Decades after launching his Fayetteville, New York–based furniture business in 1900, Leopold Stickley understood that maintaining a successful network of enthusiastic dealers was critical to keeping his business healthy. He decided in his later years to use the occasion of his birthday to invite Stickley dealers from across the country to come together in Fayetteville. Candles and cake were not the top priorities!
Leopold saw this as a valuable opportunity to introduce new product, share company news, and educate the dealers on the quality of Stickley furniture and how best to communicate that quality to their customers. Among his frequent presenters and keynote speakers was Manhattan dealer E.J. Audi, Stickley’s largest dealer. With his personal passion for Stickley and talent for romancing its attributes (“Having breakfast at a Stickley table is like having breakfast with a beautiful woman. It smiles at you.”), he was the perfect person to inspire his fellow dealers. He even brought his teenaged son Alfred along to absorb these important lessons.
After Alfred and Aminy Audi purchased Stickley years later, they decided to reintroduce Leopold’s tradition. They invited their dealers to the very first Dealer Weekend In the mid-1980s; this time the birthday being celebrated was their eldest daughter Carolyn’s on June 24!
Dealers take a Stickley factory tour
In between social gatherings, there are numerous opportunities for dealers to interact with each other and share the best practices that have led to success in their respective businesses. Small group sessions are held to discuss advertising, digital transformation, direction for new product introductions, etc. And just as in Leopold’s day, any insights the dealers receive they can take home to inform their interactions with customers.
Mrs. Audi is flanked by Gregg Tripoli, Executive Director of the Onondaga Historical Association who addressed the dealers on the Gustav Stickley House, and “Mattress Mack” McIngvale
Edward and Laila Audi with guests
Mrs. Aminy I. Audi, CEO and Chair of the Board