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Petey Fleischut and Oliver Ma Receive ICFA Lifetime Achievement Awards

Petey Fleischut and Oliver Ma Receive ICFA Lifetime Achievement Awards

Petey Fleischut is founder of Casual Marketplace (Hockessin, delaware), and oliver Ma is founder of treasure Garden (Baldwin Park, California). they are the recipients of the 2017 lifetime Achievement Award presented by the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA).

Fleischut opened her first outdoor-furniture store in 1984, after struggling to find furniture for her own vacation home on the New Jersey shoreline. Called the sand Piper, the shop was a four-hour drive from her home in york, Pennsylvania. originally planned as a seasonal shop that would be open for three months a year, the business thrived and was soon open seven months a year. the commute became more tolerable when Fleischut moved to Hockessin, delaware. In 1995, a historic mill property became available in Hockessin, so she closed the little beach shop in New Jersey and opened Casual Marketplace—minutes from Wilmington and the delaware shoreline.

Fleischut transformed the 1872 mill into a three-floor showroom (with two outdoor pavilions) featuring more than 1,800 pieces of casual furniture, hearth products, giftware, and holiday decor. Her husband, Harold, joined her in the business about 10 years later. she handles buying and merchandising, while he handles finances. today, the Fleischuts have 15 employees. Casual Marketplace received the Apollo Award for retail excellence in 1999 and was a finalist for the same honor in 2001 and 2002.

Fleischut was invited to serve on the board of the Casual Furniture retailers Association (CFr) during her first year in business, and she’s been involved in industry leadership ever since. she was instrumental in advancing the merger of the CFr with the manufacturers’ trade association in 2008, and she served as ICFA’s first vice chair. she is currently completing a three-year term on the ICFA board of directors.

Ma entered the shade-products business with his brother in 1975, exporting beach and garden umbrellas from taiwan to mass merchants and outdoor-furniture manufacturers in the united states. In 1980, he opened a sales office in New york, New york, but he found that specialty stores wanted customized products made in the united states. In 1984, therefore, he built a small factory in Baldwin Park and launched the treasure Garden brand. throughout the 1990s, the company strengthened its customer service and product development.

In 2000, Ma built a vertically integrated factory in Ningbo, China. Aluminum extrusion, zinc die casting, and plastic injection molding all were handled in the same plant, minimizing cost and maximizing quality control. during this time, the company introduced many patented designs and developed protective furniture covers. expansion into markets in europe, Australia, and New Zealand resulted in the building of another new factory in 2008. diversifying into additional product categories— including pop-up tents, pavilions, retractable awnings, and accessories—allowed the company to balance its production by making products for different seasons.

Treasure Garden’s high-quality products have earned it seven straight Manufacturer leadership Awards in the shade category from ICFA’s retail members. the award recognizes the company’s products, people, and production efforts.

Ma and Fleischut will be honored during the ICFA Awards Gala at the Field Museum on september 14 (during Casual Market Chicago). tickets are available at www.icfanet.org.

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