Members of the lighting industry dressed in their finest for the 23rd annual ARTS Awards.
The year 2011 was a rough one for everyone in the industry, which makes a night that celebrates the achievements of those whose businesses have stood out as the best in each region especially sweet. The ARTS Awards are co-sponsored by the Accessories Resource Team (ART), the Dallas Market Center (DMC), and several trade magazines.
In the Lighting Fixtures category, Corbett Lighting came away with the top honor once again. In accepting the award, David Littman, president of parent company Hudson Valley Lighting, said, “We work hard at design. Nothing makes us happier than seeing big smiles on our customers’ faces.” He credited Steve Nadell, president of the Troy-CSL division, with guiding Corbett’s design direction.
The Portable Lamps category was won, once more, by Currey & Company. Designer Tom Caldwell addressed the crowd, confiding, “I’m so proud to accept this award. It’s not just great-looking product, but [our success comes from] a lot of people behind the scenes.”
The winner of the International Retailer category, which was surprisingly comprised of all lighting-based retailers, was Spectro Lighting Group in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. “It is amazing to be here,” said company owner Luis Jose Jacabo. “We are privileged to express the magnitude of our gratitude.”
In fact, the ARTS Awards is known for embodying a sense of camaraderie and celebration of the industry as a whole. Greg Unthank, of the family-owned Valley Lighting Gallery in Arizona and the winner of the best lighting showroom in the West, began his acceptance speech by giving a shout out of appreciation to his competition. He also thanked his father, Donald, who founded the Valley Lighting Gallery. “He taught me the value of a handshake. I’d also like to thank my showroom team. I’m [thankful] to work with the best team in lighting. I’d also like to thank the people I do business with and my wife, who has taught me love and laughter.”
Brian Kleinberg was thrilled to have his family store win as best lighting showroom in the East/Atlantic. Located on Long Island, N.Y., Elements offers lighting and home furnishings and had first won this prestigious honor several years ago. In his acceptance speech, Brian credited his father, Abe, who founded a lighting import business in 1958 that has since evolved into lighting manufacturer Crystorama.
Alongside his mother, Joan, Brian created the retail venue that used to be called Lighting Center by Crystorama before its present incarnation as Elements. What makes the store particularly successful is that “We understand integrated home décor,” Brian explained.
In the Midwest/Southwest category for best lighting showroom, the envelope went to
Southern Lights in Minnesota. A previous winner of the ARTS Award, owner Craig Motz thanked the ARTS Awards judges, the DMC, and “my employees for all of their hard work in getting the ARTS Awards entry ready. Motz also thanked his reps for, “doing everything we’ve ever asked of them.” He also gave a shout out to manufacturer Paul Eusterbrock of Holtkötter International for his support and friendship as well as thanked his wife, Lisa, and son, Scott, who also work in the business.
Believe it or not the ARTS Awards process takes almost a full year. A panel of judges is selected in February, and the call for nominations runs from March through June. Ballots are made available online only and can be accessed through either the Accessories Resource Team Web site (www.accessoriesresourceteam.org) and the Dallas Market Center Web site (www.dallasmarketcenter.com).
The ARTS Awards is not a self-nominating program. Instead manufacturers, sales representatives, and other industry professionals nominate retailers. Similarly, retailers and other industry professionals nominate decorative accessory manufacturers, product designers, and sales representatives.
Nominees and finalists are not required to exhibit at the Dallas Market Center or belong to ART. Finalists are announced in August. Finalists’ entries are due shortly before judging takes place in November at the Dallas Market Center. The ARTS Awards gala is held each year during the January market in Dallas.