Harold Hudson, president of Summer Classics Private Label, is the new chairman of the board of directors for the International Casual Furnishings Assn. and is starting the year with a strong idea of what he believes its focus should be.

This year, Hudson said his No. 1 focus will be on helping ICFA retailer members get back to their level of pre-COVID-19 level of health.

“Our strategic initiatives for 2021 and 2022 will promote their recovery and compel more retailers to join as they recognize the value of this dedicated support,” said Hudson. “We’ll continue to create and enhance the networking, educational and philanthropic opportunities that make the ICFA so vital to professional success for every segment of our membership.”

A 29-year veteran with Summer Classics, Hudson has been an active member of the ICFA, previously holding board positions, as well as a member of the Hearth Products and Barbecue Assn. Last year, he served on the ICFA nominating and executive committees.

At Summer Classics, Hudson has served as controller, operations manager, vice president of sales and now president. “Our ‘hybrid’ business model gives me a unique perspective on the relationship between manufacturers and retailers. I understand the challenges facing both in the best of times,” he said.

He noted that ICFA will start developing training tailored for casual furnishings sales associates. In addition, expanding educational opoportunities will be a priority for the board.

“Although our 2021 Educational Conference was canceled, we’ll more than make up for it with ‘Innovate and Elevate’ scheduled for Feb. 14-17, 2022, at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort in Orlando,” Hudson said.

Among the other goals the new board chairman listed for the ICFA, he identified two important focuses for this year: attracting more benefactors to support the Richard Frinier Design Scholarship and seeking ways to expand the association’s philanthropic efforts for City of Hope.

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