• Cinde Ingram

Adopting a common cause

As I write this, the International Casual Furnishings Association’s huge board of directors is meeting for the first time in Las Vegas. This time, we’re hoping what happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas.

As an industry, we’re anxious to hear decisions were made and direction was set toward reaching the goal of a unified front. Remember, that was the mission SCFMA President Rory Rehmert described during the Apollo Awards dinner at last September’s Casual Furniture and Accessories Market. He said our industry is at a crossroad and asked, “What makes specialty casual furniture special?” Rory said we needed to know the answer to that question so we can prepare our businesses better for the future. Maybe you don’t recall. It wasn’t clear at the time what the new organization would really mean.

Did you see our eWeekly or visit our Web site lately? If you did, you may have noticed retailers were named to the board of what until now has been a manufacturer members-only group. And Rory is no longer with Meadowcraft, but has joined Pride Family Brands. Maybe you knew that. Maybe you are one of those retailers at today’s board meeting. Or maybe you were busy getting your store ready for the casual furniture selling season that is just beginning for most of the nation’s retailers.

In a late-breaking report, I’ve just heard the ICFA meeting went well with 27 of the 30 board members in attendance. Everyone appeared to have a clear understanding of the group’s purpose as they adopted a mission statement and an outline of member benefits.

Dudley Flanders, president of Lloyd/Flanders was named chairman of an executive committee made up of both manufacturers and retailers. Other executive committee members are retailers Carl Vice, current president of the Casual Furniture Retailers Association, and Petey Fleischut, immediate past president of CFR, along with seasoned vendors Dean Engelage, president of Woodard, and Bill Echols, president of Outdoor Experience and Tommy Bahama Outdoor.

Watch for more formal announcements over the next few months as an open meeting is planned for Chicago in July and the outdoor fabric fashion show will become part of the Apollo Awards event, which will be held on the Wednesday night of the Casual Market.

We’ll post electronic updates as the news develops. So if you visit www.casualliving.com, you can keep up with what’s ahead. And we’d like to know what you’re thinking about it, too. So send in your views and join in the planning.

feedback? Send your comments to:
Cinde W. Ingram
Casual Living Managing Editor
7025 Albert Pick Rd., Suite 200, Greensboro, N.C. 27409

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