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Cinde W. Ingram

Homage to Art

December 11, 2008

In the spirit of holiday cheer, Pacific Casual CEO Dale Boles asked me to pass along to the casual industry his thoughts on Art Thompson’s recent retirement from his long-time leadership role at Laneventure.

For those who are new to the industry, Boles’ experience includes serving as a past president and 30-year board member of the industry organization, now called the International Casual Furnishings Association. What follows is Dale’s message:

“As Art Thompson moves from the front lines to the more peaceful side of life and retires, one couldn’t help but to notice the impeccable timing of his recent personal decision to let it go and to move onward to the next chapter in life. Good call, Art!
I wanted to take the time to offer a warm and endearing commentary about Art Thompson, who spent a huge portion of his lifetime helping and contributing to the Casual Furniture Industry.
I could say I probably knew Art Thompson longer than almost anyone in a professional way, starting with his ‘Life in New York’ days and later on sharing his ‘Life in California’ time working for the JC Penney Company. Art was (and continues to be) brilliant, working his way through the ranks of a huge company and teaching others while learning from others at the same moment.
In business, Art always knew what to do and when to do it. With his wife Katie at his side, Art was an industry-wide ‘people lover,’ and there was never a customer who did not attract his attention to detail.
Throughout his career, Art showed daily how much he cared about his own team at Laneventure, with Mickey at his side and working from the largest home furnishings company in America. As the Laneventure customers will tell you, working with Art was a delight and he continued to find creative ways to try to bring each retailer success at retail, which is all that really matters in the end. ‘Retail is Detail’ — And Art was about as good at that as anybody. It continued to be his main focus.
I enjoyed every moment working with Art, starting from the beginning as his supplier during my 21 years at Mallin. As life moved on, I greatly enjoyed the wisdom he always shared as we became competitors through Casual Living Worldwide (1990), Vineyard (1993), Shae Designs (1990) and naturally through Brown Jordan when we acquired that fine company back in 1994.
Even as I founded Pacific Casual LLC (2002), Art continued to show support and encouragement. Through it all and like many others, Art knew the real truth despite all of the distractions. We can all say, “Art Thompson’s a true gentleman’s gentleman.”
To you Art, I would like to speak for every reader of this commentary: All the best in the days ahead! We miss you already!
Dale Boles