GMFA Honors Mehmet Bilici for His Outstanding Contributions In The Furniture Industry

Image The Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association (GMFA) will host its awards dinner and dance Saturday, Dec. 1 honoring three furniture industry leaders. The Howard Liveright Award, given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in the home furnishings industry goes to Mehmet Y. Bilici. Bilici is the founder and managing partner of Sunset International Trade, a furniture wholesale company located in Paterson, N.J. He is also the owner of Furniture Expo, one of New Jersey's largest furniture showrooms and home to the entire Istikbal catalog.  

Bilici established Sunset International in 2002, forming a partnership with Istikbal Furniture, the single largest furniture manufacturer in Turkey. Ten years later, Sunset International has found favor with more than 2,000 independent retailers, including Top 100 chain-stores such as El Dorado, Raymour & Flanigan, American Signature, American TV, and JCPenney.

The Jerry Gans Memorial Award will be presented to Irwin Friedman  of New Jersey-based retail powerhouse Crest/Value City Furniture. Friedman is a veteran retailer who joined Barney's Furniture of Paterson, N.J., and Newark, N.J., in 1958 as an entry-level salesman. He remained at Barney's for 37 years, rising to the principal executive position before joining Simon Kaplan at Crest/Value City Furniture that grew from 43 to 370 employees during his tenure there.

"If you think about all the positive things that the Jerry Gans Memorial Award stands for, and the way my father lived," said Andy Gans, a GMFA board member and president of Gans Brothers, "Irwin is the perfect recipient. He is as dedicated, loyal and hard working as they get."

Rick Aaronson  will receive the Charles B. Costar Dean of IHFRA Award given to an individual who sets an example in the industry through their service and dedication to IHFRA and their local chapter.

Aaronson is an active member of the Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association and was president of its predecessor organization MFA. He and his partners Tony Bellasosa and Chris Clarizio cover Metro New York, New Jersey, southern Connecticut and the Hudson Valley for Klaussner Furniture. He is an industry veteran who started his furniture career at Eclipse Sleep Products, served as regional sales manager for National Mattress Co. and was vice president of sales and marketing for Deville Furniture.

"This year, we have three important honorees who exemplify the best the furniture business has to offer," said Patrick Cory, managing partner of Cory First Home Delivery and president of the Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association. "They give freely of their time, energy and enthusiasm, year after year, to support our industry and charitable causes. Each is known for bringing extraordinary value to their customers, for creating jobs and supporting their colleagues."

The event will be held at The Palisadium in Cliffside, N.J.

"This important event presents an opportunity for retailers, reps, manufacturers and suppliers to network with industry friends while enjoying great food, an open bar, music and dancing," said Alan Granetz, executive director of GMFA. "Once again we've taken great care to hold this event at an outstanding venue centrally located for members and guests just minutes from the George Washington Bridge."

To get more information on attending this event, or to participate in a souvenir journal being prepared to honor Bilici, Friedman and Aaronson, contact Granetz.(
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07