HIGH POINT — The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame has received a $500,000 donation from Stephen Knight Pond, founder of Furniture Today, to establish the Women’s Center for Leadership.
It will be located on the first floor and will serve as a space to foster the advancement of women through studies of women in the industry, to generate learning and as a gathering space for women and their guests.
“Women by far outpace men in buying furnishings and we as an industry need to do a better job of not just attracting female talent but of mentoring and promoting them into positions of leadership,” Pond said in a release. “Peer learning and networking are key to any business, and even more so in an industry based on relationships. Furniture Today was founded on these principles and we put women into leadership positions when there were very few in the industry. While we’ve come a long way, it is only the beginning.”
Pond added that he believes in the broad Hall of Fame project, “because we need to promote ourselves as an industry and to do that, you need a place to bring thought leaders together for education and for innovation. I’m also motivated to support this project with an additional gift because there is no other place to honor the women of the industry than at the heart of the industry. It is also where I can honor my wife, Karen McNeill, for her lifelong commitment to the industry.”
The new Hall of Fame home 311 S. Hamilton St. is on schedule to open at the April 2023 High Point Market. The facility will feature a two-story, Grand Story Wall, a digital matrix of videos and photography that faces the street to draw people inside. Other features include interactive exhibits, the Hall of Fame, a Women’s Center for Leadership, a Tribute Wall, the immersive theatre, Discovery Exhibits, the Tell Us Your Story video booth, a Library, History Center, the Leaders Board Room, and the Leaders Bar.
The building was designed by Freeman Kennett Architects in High Point. The exhibits are being designed by Roto, an international exhibits firm based in Columbus, Ohio.