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ORIA Unveils New Website at General
Membership Meeting
Among the many other announcements and discus-
Jeffrey Portman, president and CEO of
sions at the July 13, 2011 general membership meet-
Americasmart addressed the membership and re-
ing in Atlanta was the debut of the Association’s new
instated their commitment to the area rug industry
website, oria.org. The effort was spearheaded by
while ORIA past president, David Harounian
Dennis Dilmaghani and a priority of new ORIA
reminded Members that their continued support of
president, Jeff DeSantis.
AmerciasMart-Atlanta was important.
12 Fall 2011
AMC veteran Chas Sydney, who has led the
AmericasMart Atlanta area rug franchise and its predecessors for more than three decades has retired
from his position as senior vice president, according
to Jeffrey L. Portman, Sr., president and chief operating officer of AmericasMart Atlanta and parent company AMC, Inc.
Sydney’s retirement coincided with the conclusion of the July 2011 Atlanta International Area
Rug Market and Atlanta International Gift &
Home Furnishings Market and marks the completion
of a successful 31-year tenure in which he led the area
rug business through a succession of advances.
“We were a very different company in 1980
when Chas first signed on. And we are a much better
company today because of his incredible sales skills,
his customer service commitment and his long, hard
work over these last three decades,” notes Portman.
sibilities at Sydney’s departure. Mike Turnbull, AMC
“We would not be in the rug business today, let alone
senior vice president for strategic relations, will con-
be the nation’s number-one area rug marketplace, if it
tinue in his role as area rug industry liaison with chief
were not for Chas Sydney,” Portman adds.
responsibility for sustaining the Oriental Rug
“When you truly love what you do, how hard
you work or how long you work doesn’t matter,” says
Atlanta alliance.
Sydney. “What matters is what you’ve accomplished,
“Kevin has helped lead our area rug and
the differences you’ve made and what you leave. I
home furnishings business for more than 12 years. He
want to thank AMC and the Portman family for giv-
is well prepared for this role and will undoubtedly
ing me the opportunity to do my best for many years.
reinforce AmericasMart’s commitment to the Oriental
It’s been a great run.”
Rug Importers Association (ORIA), the rug business
Sydney leaves an area rug product center
well positioned for continuing growth with more than
at AMC and the continued unparalleled customer service to the area rug industry,” notes Sydney.
more than 350,000 square feet of space on floors three
Going forward, Sydney will work with AMC
through six in AmericasMart Building One. Kevin
as consultant on a variety of initiatives. In his retire-
Malkiewicz, AMC’s newest vice president, assumes
ment, he will spend time with his family and pursue
all Area Rug Center leasing and management respon-
the projects and hobbies he now enjoys.
13 Fall 2011
The following address was presented by Chas Sydney
at the ORIA General Membership Meeting in Atlanta,
July 13, 2011.
A Different Approach
I have watched this industry and Association grow
and evolve over the past three decades. There have
been good times and bad and these are undoubtedly
the toughest times that we have seen as an industry.
It’s times like these that a strong Association is more
important than ever. Remember the saying, “there is
strength in numbers”? The stronger the Association
becomes, the stronger its members will be.
Over the years the ORIA has had many great
presidents and leaders. Each has left his own mark on
the Association. But I believe that today this
Association is blessed to have the most progressive
president it has ever had—Jeff DeSantis—and he is
balanced by the one constant force in this business,
Lucille Laufer. Jeff and Lucille need your support in
order to help lead this business through these everchanging and sometimes traumatic times. You need
this Association to help guide you through the rough
waters where a single ship cannot sail.
Now, how does AMERICASMART fit into
this picture? Well, you can walk the halls on floors 36 and either see spaces that are empty or see spaces
that are full. It’s the age-old adage, “Is the glass half
empty or is the glass half full?”
Markets are merely a reflection of the industries they serve. We have lost customers just like each
of you have and for the same reasons. However, we
still remain the leading rug market in the U.S. with
more and larger rug showrooms than any of our competitors.
In order for us to move forward and evolve
we must know where we came from. Prior to 1980,
area rugs were NOT an industry. Rug companies
exhibited merely as an adjunct to the floor covering
and furniture trade shows throughout the US.
AmericasMart saw an opportunity to take
these small developing rug firms and bring them
together to form the rug industry that we have today.
From that day forward AmericasMart has always
been dedicated to supporting, promoting and growing
the area rug industry to the best of our ability, and that
has not changed. AmericasMart has been to virtually
every ORIA meeting over the past several decades
and we have visited the home office of each of your
firms on several occasions.
The rug industry has always meant a lot to
us, and is not just as companies to fill empty holes.
Our founder, John Portman, has preached to us that
we must care about our customers. He tells us not to
be mere dentist—dentists just fill holes.
We all must change with the times and
change is happening. Historically the rug industry has
always been the first to go into a recession and the
last to come out. These times are no exception. But I
would like to invite each and every one of you to visit
other parts of our campus this week. You will be
amazed. You will observe a sea of activity with a
tremendous amount of commerce and optimism taking place. You will see many new spectacular gift and
home furnishing showrooms and full floors in ALL of
our buildings.
These are sure signs of the leading edge of
the economic turnaround. Homes are starting to be
purchased again and many renovated. Consumers are
starting to spend again and eventually this will translate into increased sales for the rug industry.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Jeff
DeSantis for the kind words that he wrote in this issue
of Area Magazine with regard to AmericasMart, the
Portman family, and me.
Americasmart truly appreciates your business. Chas Sydney truly appreciates your friendship.
Thank you.
— Chas Sydney
Twenty-three donated rugs were auctioned off at the July International Area Rug Market held in conjunction
with the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishing Market. Proceeds will benefit the Oriental Rug
Importers Association (ORIA) and the ORIA Charitable Fund.
“We would like to thank the ORIA Members who donated rugs to the Auction, as well as Charles
Cashin of Amici Imports for organizing the shipment of the rugs and setting up the showroom,” said Lucille
J. Laufer, ORIA Executive Director. “Special thanks our co-sponsor AmericasMart Atlanta which graciously
donated the space and provided us with items needed to set up and run the showroom.”
ORIA Members who donated carpets are: Amici Imports, Aminco, Bashian, Capel Rugs, Concepts
International, D & K Wholesale, Kalaty, KAS, Loloi Rugs, Marcella Fine Rugs, Momeni, Nourison, Oriental
Weavers, Radici USA, Tamarian Carpets, Tibet Rug Company and Tufenkian Artisan Carpets.
The ORIA is pleased to welcome MOHAWK
HOME, a division of Mohawk Industries, as its
newest member. Founded in 1878, Mohawk
Industries has a 125 year history of excellence that is
a lasting part of the American floorcovering industry.
It is a story of innovative ideas and of hard working
people who built a company in the 19th century
constructions and price points fit the needs of every
that remains an industry
consumer. Indeed, from chic high-end wovens to their
leader today.
low loop utility olefins, they “cover” the area rug
Mohawk Home
According to division vice-president and
Atlanta, Ga, Las Vegas,
general manager Rocky Casteel,joining the
NV, New York. NY and
Association was the right move at the right time.
“With ORIA looking to diversify their membership to
High Point, NC. They
also have offices in vari-
Rocky Casteel
include more US manufacturers and as we continue to
ous locations across the U.S., including Calhoun, Ga,
expand our global distribution and product offering,”
Minneapolis, MN, Bentonville, AR and many more.
he explained, “I felt that the timing was perfect for
Today, Mohawk Home manufactures woven,
Mohawk Home/Karastan Rugs to join the organiza-
tufted, printed area rugs, and is a world leader in
tion.” For more information about Mohawk Home,
sourcing imported area rugs. Their portfolio also
visit their website at www.mohawkhome.com also on
includes domestic and import bath rugs, and an array
Facebook at www.facebook.com/mohawkhome and
of utility and doormat products. Their wide variety of
on twitter @mohawk_home.
For more information regarding the
fine products offered in our
please consult the Members Directory
in this issue of Area Magazine.
16 Fall 2011