Advisory Board

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Joseph Cilio Alfresco Home

Joseph Cilio is CEO and president of Alfresco Home, a design and distribution resource to the outdoor living market throughout North America that specializes in developing products in the casual furniture, garden accents and outdoor gourmet markets. Cilio has partnered with AmericasMart since 1988 and has been a permanent exhibitor since 1994 when he participated in the launch of “The Gardens.“ In the past 31 years, he has been active as both a retailer and a wholesale manufacturer to the outdoor marketplace. He formed Alfresco Home in 2004 with his wife Kimberly after identifying that independent retailers required a resource to deliver outdoor living products that supported the need for style, function, form and value. Cilio travels extensively and enjoys being in the field with his customers and sales team. His enjoyment comes from spending time with his wife and two children and he credits his family, friends and loyal partners for their support and belief in making the last years so exciting. He can be reached at 610.705.8808 or jc@alfrescohome.com.

Melissa Haberstroh The Burlap Horse

Melissa Haberstroh owns the Burlap Horse an inviting retail showroom for antique and heirloom furnishings and lifestyle accessories in Boerne, Texas, with her husband Jeff. She also provides design and procurement services to hotels and other commercial businesses. Most recently honored with as the ARTS Home Accessory Store of the year for the Midwest/Southwest region, the store was also named by Home Accents Today as one of the Fifty Retail Stars in 2006 and awarded two Gold Retailers Excellence Awards in Store Design (2004) and Visual Merchandising and Display (2005). Melissa was honored in 2007 with a special gold award for Outstanding Public Service to the Retail Community. She was the first retailer appointed ex-officio member to the Gift & Home Trade Association's (GHTA) Board, is a member of the GHTA Retail Advisory Board, contributing editor to a major trade publication, expert blogger and national speaker on retail strategies for the independent retailer. She can be reached at 830-249-0204 or burlaphorse@yahoo.com.

John Haste Dimond Lighting

John Haste is vice president of Sales and Marketing for the Sterling and Dimond divisions of ELK Lighting. A 30-year industry veteran, he has vast experience within distribution. His background includes time as a senior executive with IMAX Corporation as well as Managing Director of PRO Group (a marketing and purchasing group within the hardware and lawn and garden industry). He also served as the general manager of their Proven Brands division. Haste has extensive experience on industry boards including serving as vice chair of AFIA (American Floral Industry Association) Board of Trustees and vice president of GHTA (Gift and Home Association) as well as Secretary of the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority. He can be reached at 918-809-6930 or johnhaste@elklighting.com.

Rosanne Kozerski Brown Venice Stationers

Rosanne Kozerski Brown began her retail career nearly fourteen years ago when she and her husband purchased, from the original owners, a gift store/office supply business in Venice, Florida. Called Venice Stationers, the business was founded in 1954 and is situated in an historic downtown area. It’s 5500 square feet of retail space is filled with over 250 vendors ranging from stationery items and greeting cards, tabletop and garden products, children’s toy and games, along with personal accessories and office supplies. Annually awarded Best Stationery Store and Best Gift Store accolades by the community, it is truly a store with “a bit of everything.” The store has been profiled in both Giftbeat and Giftware News.

Brown is a member of the Giftbeat Advisory Board and was a member of the Retail Advisory Board of the Gift Home Trade Association (GHTA). As a member of the GHTA she has been a presentor at the Chicago, Dallas and New York gift shows as well as at the annual GHTA conference. She is also a board member of Venice Mainstreet, the local merchant group.

Prior to her career as a gift retailer, Brown was the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations of the premiere entertainment venues in Detroit, Michigan, the Joe Louis Arena and the Fox Theatre, and a Vice President of the Detroit Red Wings Hockey Team. She and her husband also owned and operated multiple locations of a national food franchise. She can be reached at (941) 488-6113 or venicestationers@aol.com.

Kelly O’Neal Legacy Trading Co.

Kelly O’Neal is a Dallas-based interior designer, as well as the designer for the Design Legacy home furnishings line featured in his High Design and 9th floor permanent collection. His client repertoire includes several Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas landmark Adolphus hotel and myriad residential and commercial clients. His product designs are frequent hits at many large catalog and retail accounts, and a staple in more than 4,000 specialty stores worldwide. Internationally, his following includes Harrod’s of London, Selfridges of London and many Japanese high-end stores. Domestically, his designs are often featured from Nieman-Marcus to discriminating specialty stores. His interior projects as well as his product designs have appeared in many national publications. He can be reached at kelly@legacytrading.com or 214-748-5118.

Mary Moore Cook’s Warehouse

Mary Moore opened the first Cook’s Warehouse location in Midtown in 1995 and expanded to include a cooking school that now conducts more than 800 classes annually in four locations. In 2002, Moore opened her second store in Brookhaven, shared with Sherlock’s Wine Merchant. This partnership, the first of its kind in the Atlanta area is the ultimate food and wine pairing. In 2005, Moore, with the owner and general manager of Sherlock’s, opened the third retail location in Decatur. In 2011, Moore opened her fourth location in Merchant’s Walk, East Cobb. Awards include: About.com 2012 Reader’s Choice, Best Kitchenware Retailer; Best Cooking Classes, Creative Loafing 2012; Top 50 Retailer, Gourmet Retailer Magazine. Moore also teaches cooking classes, business seminars, serves on a number of non-profit boards, and loves to golf and travel. She can be reached at mary@cookswarehouse.com.

George Moussa Ambella Home Collection

George Moussa is president/owner of Ambella Home Collection, a unique/eclectic source for home furniture. The company was formed in January 1995, and rapidly grew to offer more than 900 items which are all designed exclusively by Ambella. Our customers include a variety of retailers including furniture stores, in-home designers, architects, builders or mid to large design firms. In addition to being an active runner, Moussa also loves to be outdoors and is an aviation enthusiast who flys his own plane. He’s married with four children. He can be reached at 214-631-8901 x213 or gsmoussa@ambellahome.com.

Kim Pitcher-Higgins 225 Unlimited

Kim Higgins is president and owner of 225 Unlimited, Inc. For more than 23 years, the company has been a leading manufacturers’ rep firm serving manufacturers and retailers in the Southeast. The company has two divisions, 225 Gift & Home Accessories and 225 Toy & Trend, in its showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta (Building 2, 1718). With 39 sales reps and 15 in-house employees, 225 has a reputation as an industry leader with a positive attitude. Higgins can be reached at 407-894-6675 or khiggins@225unlimited.com.

Jeff Portman President and Chief Operating Officer, AMC, Inc.

Jeffrey L. Portman is President and Chief Operating Officer of AMC, Inc., the world’s largest trade mart/trade show organization and parent company of AmericasMart Atlanta, the nation’s largest wholesale home/gift/apparel marketplace.

Portman leads the daily operation of these Atlanta-based businesses, which annually bring tens of thousands of visitors to the city, generating more than $478 million in direct economic impact, and making Atlanta the wholesale/retail trading capital of the United States.

Portman’s career spans more than 35 years in commercial real estate development and management, including his leadership of the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) as general manager from June 1986 through July 1994, at which point he was appointed Executive Vice President of AMC, Inc. His election as AMC president and chief operating officer followed in February 2001.

He subsequently has led AMC and AmericasMart Atlanta through a period of growth unprecedented in the companies’ 53-year history, commencing with the rebranding of the former Atlanta Market Center as AmericasMart Atlanta in 1996, and continuing with expansion of its global business base, most recently advanced in the opening of the celebrated Building Two West Wing in January 2009.

A native Atlantan, Portman is consistently named among the Top 100 most influential people in the U.S. home furnishings industry, and comments regularly in national and international home, gift and apparel trade media. Portman was named Atlanta Citizen of the Year by the Atlanta Police Foundation, with Mayor Franklin bestowing the honor. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and on the Board of The Lovett School, his alma mater.

Portman did undergraduate work at Mercer University and Georgia State University and post-graduate study at Harvard in Cambridge.

Tom Ungrodt Ideation, Inc.

Thomas D. Ungrodt is president and Chief Executive Officer of Ideation, Inc. a leading producer of catalogs and marketing material for independent gift, toy, pharmacy and hardware retailers. He also owns and operates three retail card/gift stores. He is extremely active in his local community as well as a member of several organizations such the Foundation Board at Northern Michigan University and Retailers Mutual Insurance Company to name of few. He can be reached at 734-761-4360 or tungrodt@ideationgifts.com.

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