Recipients will be honored at the Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association's gala dinner & dance held on Saturday, December 1st, 2012.
Honorees (left to right): Mehmet Y. Bilici, Sunset International Trade, L.L.C.,
Irwin Friedman, Crest/ Value City Furniture, Rick Aaronson representing Klaussner.
The Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association’s (GMFA) announced that its Awards Dinner & Dance will be held on Saturday, December 1st, 2012 at The Palisadium, Cliffside Park, NJ, just 8 minutes from the George Washington Bridge.
Retailers, manufacturers, representatives and industry suppliers will gather for this annual event, a festive kick-off to the holiday season to honor three extraordinary honorees.
This year, the The Howard Liveright Award, given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in the home furnishings industry goes to Mehmet Y. Bilici. Mr. Bilici is the founder and managing partner of Sunset International Trade, L.L.C., an innovative furniture wholesale company located in Paterson, New Jersey. He is also the owner of Furniture Expo, one of New Jersey’s largest furniture showrooms and home to the entire Istikbal catalog.
Mr. Bilici established Sunset International in 2002, forming a partnership with Istikbal Furniture, the single largest furniture manufacturer in Turkey. Istikbal has a long and reputable history as supplier of home furnishings products delivered with excellent service. Today, only ten years later, Sunset International has found favor with over 2,000 independent retailers, including Top 100 chain-stores such as: El Dorado, Raymour & Flanigan, American Signature, American TV, and JCPenney.
The Jerry Gans Memorial Award will be presented to Irwin Friedman of New Jersey based retail powerhouse Crest/Value City Furniture. Friedman is a veteran retailer who joined Barney’s Furniture of Paterson and Newark, in 1958 as an entry-level salesman. He remained at Barney’s for 37 years, where he rose to the Principal Executive Position before joining Simon Kaplan, his wife Annett, colleague Larry Young and, until his passing last year, Simon’s Uncle, Sidney Rechtman at Crest/Value City Furniture’s, which grew from 43 to 370 employees during his tenure.
“If you think about all the positive things that the Jerry Gans Memorial Award stands for and the way my father lived,” remarked Andy Gans, a GMFA Board member and President of Gans Brothers, “Irwin is the perfect recipient. He is as dedicated, loyal and hard working as they get.”
Rick Aaronson will receive the Charles B. Costar Dean of IHFRA Award given to an individual who sets an example in the industry through their service and dedication to IHFRA and their local chapter. Rick is an active member of the Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association and was President of its predecessor organization MFA. He and his partners Tony Bellasosa and Chris Clarizio cover Metro New York, New Jersey, southern Connecticut and the Hudson Valley for Klaussner Furniture. He is an industry veteran who started his furniture career at Eclipse Sleep Products, served as regional sales manager for National Mattress Co. and was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Deville Furniture.
“This year,” noted Patrick Cory, Managing Partner of Cory First Home Delivery and President of the Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association, “we have three important honorees who exemplify the best the furniture business has to offer. They give freely of their time, energy and enthusiasm, year after year, to support our industry and charitable causes. Each is known for bringing extraordinary value to their customers, for creating jobs and supporting their colleagues.”
“This important event presents an opportunity for retailers, reps, manufacturers and suppliers to network with industry friends while enjoying great food, an open bar, music and dancing,” added Alan Granetz, Executive Director of GMFA. Once again we’ve taken great care to hold this event at an outstanding venue centrally located for members and guests just minutes from the George Washington Bridge.”
Reservations and Souvenir Journal: To get more information on attending this event, or to participate in a souvenir journal being prepared to honor Mehmet Bilici, Irwin Friedman and Rick Aaronson, contact Alan Granetz, Executive Director, MFA, (908) 725-3460, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About GMFA: The Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association is a not-for-profit organization designed to foster, promote and protect the interests of retailers, representatives, designers, manufacturers, and service related industries in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. An affiliate of the representatives’ association IHFRA, GMFA works to foster a spirit of mutual respect and esteem among members in the home furnishings industry, hosts networking and social events, educational seminars, valuable discounts and is a voice for industry interests on national, regional and local levels.
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