2 important industry events with a common denominator: Andy Counts

Here we are early in June and I’m already consumed by two important upcoming industry events, one in October and one in August.

While they are separate events, there is a connection between the two of them.

Let me explain.

On Oct. 25, the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association is hosting its annual Furniture Industry Awards Gala at the Qubein Center at High Point University.

On Aug. 7-8, The American Home Furnishings Alliance hosts a must-attend Regulatory Summit at The Conference Center at Guilford Technical Community College in Colfax, North Carolina. 

By now, you are probably wondering where the connection is between IHFRA’s gala, which honors outstanding industry leaders, and the AHFA’s summit.

The common denominator here is Andy Counts, the CEO of the AHFA. Andy leads the outstanding team at the AHFA, which does so much for our industry, in part, with events like this upcoming summit.

Andy Counts

Because of his dedication to our industry in his role as CEO, Andy is also being recognized at IHFRA’s gala as a pillar of our industry, in part, for organizing ongoing educational events such as this one.

Andy will be joined by IHFRA’s other honorees this year, including Caroline Hipple of Hooker, Broad River Retail, Tammy Covington Nagim of the High Point Market Authority and others.

I would strongly encourage you to attend and support both events.

In the case of AHFA’s summit, it has the distinction of being the industry’s only educational asset to address the key regulatory and legislative issues that impact the home furnishings industry. 

In recognition of the fact that companies in our sector will have to face recently implemented and soon-to-be-implemented product safety and environmental regulations, AHFA has designated 2024 as the year of Compliance: Where the Rubber Meets the Road.

My hat is off to Andy and his team for arranging to have Peter Feldman, a commissioner on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, keynote the event and discuss the steps the CPSC is taking to enforce the new federal stability standard for clothing storage furniture that applies to units with a manufacture date of September 2023 or later. 

Worth noting is that back in 2022, Feldman was the only commissioner to vote against adoption of a stability rule drafted by CPSC staff that year. The Senate had already unanimously passed the STURDY Act, and Feldman argued that the commission should wait and gauge the outcome of that effort, but the CSPC chose to move forward and adopt its own rule. 

That move by the CPSC prompted the AHFA to take legal action to delay the rule being implemented.

In a statement made last year, Feldman observed that had the CPSC waited a few months it would have “significant confusion, costly litigation and wasted commission resources.” 

In addition to Feldman, other compliance-focused sessions will include a case study of navigating a CPSC compliance audit, an update on the Environmental Protection Agency’s risk assessment for formaldehyde, a refresher course on California Prop 65 compliance and so much more.

When it comes to compliance, what you don’t know can, and probably will, hurt you.

If you would like more information about FIAG, email me at rallegrezza@IHFRA.org. If you want to know more about the AHFA summit, click here: registration.

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