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Industry Icon Stewart Dies

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, May 16, 2005

Manhasset, N.Y.— Services were held Friday for Sy Stewart, 79, who died last week.

Stewart, founder of Alsy + Cycle II, once the largest lamp company in the country, was a person whose influence and reach went far beyond the lamp business and extended on a personal level to the highest rankings of the retailing and manufacturing communities.

Over the years, he became a mentor, advisor and trusted confidant of a broad swath of retailers from buyers to CEOs.

“The industry lost its greatest mentor. In addition, I lost one of my dearest friends. Together, both are impossible to replace,” remarked Charlie Chinni, executive vice president, JCPenney.

“One of the greatest things about Sy was that he always made you look at things more than one way. He was the devil's advocate,” said Mike Gould, chairman and CEO of Bloomingdale's. “He was a dear friend, a personal friend, a mentor, and I'm richer for it.”

“He was the quintessential friend to all of us,” said consultant Dave Tracy. “He was selfless and touched more people than any other person I can think of.”

Tracy added, “He was a sweetheart, objective and could be a pain in the ass telling you the truth. His legacy will go on.”

For Norman Axelrod, chairman and CEO of Linens 'n Things, “He was a teacher, a philosopher, a mentor and a sage who really underscored the financial implications of retailing.”

He added, “He was fun, fun, always had a twinkle. And more than anything, wanted everyone to win.”

“He was an icon and a jewel,” related Michael Fux, president of Sleep Innovations who emphasized Stewart's insight into the retail business. “He was wonderful, brilliant and a mentor friend. It's a terrible loss.”

Stewart retired in 1990 and later became a partner and advisor at Barrington Capital Group.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria, three daughters and six grandchildren.

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