Rick and Pat Howard, owners of Sklar Furnishings were presented the 2018 Retailer of the Year Award by the Home Furnishings Association (HFA) at HFA’s Insights Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Before an audience of their industry peers, Rick and Pat Howard, owners of Sklar Furnishings were presented the 2018 Retailer of the Year Award by the Home Furnishings Association (HFA) at HFA’s Insights Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. HFA is the largest retail home furnishings association in North America with more than 1,400 members operating more than 7,000 stores in all 50 states and Canada.
Celebrated for exhibiting “exceptional examples of philanthropy, technology, customer experience, mentoring, sustainability and store design/merchandising”, and nominated by members of the home furnishings industry, HFA’s annual Retailer of the Year award winners are selected by a panel of judges comprised of members of the Association’s board of directors, HFA members, manufacturers, service providers/suppliers and members of the industry media.
The HFA recognized the Howards’ strategic vision for their “16-year-old contemporary lifestyle branded store that is the culmination of a life-long passion for design, interior architecture and furniture”. From day one, Sklar Furnishing’s hallmark customization philosophy, distinctive design and customer service, advocacy for sustainability and philanthropy together serve as its blended business compass.
As an industry leader committed to “Your Space, Your Lifestyle, Your Choice,” Sklar works with selected innovative high-end, quality furniture, accessory and lighting suppliers to offer customers maximum freedom in expressing their own style. A team of credentialed home and commercial designers and space planners and their clients themselves can literally design sofas, dining tables, chairs, wall units and lighting plans by choosing the colors, finishes, fabrics, size and configurations to fit their requirements.
The ASID Design Excellence Award-winning independent contemporary/modern furniture destination and website reflect Sklar Furnishings core values, design philosophies and leading relevancy in today’s marketplace. Sklar’s ever-changing approach to its great open-space showroom and design center and its robust website has always been to excite, stimulate and inspire clients and designers alike.
“We are so honored with this coveted industry recognition and thank the Home Furnishings Association, our impassioned Sklar team, all our creative and dedicated industry partners, our supportive community in which we live, work and play, and of course, our valued customers,” said Rick Howard, co-founder and president.
Co-founder and Vice President Pat Howard shared, “From the start, we set out to create a brand and business that reflects who we are as people, and our mission statement encompasses our core beliefs. We created a place where events happen, where charity resonates, where local people are employed and where we can proudly say that every day we are making a difference in the lives of our staff and the community. In our minds, this is the future of successful brick and mortar retail.”
“We have always known that to be successful in retail you have to sell more than just products, you have to positively impact the community you live in, your staff work in, and your customers call home,” added Rick. “Our Mission Statement says it all: inspire excellence, operate with integrity, demonstrate gratitude, encourage creativity, exhibit ownership, embrace fun, be philanthropic, resolve to excel and deliver consistent unparalleled service.
The Howards Create A Successful Retail Hybrid
The set out to create something different – not a store, but a lifestyle brand that would serve to inspire their clients and fulfill their interior design dreams.
There were plenty of luxury furniture stores in South Florida, but none that created a sense of appeal that they envisioned. To become the premier location for contemporary modern furniture in South Florida Sklar Furnishings was not to be purely retail-based, nor exclusively design focused. Thus, they brought forward the best of both worlds and developed their exclusive hybrid model.
Instead of buying the furnishings that fill the showroom to sell, they purchased them to curate their lifestyle brand with a visually stunning showroom for the design trade and for their clients which help them visualize what their homes could look like. Their business brand all came together when Sklar Furnishings opened its doors in 2002.
“Contemporary furniture has been part of our lives for 50 years, and that helps us find the right lines, put exciting furniture on the showroom floor, and empower our design team with great products to make their clients’ dreams a reality,” shared Pat. “We look at the showroom as a curated space we offer to inspire our customers, and the product lines we carry empower our designers with the resources to do what they love.”
Because of Rick’s extensive experience in manufacturing, he was passionate about bringing innovation into the new business along with the vertical integration of services. He knew that to deliver a best-in-class experience, they needed to control as much of the business as possible leaving only the manufacturing to third parties. By removing pain points and reliance on third-party services, they are able to make decisions in an entrepreneurial way to always deliver immaculate service.
“By leveraging exemplary service at every aspect of our business, we have built a solid reputation for being one of the best in the business,” reflected Rick.
Philanthropy: A Core Value
“When we opened Sklar 16 years ago, we made philanthropy one of our core values, and felt so passionately about it that we ensured it was represented in our mission statement: “To be good neighbors and positively impact the community we live and work in while being good stewards to our planet,” added Pat.
Both Rick and Pat were brought up in families where you were expected to either “give time or money to those in need or less fortunate and when the opportunity was right, give both”. Thus, from the start, Sklar has partnered with multiple organizations that make a difference in the lives of many different people in our community.
Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County has been a part of their focus since the inception of Sklar Furnishings. They have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars of furnishings that are sold in Habitat’s Re-Stores to raise money to build homes. They also donated and built three homes and have pledged to build three more over the next three years. Rick has been an active board member for Habitat for Humanity for over 12 years and has served on the Executive Committee for five years and as Board Chair for two years. However, involvement goes far deeper than that and has permeated into the culture of Sklar Furnishings.
Philanthropy is right at the heart of Sklar’s business. In addition to its support of Habitat for Humanity, the company supports countless other charities, added Pat. “In 2017, to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we made the commitment to sponsor and promote the missions of 15 charities for 15 months. It was a tremendous effort and we’re so proud of the work we were able to accomplish with our Sklar team, our partners, friends, family, industry peers and the community as a whole.”
Sklar Furnishings is open seven days a week: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays 12 Noon to 6 p.m., and evenings by appointment. The 22,000-square-foot center is located at 6300 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL 33487. For more information, visit www.sklarfurnishings.com or ask for a Sklar Furnishings Design Associate at 561-862-0800.