Icon Honors to Recognize Excellence at AmericasMart
In addition to thousands of new products, Icon Honors: Celebrating Global Innovation is set to premiere this month at AmericasMart's Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and Atlanta International Area Rug Market.
The awards program celebrates extraordinary manufacturing, sales and retail achievement. Icon Honors will recognize innovation, contribution and achievement in the manufacturer, sales representative and retailer sectors across all home and gift categories and business lines.
The inaugural event is scheduled for Saturday, July 17, during the Atlanta market which runs July 14-20. Icon Honors awards will be presented in up to 27 categories, including Individual Career Accomplishment and Life Accomplishment. Retailer Stew Leonard Jr. will present the keynote speech. Five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald will perform at the event.
James Douglas Glover, the late owner of Palmer Marketing, has been named to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Gift for Life founder Peter Schauben will receive a special 2010 Industry Stewardship Award.
"The creation of Icon Honors forever changes the home and gift industry's definition of superior achievement in a business born of innovation and rich in entrepreneurial vision and energy," said Jeffrey L. Portman Sr., AmericasMart president and chief operating officer. "Icon Honors marks a new era in how we recognize and reward those whose passion and performance set the glide path to a future bright with promise. It affirms our continuing stewardship of the industries we serve and the work of those whom we most admire."
Icon Honors is the first international program to fully embrace the gift and home categories in an independent recognition of exemplary achievement across the industry triumvirate: product manufacturing, product sales-representative businesses and retailing, show organizers said.
The initiative aligns with GHTA's evolving mission and vision, said Doug Cofiell, GHTA president and president of the Ivystone Group. "GHTA has, from its inception, embraced gift and home as complementary entities with unmatched crossover potential. We champion that convergence and believe Icon Honors to be the one defining event designed to applaud landmark achievement on a global basis," he said.
A distinguished panel of judges drawn from the retail, fashion, design and education communities will review the field of submissions and determine awards.
The team of judges, comprised of individuals with more than 100 combined years of experience, includes four of the most respected and applauded names in the American design/retail arena:
Alexa Hampton, president and featured designer of Mark Hampton, the world-renowned design firm founded in 1976. Under her direction, the firm has completed a wide range of designs for domestic and international projects, including apartments, large residences, private airplanes and yachts. Her work has been featured in House Beautiful and Architectural Digest, and she has been recognized as one of "America's Best 100 Designers" in both magazines as well as New York Magazine.
Gloria Lang, adjunct assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology specializing and teaching within the Home Products Development department, leveraging her 40-year career and expertise in home fashions, product development and consultation to mentor and educate students from around the world.
Julian Tomchin, an industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience, has been influential and a major player in the home arena, working in textiles and retailing. He was on the forefront of several major home launches for companies such as Bloomingdales, Macy's West and Natori. He has also been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at universities and colleges around the world.
Connie Post, chief executive officer of Connie Post Global Media, has designed more than 19 million square feet of retail space around the world offering affordable design solutions. She is the author of "A Beautiful Room Will Change Your Life" and a frequent speaker at industry retail events and seminars.
The Icon 2010 judges will evaluate a large field of submissions vying for honors in three awards categories--innovation, contribution and achievement--with awards recognizing excellence in product design and packaging, technology applications, sustainability commitments and cause-product influence. Competition for the honors will be by individual submission in the Innovation and Contribution categories, and by independent nomination in the Achievement category.
Evaluated innovation includes technology applications to market share, product design, packaging design, sustainability and branding; contribution includes independent retail community trailblazer impact/influence, cause-product impact/influence, industry-building impact/influence, community betterment/improvement achievements; achievements includes top newcomer recognition, individual professional accomplishment, collective business accomplishment and life accomplishment.
Glover to Receive Life Achievement Icon
James Douglas Glover has been named the first Icon Honors Life Achievement award winner.
Glover, the late founder of Palmer Marketing, will be honored posthumously at the inaugural Icon Honors event.
As defined in the Icon Honors Charter, the Life Achievement Award "recognizes a single individual demonstrating distinguished advancement in an active career."
"More than any other individual, Jim Glover has shaped the complexion and destiny of the gift industry through a career rich in achievements and contributions touching the lives and livelihoods of retailers and product manufacturers everywhere," said George Kacic, vice president of Ganz, GHTA board chairman emeritus and Icon Honors founding partner. Glover was owner of Palmer Marketing, which he founded 25 years ago, and which has grown to become one of the U.S. gift industry's largest and most important product marketing and distribution organizations.
Glover was active in his company throughout its history until his untimely death at 54 on April 5.
Glover has been described as having "an unmatched zest for living, boundless energy and creativity."
"Those qualities mark a life well lived and a lifetime of creative contributions to the industry we celebrate and serve," said Jeffrey L. Portman Sr., president and chief operating officer of AmericasMart Atlanta. "To honor Jim Glover in this way is in fact an honor for us and an enduring testimony to all that he accomplished, and all that will be achieved through his legacy."
Stew Leonard Jr. to Present Keynote
Icon Honors has tapped Stew Leonard Jr., president and chief executive officer as the keynote presenter for the inaugural awards celebration.
Stew Leonard's is one of the most unique family-owned and operated businesses and listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having "the greatest sales per unit area of any single food store in the United States." Leonard will motivate and excite attending retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives with personal and company success stories.
Dubbed "The Disneyland of Dairy Stores" by The New York Times, Stew Leonard's highlights its specialty, locally produced farm-fresh foods, with exceptional customer service, in-store entertainment and costumed characters. Since 1969, Stew Leonard's has leveraged unique business strategies and innovative ideas to engage new and returning customers.
"Stew, along with more than 2,000 team members, has created a successful chain of stores, but more importantly, a brand that is internationally recognized," Portman said. "His accomplishments and story make him an ideal fit as keynote for the Icon Honors ceremony as he aligns with many of the companies that will be honored, and sets the bar for what many hope to achieve for their stores."
Schauben to Receive Industry Stewardship Award
Peter Schauben, who founded the industry organization Gift For Life in 1992 and who continues as its chief champion, will receive a special Industry Stewardship Award at the Icon Honors celebration.
Gift For Life is a partnership between the gift, home and stationery industries to raise funds in support of AIDS education and research. The organization has funded more than $4 million in AIDS research and education initiatives from inception.
"Peter's industry contributions are both Herculean and humble. He has given of himself tirelessly for many years, pressing toward the goal of doing greater good through his Gift For Life mission while building a significant business presence in his Appelman-Schauben enterprise. To acknowledge these achievements with the Icon 2010 Stewardship Award is a privilege and pleasure," Portman said.
Schauben's career spans almost four decades, beginning with retail entities in California and continuing with wholesale business ventures, culminating in the 1994 founding of Appelman-Schauben with partner Louise Appelman. The firm today occupies more than 20,000 square feet of AmericasMart Atlanta space housing 30 lines in two divisions.