Minnesota cultivates the cream of the crop when it comes to famous, A-list celebs known across the world. We can claim the bragging rights for late superstar Prince, there’s-no-place-like-home actress Judy Garland, singer-songwriter and Duluth native Bob Dylan, and more. They’ve risen above the cornfields, left the far too cold winters behind, and hopefully kept their Minnesota-nice natures as they made their mark in Hollywood. But when you look beyond the glitz and glam of Los Angeles fame, you’ll notice our state has another up-and-coming superstar. This time, from a different industry: interior design and home furnishing.
It’s Gregory Rich, the owner of home furnishing store Habitation Furnishing + Design, who recently earned the coveted, nation-wide “Emerging Star” award from the Home Furnishing Association at the Summer Las Vegas Market. Each year, one sole retailer across the continent manages to snag this prestigious title.
Home Furnishing Association (HFA), a California-based industry trade group, has evolved into North America’s largest organization that solely devotes itself to the needs and interests of home retailers. The association recently announced Rich’s award as part of their annual Retailer of the Year Awards, which only celebrate four retailers in the entire organization: one for annual sales of more than $1 million, one for annual sales of less than $1 million, the Trailblazer Award (given to an established business of at least 20 years), and finally, Rich’s award—the 2018 Emerging Star.
To be considered for the Emerging Star award, the retailer must be a relatively new business (3-5 years old) and prove to be a standout in pre-determined criteria across a series of categories: philanthropy, technology, sustainability, customer experience, mentoring, and store design/merchandise. The team at HFA took notice of the impact Rich and his team is making at their St. Louis Park storefront, and he was deemed to be a prime example of their preferred characteristics.
In itself, receiving this award is a tremendous honor worth recognizing. With 1,700 members and 7,000 storefronts, winning is no small feat. But when you have four 75-inch high-definition TV screens that allow in-house designers to show clients their incoming merchandise in actual scale, an impressive five-year, all-inclusive warranty, innovative advertising, and a strong emphasis on well-priced products? Well…we think it’s obvious why Habitation Furnishing + Design took the W.
The award will be presented to Rich at HFA’s Insights Experience, an event designed to boost retail customer experience, in Minneapolis on Sept. 14-15.