Robert Allen Launches Soft Home

Carole Sloan, November 29, 2004

New York — The Robert Allen Group has launched its Soft Home collection, a wide range of custom window, bedding and soft home accessories that will be sold through its Beacon Hill/Robert Allen designer showrooms as well as through designers across the country.

The program will utilize the company's extensive fabric collection and will offer COM (customer only material) as well, said Ron Cordover, chairman. Soft Home is an important part of the new Beacon Hill 25,000-square-foot designer showroom that opened here last week, an increase of about 10 percent in selling space over the previous showroom arrangement.

The revamped showroom is one of 18 company-owned showrooms across the country, including one each in Canada and England. In addition, there are about 50 agent showrooms carrying the Beacon Hill and/or Robert Allen home furnishings collections.

Soft Home is merchandised through a detailed library of sketches, product information and pricing with standard options and custom options, Cordover explained. To ensure accuracy of custom items, “We've developed a multiple-step process of approvals and signoffs.”

The new division is the latest in the expansion of the company's reach since Cordover's equity investment company, Corber Corp., acquired the firm in 2002 from LifeStyle Furnishings. Cordover's son Jeff is president of the company.

“We're moving to broaden the market by making it easier for designers to do their work,” Jeff Cordover explained. “They used to have to take the fabric somewhere else to have it made; now we can execute it for them.”

As part of its growth plan, the company has added to its senior executive team. Jennie Wilde, most recently director, home furnishings, for Robert Allen, has been promoted to operating vice president, fabric design, Robert Allen — a new post. Mark Denecour, formerly director of wovens for Waverly, has joined the company as operating vice president, fabric design, wovens. Wilde and Denecour report to Marion Murray, vice president, fabric design.

Jason Earles has joined the company from P/Kaufmann as director, manufacturing sales, replacing John Shane who left the company. Earles reports to Arthur Friedman, vice president, key account sales. He will focus on developing business in the retail and manufacturing channels.

Anthea Goering has joined the company as vice president, showroom sales. Formerly with Express, Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works, she reports to Paul Sarazin, senior vice president, sales.

Brenda McQuerry, Melanie Turner, and Sandra Llewellyn have been named directors of regional sales, showroom, for the West Coast; Chicago, Troy, Mich., Washington, D.C., Dania, Fla.; and New York, Westbury, N.Y. areas respectively. All report to Goering.

Margaret Milford, formerly with Kravet, is now senior manager, fabric merchandising, reporting to Suzanne Kelly, vice president, home furnishings.

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