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Break Outs

Entrants range from veterans to first-timers

With eyes wide open, this year's Apollo nominees are driven to challenge themselves even as they tend to the daily nuts and bolts of running a retail business. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing ignored - whether it means changing up an advertising approach or even, as one nominees is doing, reinventing her entire business. Determined to succeed, these exceptional business people are extraordinary leaders of intention.

Finalists will be honored and winners announced at the Apollo Awards banquet at the Field Museum on Sept. 22, during the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago.

AuthenTeak, Atlanta

Gloster HavanaGloster Havana Curved Sofa and Havana Round Ottoman with Gloster Pacifi c Lounge Chairs, Castelle Armour Storage Chest – all positioned underneath a 16-ft. Bungalow by EZ-Up.
With three Apollo nominations in four years, AuthenTeak's co-owners Damon Fogel and Eric Brenner think they are pretty much on track.
     "We didn't do much different this year than last, other than making some minor modifications to our product mix," Brenner said.
     Perhaps the most notable difference from their customers' point of view was a lightening up of the showroom with fewer displays and more room to move around and enjoy them.
     "We used to fill it up, believing that every square foot needed to create revenue, but this year we didn't display things just for the sake of displaying them," said Brenner. "By eliminating a handful of sets, everything else was able to breathe better. And we've never gotten more compliments on the showroom that we did this year."
      AuthenTeak aggressively seeks the design trade and contract businesses, in addition to marketing its showroom and online sales. Although their marketing has been successful, Brenner and Fogel plan on making changes in the months to come to ensure that it is as well targeted as they can make it.
      "This spring we definitely saw a sense of consumer confidence that we really hadn't seen since 2008. It then seemed to disappear a little bit, so we want to do more," Brenner said.
      The business partners started AuthenTeak in 2004 as a weekend teak business and grew it into a full service outdoor furnishings business.
      "I think next year will be a bigger year of change for us," Brenner said.

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