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American Furniture Hall Of Fame Foundation Inducts Three New Members.

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Top Left to Right: Gordon Segal, Alex Bernhardt & Donald Belgrad were inducted into the AFHF.
Bottom Left to Right:  Donald Flanders, John Portman and Roy Unger were named "Industry  Fellows".

Three industry leaders have been inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. Joining the current 85 Hall of Fame members are Donald A. Belgrad, former president and CEO of Schnadig International Corp.; George Alexander Bernhardt, chairman and CEO of Bernhardt Furniture Co.; and Gordon Segal, co-founder and former CEO of Crate and Barrel.  Roy Unger, John Portman and Donald Flanders were named "Industry Fellows".

The sold out international banquet was hosted by Kathy Ireland, CEO and chief designer of kathy ireland Worldwide, and attended by leading retailers, buying group members, interior designers, manufacturers, suppliers and other foundation members.  

“This election was the first year using our new selection process, which incorporated a vote by the membership with a points-based rating system of each nominee by the Foundation’s Industry Fellow Selection Committee,” says Kurt Darrow, president of the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation. “The nomination process also was more thorough, insuring that the Hall of Fame will always represent an elite field of industry leaders.  We congratulate each new member for their enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity, and philanthropic generosity in their time, talents and resources.”

Donald A. Belgrad (b. 1939) worked tirelessly for industry and philanthropic causes, spending his entire furniture career at Schnadig International Corp. where he built it into the largest U.S. family-owned upholstery producer. He pioneered the correlated approach to upholstery starting with occasional groups, and then moving to living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. Identifying the global manufacturing trend, he quickly established a Chinese subsidiary to ensure quality, production control and supply chain management before orchestrating the sale of Schnadig to Markor International Furniture in 2009.

George Alexander Bernhardt (b. 1943) led Bernhardt Furniture Co. to become an award-winning design leader in residential and contract furniture. During his tenure, he quadrupled the size of the business founded by his grandfather in 1889, making it the largest high-end furniture company in the United States. Bernhardt Furniture has won nine Pinnacle awards and 32 Best of Neocon awards. The company also was one of the first American manufacturers to import parts and later fully-made furniture from Asia.

Gordon Segal (b. 1938) built Crate and Barrel from one store in Chicago to an internationally renowned home furnishings business with more than 100 stores in the U.S. and abroad. With a focus on design and a reputation for flawless customer service and integrity, Segal was among the first to buy directly from factories in Europe. He introduced innovative and much emulated methods of visual and product merchandising, dubbed “the Crate and Barrel look”. For decades, Crate and Barrel has been among the nation’s top 20 furniture stores.   

Under the new selection system, the inductees were determined by the combination of a vote of the membership and a points-based rating system of each nominee by the Foundation’s Industry Fellow Selection Committee. The voting period began July 8 and ended August 5.

Platinum level sponsors are headlined by Ashley Furniture Industries, aspenhome, Furniture Brands International, La-Z-Boy, Inc., and Markor Companies.

Gold sponsors: AICO/Amini Innovations; Art Van Furniture; Berkshire Hathaway Furniture Companies, FEI Marketing, Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company; Leggett & Platt, Inc.; and Zenith Global Logistics.

Silver sponsors: Culp, Inc.; El Dorado Furniture Inc.; Flexsteel Industries, Inc.; Furnitureland South; Kingsdown, Inc.; Havertys Furniture Companies; Klaussner Home Furnishings; Raynour & Flannigan Furniture; Simmons Bedding Company; Stein World; and Vaughn Bassett Furniture, Inc.

Copper sponsors: Badcock Home Furniture & more; Bassett Furniture Industries; Carpenter Company; City Furniture;  Comfort Solutions; Grand Home Furnishings; Haynes Furniture, Inc.; Home Meridian International; Hooker Furniture Corporation; L. & J. G. Stickley; Restonic Mattress Corporation; RoomStore; Rooms To Go; Samson Marketing; Stoney Creek Furniture; Steinreich Communications LLC; Therapedic International; Watkins and Shepard Trucking, Inc.; Zuo Modern Contemporary, Inc.

The American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. is an international, industry-wide organization founded to honor those individuals whose outstanding achievements have contributed to the continued growth and development of the U.S. furniture industry, as well as to research, collect and preserve our cultural, economic and artistic history. Membership includes eligibility to vote for inductees into the American Furniture Hall of Fame, and the opportunity to help preserve the history and heritage of the industry.  The organization is based in High Point, North Carolina at 202 Neal Place, and can be reached at 336.882.5900.

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