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IHFRA Announces Midwest Furniture Club Winner of Chapter of the Year Award

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The International Home Furnishings Representatives Association has named the Midwest Furniture Club the winner of the coveted Chapter of the Year Award. 

The Midwest Furniture Club previously received the Chapter of the Year award in 2008 and 2009. The Club continues to grow their membership and is now the largest Chapter of IHFRA.  The Midwest Furniture Club will receive this award at the IHFRA Presidential Gala and Awards Ceremony to be held at the Spring High Point Market on Friday April 1.

The jewel of the Midwest calendar continues to be the Midwest Furniture Show. The show was held in 2010 in Schaumburg IL and attracted over 750 customers and featured over 100 manufacturers. Michael More, the show coordinator for 2010, says “The secret of our success has always been that we all work together to make the show great. It gives our customers a chance to come and see new lines, meet with management and start planning events and sales for the all important fourth quarter. Most of our attendees cannot attend the larger markets, but we also see several Top 100 retailers during our show.”

Now in its 5th year, the annual Midwest Furniture Show returns to Schaumburg, headed this year by Geoff Weed, who has been President of the Midwest Furniture Club for the last two years. “We have some cool new ideas for this year’s show and we’ll continue to build on the success of the last four years. We moved the show up to June so customers and manufacturers don’t have a time crunch with Las Vegas and Tupelo.” The show runs June 29 and June 30 in Schaumburg.

The Midwest Furniture Club also credits their success last year with the implementation of their own website (www.midwestfurnitureclub.com). The website lists current members and their lines and is a great source of information for events and Club activities. Current Club President Ted Weisbach credits the web site with improved communication with the Club’s membership. “We can get our message out to our members quickly, hear back from them and provide our retail partners with the most up-to-date information for our manufacturing representatives. It’s been a game-changer for us.”

Mike Zierk spearheaded the annual Bill Krause Charity Golf Outing, which raised monies for Alternatives in Education for the Hearing Impaired and remembered one of our past members and past President Bill Krause. “The golf outing has continued to be a valued social outing for our community, “ says Mike, “and this year was particularly poignant as we were able to honor several stalwarts of the Midwest furniture community. We are looking forward to another great outing this summer.”

In March 2010, the Midwest Furniture Club hosted a seminar featuring business analysts and social media experts to help both retailers and manufacturers’ representatives grow their business and increase their productivity.  The seminar featured Peter Tourtellot, Managing Director of Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos (ABTV).  In September, 2009,  ABTV published a report entitled “The American furniture Industry: What Will It Take to Survive?” which caught the imagination of the furniture community as it chronicled the challenges and changes the industry has faced over the last decade. Mr. Tourtellot presented the findings of the report and discussed the state of the furniture business in 2010 with our members. After a business lunch, Leslie Carothers of The Kaleidoscope Partnership and a contributor to Furniture Today on-line, demonstrated how consumer’s information gathering and decision making has changed dramatically and permanently due the revolution in social media. Ms Carothers presentation used a real time demonstration of the applications that are changing the way we connect with our customers.

For more information about the IHFRA Presidential Gala and Awards Ceremony, contact the IHFRA Office at 336-889-3920 or e-mail ihfra@ihfra.org.

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