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Casual industry names 2007 Lifetime Achievement honorees

Lyon, Galbreath to be honored

William H. Lyon and Catherine A. Galbreath will receive 2007 Lifetime Achievement Awards, the Casual Furniture Retailers Association and the Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association announced.

CFR and SCFMA developed the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the casual furniture industry and to their communities. Lyon and Galbreath will be honored at the 48th Annual Apollo Awards Banquet on Sept. 20 during the International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market in Chicago.  

Lyon began his work in the casual furniture industry 52 years ago as the sales office manager at Woodard in Owosso, Mich. By 1959 he was helping the company launch Carolina Forge in Salisbury, N.C., writing the first order and hiring the sales force. After Woodward was purchased in 1968 by the Wicks Corp., Lyon embarked on the second phase of his career, founding Lyon-Shaw with Larry Shaw.

“The business expanded rapidly, most of the time faster than we could produce it,” Lyon said. “Many times we arrived at the Chicago market totally sold out for the coming season.”

Successful times continued for Lyon-Shaw, and in 1987 the company was sold to Meadowcraft, where Lyon continued working for another three years. In 1990, he started the third phase of his industry career by compiling a group of independent representatives to sell fine outdoor furnishings. With his wife Margie as full partner, the company represents Kingsley-Bate, O.W. Lee, Cane & Reed, Cast Classics, Pride Family Brands and others.  

Galbreath is the owner of ABSCO Fireplace & Patio in Birmingham, Ala. She joined the company in 1971 to help her husband John and soon became an integral part of the operation. On a whim she added outdoor furniture to the store’s product lineup in the mid 1970s. The move helped propel the company into expansion. 

Now ABSCO has three retail locations, and Galbreath’s son and daughter, John Jr. and Cathy, have joined the management team, while her husband has retired.

Galbreath joined CFR soon after its inception and served on its board for six years. Her children have followed her footsteps by becoming active in industry associations. 

“She taught us that involvement in our respective industries is one of the keys to success,” her daughter Cathy Galbreath said.

In addition to her industry involvement, Galbreath is dedicated to supporting the Shriners’ 22 orthopaedic and burn hospitals for children. She has taken part in annual auctions and various other fund-raising events over the last four decades.

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