By Vicky Jarrett
HIGH POINT — The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame has named this year’s class of inductees to join the current 116 members on Oct. 20 during the High Point Market.
This year’s honorees are Jake Jabs, president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse in Englewood, Colo.; Clement “Clem” M. Lange, co-founder and chairman of Best Chairs, Inc./Best Home Furnishings; Paul Maitland-Smith, founder of Maitland-Smith Ltd. and Theodore Alexander; and Jim McIngvale, founder and owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston.
“This year’s inductees represent the best of the best in our industry as a result of the work done by a dedicated selection committee,” said David Gebhart, president of the foundation board of directors. “The inductees’ contributions are impressive, and each has put their own mark on the industry and is worthy of receiving the industry’s most prestigious honor.”
The seven-member selection committee, composed of Hall of Fame Foundation board members and representatives from diverse segments of the industry, chose inductees using a points-based evaluation system grounded on four foundations: enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity, and philanthropic generosity. Ken Fulp, CPA, with the foundation’s accounting firm Sharrard McGee & Co., verified the results.
“Clem” Lange built the domestic upholstery manufacturing company on the principal to create the best quality product at the most affordable price and to do it more efficiently than the competition. A technology leader, Lange computerized manufacturing operations in the 1970s. In the 1990s, a new high-tech computer system and the launch of Best Chair Transit further shorten deliveries of its products.
Jake Jabs is an entrepreneur who pioneered the big box home furnishings store. A Top 100 retailer and one of the largest privately held companies in Colorado, he believes in competitive pricing and created his own coast-to-coast trucking fleet. He focuses on hiring veterans, offers widespread incentive pay to employees and spends a full day with each new hire to instill his passion for honesty, providing value and fully informing each customer with detailed product information.
Paul Maitland-Smith is a master of creating high-end designs for case goods, upholstery and decorative accents. A trailblazer in establishing plants in the Philippines, Hong Kong, India and Vietnam, he is a rare combination of designer, manufacturer and entrepreneur who has worked side by side with artisans. As a prolific designer, he would routinely introduce hundreds of products at a market in an eclectic array of reproductions and original designs.
Jim McIngvale, also a Top 100 retailer, is known for delighting customers with a fun-filled shopping experience that includes a monkey habitat, a tropical bird aviary and a 30,000-gallon aquarium. “Mattress Mack” introduced same-day deliveries to his customers, building his business based on quality home furnishings, great value and exceptional customer service. As a result, he has a reputation for selling more furniture per square foot at his three stores than other independent retailers. McIngvale has created loyal customers through his ongoing support of the community, which in turn has globally raised the profile of the entire industry.
The four honorees will be inducted at the 2019 Fuel the Future Induction Celebration, which will be held at the Sheraton Greensboro Four Season. Captain Sully Sullenberger will keynote the event.
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