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Unfinished Furniture Association Celebrates 15 Years of Growth

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Fifteen years ago, on August 8, 1990, delegates from four regional associations met in Chicago to form the Unfinished Furniture Association (UFA). Their vision was to organize a national association that could support the growth of the unfinished furniture industry through education and awareness. Fifteen years later, that association is a well- established fixture in the furniture community, one that has retained the principles that led to its creation. Today the Unfinished Furniture Association has become the driving force in educating the consumer about the benefits of purchasing real wood, unfinished furniture. “UFA was founded with the sole purpose of educating both consumers and members about the choices and value of ready to finish, solid wood furniture, plus the promotion products, services, and growth of the industry,” said founding member Bernie Norieka. “The unique make up of its all-inclusive membership was an important part of its success. Retailers, manufacturers, and sales reps work together to promote this segment of the furniture industry.” The association has experienced rapid growth, due to the success of its annual trade show, award-winning trade publication, UnfinishedBUSINESS, and expanding list of membership benefits. Some of UFA’s innovative programs include industry surveys, production of a video catalog and radio commercials, and development of consumer brochures that explain the benefits of unfinished furniture. The most groundbreaking year was 2002 when UFA embarked on its most important program, Real Wood Furniture Finished Your Way®, an extensive consumer brand awareness campaign. The benefits and qualities of unfinished furniture are promoted through this nationwide certification program. “From its humble beginnings to its pinnacle, I have participated and watched this association’s development,” notes Norieka. “UFA provides its membership with a network to share information, and an arena to develop their retail and manufacturing businesses. My hope is the association never loses focus on education, remains flexible, and adapts to changes occurring in the market place today. Anyone earning their living through unfinished furniture must remember that an association can only remain strong and continue to grow if it has support, cooperation and most importantly participation.” UFA is an international trade association of more than 650 retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives in the United Sates, Canada and Bahamas whose mission is to actively support the growth of the unfinished furniture industry and association membership through education and awareness. For more information on the 2005 Unfinished Furniture Association National Convention & Trade Show, contact the UFA office at 15000 Commerce Parkway, Suite C, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054; phone: 800-487-8321; fax: 856-439-0525; or visit www.unfinishedfurniture.org

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