding manufacturers to our panel of experts in an ongoing effort to help keep you informed of the latest industry trends.
Our editorial and design team is working hard to make sure Casual Living is as informative and reader-friendly as possible. In the next few months, you will see changes in our layout to allow for larger photos, significant features and news analysis, while other written content will be found only online.
Some of these changes are being made in response to suggestions from readers who shared their wish lists as part of an online poll last year. Given the growing Internet climate, we’re also driving more traffic toward our interactive Web site. Many of you already visit us as www.casualliving.com regularly to stay informed about industry news throughout the week or keep up with what our bloggers write, but if you haven’t you may want to see what you’ve been missing. And if you have ideas for the magazine or questions for our panel of experts, please feel free to e-mail us or visit us online. We’re always happy to provide you with resources and information to help your business prosper.
Bruce Aronson is managing director of the Pool & Patio Center in Metairie, La., which offers mid-priced to high-end lines in 14,000-square-feet of selling space. His father opened the business in 1952 by building in-ground pools in the heart of New Orleans. More than 50 years later, Bruce’s casual furniture retail store survived damages inflicted by Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt to serve the community of survivors. A long-time member of the Casual Furniture Retailers Association, Bruce is currently vice president of CFR and writes retail blogs each week for Casual Living’s Web site, www.casualliving.com.
Mary Fruehauf is president and co-owner of Fruehauf’s Patio & Garden Center, Inc. in Boulder, Colo., a destination store founded in 1977. Fruehauf’s was named third-place winner of the Apollo Award, single store in 2007, and also had been nominated in 2006. The store won a Casual Living Merchandising Award in 2005 for Best Store Front, single store. An active member of CFR, Fruehauf is secretary of its executive board and also serves on additional specialty committees this year.
Karen Galindo is vice president and secretary of The Greenhouse Mall, which her parents Matt and Muriel Wiggers founded in 1977 as a greenhouse dealer. She worked for the family company part time through college, but took another career path briefly before returning with a devotion to the casual furniture industry. Karen and her husband Paul took over management of the retailer in 1994 and led its move toward the high-end and design trade. Currently, she is treasurer of CFR and a board member of ICFA. Greenhouse Mall has been nominated several times for an Apollo Award, which it won in 2002. After a second store was added in San Antonio, Greenhouse Mall won Casual Living’s top Merchandising Award as Most Fashionable Retailer 2006. It won again in 2007 for Best Outdoor Display, multistore.
David Ghiz is senior vice president of the retail division of Paddock Pools, Patios & Spas, an outdoor living specialist with 11 locations in Arizona and four in Nevada. His father George Ghiz opened one of Arizona’s first pool construction companies after moving his family to the Phoenix area in the 1950s, then saw opportunity in supplying chemicals. In the early 1960s, patio furniture was added. Shoppers can find spas, grills, accessories and Christmas products as well as service that keeps them returning for more. Paddock won the Apollo Award, multistore in 2000. Today, Paddock operates backyard superstores where second- and third-generation customers can design their own pools and completely furnish their outdoor areas. Paddock stores in Scottsdale and Arrowhead, Ariz. won Casual Living Merchandising Awards in 2003 for Best Outdoor Display, and in 2002 and 2001 for Best Store Front, multistore.
Harold Hudson is vice president of sales and marketing for Summer Classics, an upscale and style-driven manufacturer of cast aluminum, woven and wood outdoor furniture and lamps. The company’s stores also are repeat winners of Casual Living’s Merchandising Awards with the Raleigh, N.C., San Antonio, Texas and its original Pelham, Ala. stores winning for Best Overall Merchandising in 2007. The Raleigh store was awarded for Best Outdoor Display, multistore in 2006 and 2005, and for Best Overall Merchandising in 2003.
Involved in the outdoor furniture industry since 1981, Jim Levine opened his own Porch and Patio store in 1985 in Florida. For the past two years, Levine has worked as the casual furniture buyer for Robb & Stucky Patio, which has grown to 16 high-end indoor/outdoor stores in Florida, Texas, Arizona and Nevada. The specialty retailer recently opened its first Las Vegas location, which like the earlier stores is simple, elegant and features complete collections fully accessorized. More locations are planned, Levine said.
Henry Vanderminden IV
President of Granville, N.Y.-based Telescope Casual, Henry Vanderminden IV is a past president of the Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association and a member of the new ICFA board. The family-owned manufacturer marked its 100th anniversary year in 2003 and continues to develop new styles to blend imported parts into its domestic production, especially within wicker and cast aluminum categories.
Carl Vice is general manager and owner of Casual Living & Patio Center, with two stores each in Lexington and Louisville, Ky. His parents, W.C. and Betty Vice, started the retail business in March 1966, and Carl has worked in some aspect since he was 14. A long-time member of CFR, he is the current president and also is a member of the new ICFA board and executive committee.
Georgia Backyard, American Backyard
Dean Luckino is president and CEO of Georgia Backyard and American Backyard, a casual furniture, spa and hearth specialist with nine stores in Atlanta, Dallas and Jacksonville, Fla. An Apollo Award winner in 2006 and 1997, the retailer has been nominated more than 10 times. Georgia Backyard won the top awards as Most Fashionable Retailer and for Best Overall Merchandising, multistore in Casual Living’s first Merchandising Awards in 2001. American Backyard won our award for Best Overall Merchandising, multistore in 2006. Luckino’s stores also are recognized within the industry for their outstanding sales training programs. He has been an active member of CFR and served as president when the industry Lifetime Achievement Awards began.
Although managing Palm Springs Rattan & Garden Classics, Tami Newton says she always thinks like a retailer. She learned that by working with her parents, Jerry and Linda Newton, in their Leader’s Casual Furniture stores. The Newtons sourced for their growing chain of casual furniture stores before opening the wholesale division in 1998.