Business for the first time.
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario- A gala awards dinner was held recently to acknowledge the leaders in the Canadian furniture industry and to recognize their exceptional accomplishments. Joe Ramia, Gallery1 Furniture Centre President, was presented with the Retailer of the Year Award for 2010. This marks the first time that an Atlantic Canadian business has received this esteemed honour.
“Gallery1 Furniture is one of Canada’s largest and most exciting furniture retail destination stores and has built a strong brand that has a bold presence in the Atlantic marketplace”, said Laine Reynolds, who serves as Chair, Board of Directors for the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA). The Retailer of the Year Award is presented to a furniture retailer that has demonstrated an exemplary model of excellence and community service.
Gallery1 Furniture has the largest retail furniture showroom in Atlantic Canada and combines its buying power and experience with an innovative merchandising approach to create a unique shopping experience. “Gallery1 Furniture has (also) taken a creative approach to marketing and (is a) proponents of lifestyle advertising (which) helps set them apart from the competition.” said Larry Rogers, President and CEO of SEALY Corporation who also spoke at the event.
Mr. Reynolds was also quoted as saying “they have earned the Retailer of the Year honour through their many professional accomplishments and extensive community involvement.” The Ramia family is involved in several Halifax and Nova Scotia area charities and believe strongly in giving back to the community.
Amongst others, they continue to support the Queen Elizabeth Health Science Centre and the Cancer Research Foundation, the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and Phoenix Youth programs who serves youth who have experienced homelessness or those who are at-risk between the ages of 12 and 24.
Mr. Ramia thanked his “brothers and their families, without whom (he) would not be standing here tonight”. He also thanked his dedicated employees and supplier partners who provided the support to help get Gallery1 Furniture where it is today. In addition, he also reflected on his past as a part time furniture salesperson while attending high school. Amongst the important lessons discovered 37 years ago, he learned that “every customer deserves to be treated with respect”. To this day he still experiences exhilaration and pride in a job well done when helping friends find the furniture they want.
Mr. Ramia acquiesced that “it hasn’t always been easy. Our company has gone through ups and downs and survived through four recessions. We have seen many changes in the way business is done in the industry.” He acknowledged the home decor revolution and people’s desires to stay closer to home. Joe Ramia also acknowledged the obligation the furniture industry has to the growing environmental and global economic issues that are pervading our everyday lives. He said that “customers have placed new value on products that are manufactured closer to home. Never before in history has a consumer taken into consideration the environmental cost of shipping a product from another country as part of their purchasing decision.” He suggests that this attitude will likely grow in they ears to come. He welcomed the great opportunity that Gallery1 Furniture has, to continue to supply a new socially conscientious consumer with the quality goods they want, manufactured closer to home. Ramia affirms that these customers “need to be made aware that the product they are buying and bringing into their homes did not come at great cost to their world.” He went on to note that he looks forward to a bright future for the furniture industry.
Mr. Ramia summarized his acceptance with one final request to the hundreds of industry stakeholders in attendance, “It is my hope that we as retailers, suppliers and manufacturers can work together in partnership to recognize and take full advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to us by the challenges of this ever changing world. Thank you.”