Photo: Doug Sanicola (back center), his wife Sharon (in front of him), their son Joseph (second from left) and staff of Outdoor Elegance celebrate an Apollo Award nomination.
Doug Sanicola enjoys inviting people over for cookouts – at his store, Outdoor Elegance in La Verne, Calif. “We’re having one Saturday,” the owner of the Home Furnishings Association member said.
Outdoor Elegance hosts barbecue classes, cook-offs, demonstrations, tastings, contests and more in the Southern California community between Pasadena and San Bernardino.
“I’m kind of the event king of my industry,” Sanicola said.
He’s a king in another way. Outdoor Elegance recently was named a finalist for a 2019 Apollo Award by the International Casual Furnishings Association in the single-store category.
Fellow HFA member Watson’s of Cincinnati, Ohio, is a finalist in the multiple store category. The awards recognize retail excellence in the sales and marketing of outdoor furnishings.
“Finalists must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments plus a commitment to customer service and dedication to professional development for their staff, ICFA said in a news release. “The finalist is recognized as an exceptional dealer in their trading area and a model for others within the industry, as well as characterized by innovative marketing and merchandising strategies.”
ICFA members will choose a winner in each category by online balloting later this summer. Finalists will be honored and the winner announced at the ICFA Awards Gala on Sept. 11 at the Hilton Chicago during Casual Market Chicago.
HFA member Porch & Patio Casual Living in Warwick, R.I., was the 2018 Apollo Award winner in the multi-store category.
Outdoor Elegance last won an Apollo in 2010 and has been nominated eight times since then, Sanicola said. Members can’t nominate or vote for themselves, so it’s a “great honor” to be among the finalists, he said. It recognizes the sales staff, customer service, merchandising and “what you do for the end user, the customer,” Sanicola said.
The store’s biggest event of the year is “Thanksgrilling” every November. More than 600 people attended last year. That’s what Sanicola calls having a “very inviting” store.