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HFA Reports: Award Marketing

Furniture World Magazine


Leveraging the awards your company wins can impact the relationships you have with your customers, your community and suppliers. Here’s how BILTRITE and Old Brick Furniture made the most of theirs.

In the competitive landscape of today’s furniture industry, recognition and acclaim can significantly impact your store’s reputation, credibility, and success. When a furniture store wins an award (whether a local merchant award or the Home Furnishings Association’s Retailer of the Year Award), it is not merely an accolade. It’s an opportunity to leverage your achievements for maximum impact. Awards are powerful endorsements that validate your company’s commitment to excellence, innovation and customer satisfaction. Old Brick Furniture + Mattress and BILTRITE Furniture-Leather-Mattress did just that! These two retailers effectively leveraged the HFA 2023 Retailer of the Year Award to create a lasting and positive impact on their growth, brand reputation, employee morale, and overall success.

Enhancing Brand Reputation

Winning an award boosts your store’s brand reputation. It demonstrates to customers, furniture suppliers, service partners and investors that your store is operating at a high standard of excellence. Public relations initiatives that yield positive media coverage help to establish your store as a leader in the local community and furniture industry, building stakeholder loyalty and trust. Old Brick Furniture and BILTRITE Furniture incorporated the HFA award logo in their marketing materials, banners around their stores, websites, email signatures, promotions, delivery trucks and social media campaigns. Old Brick Furniture placed replicas of the physical award at their nine locations in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. BILTRITE Furniture conveyed its fourth-generation female-run brand story through media exposure in the Milwaukee area. The award presentation ceremony generated substantial media coverage, further enhancing their reputation.

“When a furniture store wins an award (whether a local merchant award or the Home Furnishings Association’s Retailer of the Year Award), it is not merely an accolade. It’s an opportunity to leverage your achievements.”

Competitive Advantage

Awards act as differentiators in a crowded furniture marketplace. They provide a competitive advantage by highlighting unique selling points and areas where a business excels. Potential customers are likelier to choose a company that receives recognition for outstanding products, services and practices over competitors who lack such credentials. BILTRITE Furniture’s sales staff wears “HFA Retailer of the Year” pins. They leverage the award during sales pitches and presentations to help underscore the store’s expertise and brand quality. Rachael Clark, customer experience and eCommerce manager at Old Brick Furniture, stated, “Winning the HFA Retailer of the Year Award has helped build brand awareness and credibility for our store and plays into the customer’s decision to purchase from us!”

2023 HFA Retailer of the year Award

Michael and Cassie Fiacco (pictured above) showing off with the 2023 HFA Retailer of the Year Award. Old Brick Furniture had replica awards created for display in each of their stores.

Building Employee Morale

Awards are not just external validations; they also profoundly impact internal stakeholders. Old Brick Furniture and BILTRITE Furniture mentioned that winning the HFA Retailer of the Year Award was a testament to their employees’ hard work and dedication. Clark noted, “During our award ceremony, we recognized team efforts at Old Brick Furniture and celebrated their achievements. Our owner, Michael Fiacco, is always first to acknowledge the contributions of our team by mentioning that it’s the team’s award!

“We used this time to give the team Old Brick swag and gift baskets, but now have a more formalized process to do that regularly, boosting employee morale and motivation. When we send out recognition newsletters, we frequently receive replies from our people saying they are proud to work here and can’t wait to see what we do next! Believing they provide valuable community service helps them stay engaged, motivated and invested in Old Brick’s overall success. A positive work environment is created as a by-product of morale, leading to increased productivity and employee retention rates.”

“As a woman owner, it can sometimes be a struggle to be given respect and credibility. However, award recognition has led to enhanced cooperation and collaboration.”

Attracting Top Talent

An award-winning company becomes an attractive prospect for potential employees seeking a reputable and rewarding work environment. The recognition shows that an organization values excellence and recognizes the efforts of its workforce. Randi Komisar-Schachter, the fourth-generation owner of BILTRITE, stated, “We know that what we did to leverage our award and burnish our brand image has helped us to attract top talent and led to a higher quality of applicants. It’s made the hiring process a little easier.”

Customer Relationships

Customers take pride in associating themselves with successful brands. BILTRITE Furniture continuously gives back to its community and expresses gratitude for community support. In March of this year, Mark Schumacher, HFA’s CEO, traveled to Milwaukee to present them with the 2023 HFA Retailer of the Year Award (under 50 employees). During BILTRITE’s awards ceremony, the company focused the spotlight back on the community it serves by announcing donations to two local charities. They also thanked customers for sharing their joy at being recognized by HFA.

Randi shared, “We recently produced a television commercial thanking our customers for their patronage, for voting us the ‘Best Place to Shop in Milwaukee’ and contributing to our recognition as HFA’s Retailer of the Year. It’s been a great year for us!”


BILTRITE Furniture presented donations to local charities (below) as part of their Retailer of the Year Awards celebration. Banners and other materials were featured prominently in their store.

Industry Relationships

Winning an industry award can also strengthen industry relationships, creating a ripple effect of positive outcomes. These opportunities can lead to new partnerships, joint ventures, and collaborations, further expanding the company’s reach and potential for growth. Michael Fiacco is a humble guy who likes to fly under the market’s radar. Still, when Old Brick Furniture won the 2023 HFA Retailer of the Year Award in January, he was continuously stopped and recognized wherever he went at the April High Point Market. “He’s also developed new partnerships and strategic alliances,” Rachael Clark added. “Additionally, I have also developed a stronger relationship with BILTRITE Furniture’s Randi Komisar-Schachter. Just the other day, I called her up to pick her brain. Being a woman, a peer and a fellow award recipient, I feel a kinship with her.”

Randi stated, “As a woman owner, it can sometimes be a struggle to be given respect and credibility. However, award recognition has led to enhanced cooperation and collaboration. After learning more about us, our vendors have developed a renewed appreciation of us as a good store and a great customer.”

When asked what advice they might give to another furniture retailer seeking industry or community award recognition, Rachael and Randi said that they would emphasize the value of authenticity. Rachael said, “It’s human nature to want to know who won an award before you, but comparing yourself to another person or entity is the thief of joy. Focusing on the moral foundation underlying your business and why you show up every day is more important. If you know yourself, your customers, your staff and have a vision for your business, stay true to that. Doing that will build your brand and your corporate culture It will set the stage for future success and recognition!”


Winning an award is a significant accomplishment for any furniture business and should not be considered a standalone achievement. Don’t be too shy to toot your own horn. It’s OK to be proud of your accomplishments and your team’s. By leveraging awards strategically, you can amplify the impact and reap long-term benefits for your brand, reputation, and bottom-line results. Embracing these opportunities with creativity and enthusiasm will enable you to make the most of your awards and stay ahead in today’s competitive marketplace.


About Retailer of the Year Awards
HFA is accepting nominations in October 2023 for the 2024 Retailer of the Year Awards in the following categories: Retailer of the Year (Over 50 employees); Retailer of the Year (Under 50 employees); Emerging Star Award; Trailblazer Award; Partner of the Year; and Manufacturer of the Year.

The Home Furnishings Association is proud to serve the industry with the latest education and information that impacts your business. Learn more about membership and resources at www.myhfa.org or by calling 800.422.3778.


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