Edward J. Audi was recently appointed president of L & J.G. Stickley Inc. of Manlius, manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality solid wood and upholstered furniture. Audi was formerly executive vice president of the 112-year-old privately-held company and president of its Stickley International division.
“This is a very exciting chapter in the history of our company, Aminy I. Audi, chairman and chief executive of the company, said. “Edward’s appointment ensures continuity and builds on the strong foundation which Alfred and I have laid. His deep appreciation for Stickley’s heritage and for our long-term commitment to our dealers and customers, combined with his vision, passion and innovative spirit, will help him take the company to the next level.”
She added that Audi has worked in almost every department during his tenure at Stickley, and has become very familiar with every aspect of the business.
“He is very well prepared for this new leadership role and has the support of everyone at Stickley,” she said.
Audi said he has been privileged to work side-by-side with the company’s “incredibly dedicated and capable team” over the past 22 years as well as fortunate to have been mentored in the business by his parents.
“Together my parents set the tone at Stickley with a tremendous example of dedication, hard work and integrity,” he said. “My mother’s leadership has been inspirational in the five years since my father’s passing, guiding the company through some of the worst economic times we’ve ever seen. It’s a privilege to be able to continue the journey that my parents started when they purchased Stickley in 1974.”
A graduate of Colgate University, Audi also attended North Carolina State University’s Furniture Manufacturing and Management Program. He joined the family-owned company in 1991, holding a variety of positions in manufacturing, purchasing, engineering, design, customer service, accounting and human resources.
In 2007 he became responsible for the Manlius manufacturing facility and became president of Stickley International, a factory in Vietnam. He currently serves on the American Home Furnishings Alliance Board and the New York State Council of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, and previously served on the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Foundation Board and the Central New York Community Foundation Board.
He and his wife, Laila, reside in Fayetteville.
Forecast: continued growth
“We’re committed to manufacturing and retailing here in Central New York and to growing here,” Audi said. “Despite the economy over the past five years, we were able to maintain two shifts with no layoffs.”
He said the community has been a factor in the success of Stickley.
“I want to acknowledge the tremendous support we have received from the Central New York community throughout the years,” he said. “It’s a region with fantastic talent, wonderful resources and a place I’m proud to call home.”
He said they have recently had four people relocate to Central New York for key positions, and “It’s been nice to see how pleasantly surprised they are by the quality of life and all that the region has to offer.”
He also noted that the company continues to re-invest in its Manlius factory with new machinery and new technologies. “We’re working hard to steadily grow the company and are once again hiring.”
The company recently opened a showroom in Paramus, N.J., and hopes to open an additional five to six retail locations in Metropolitan New York and New England in the next three years.
But Stickley is not only expanding in terms of square footage.
“On the product side we continue to push forward in diversifying our offering,” Audi said. “Our new casual [line] called ‘Fingerlakes Collection’ is a hit nationwide. People today are living more casually and this hand distressed collection made from solid wild black cherry has become extremely popular.”
The company has also developed a line of college dormitory furniture, the “Campus Collection.”
“SUNY ESF’s Centennial Hall Dormitory was the first to feature it nationwide,” Audi said.
In addition, Stickley has established a Contract and Hospitality division that focuses on providing custom furnishings to four and five-star hotel properties.
“[We] are actively bidding on several large projects with some of the major hotel brands,” Audi said.
Dedication, enthusiasm is key
“We have a nationwide network of extremely dedicated and enthusiastic Stickley dealers, along with 14 of our own showrooms,” Audi said. “They’re the face of Stickley to the buying public and continue to do a fantastic job representing the Stickley brand. We work hard to support them with first rate products, designs and services.”
And Stickley encourages their staff to be the best that they can be.
“We continue to have a strong focus on wellness, with a full-time occupational health nurse on staff and a company doctor that sees patients on-site weekly.”
Audi said they even pay people to quit smoking, and have regular weight loss programs along with cash prizes.
“I’d like to publicly thank all of our Stickley employees for their hard work, ingenuity and dedication,” Audi said. “They are what makes Stickley so special, and I’m proud to be associated with them.”