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Craft and Hobby Blog


Elmwood Park, NJ, (October 24, 2013) — The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the industry's most prestigious service awards: the Meritorious Award of Honor, the Industry Achievement Award and the Special Recognition Award. All awards recognize exceptional contributions to the craft industry and the world.

The Meritorious Award is the highest honor the Association can bestow and acknowledges an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to the Association and Industry. This year’s recipient is Gail Czech.

Gail Czech is President of The Creative Network, Inc., an Executive Recruiting Search Firm in the consumer products industries. Gail started her career as a craft retailer and teacher in 1977 because she couldn’t find supplies as a Scout leader. Over the years, she made the craft industry and its leadership her life’s work. Having served as Chair of the ACCI Board, and as a member of the CHA Board and numerous committees, Gail has provided leadership and vision. On an individual level, Gail continues to be instrumental in connecting people by helping them find their places in the consumer craft and related markets. These close connections have made her successful and appreciated by so many.

The Industry Achievement Award- Contribution to Craft and Hobby Industry is awarded to a CHA member (individual, group and/or company) that has made a significant contribution to the growth and vitality of the craft and hobby industry as a whole.  This year’s recipient is KIZER & BENDER Speaking!

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are professional speakers, authors and consultants serving companies both inside and outside the consumer craft industry. While their client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business, it’s the work they’ve provided for independent craft retailers (often pro bono!) that has garnered such attention within the industry. Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing, promotion and everything retail. Their dedicated followers insist that their presentations blend brilliant content with colorful examples, humor and insight, inspiring retailers with new strategies, tactics, tips and techniques. (And if any of them need help, Rich and Georganne are simply an email or phone call away!)

The CHA Special Recognition Award – Good Deeds recognizes an individual or group for extraordinary contribution positively showcasing the craft and hobby industry.   This year the recipient is Lion Brand Yarn Co. which was the first yarn company to create a celebrity licensed yarn, Vanna’s Choice.  From the sale of the very first ball of that yarn, Vanna White and Lion Brand shared the revenue with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which conducts cutting edge research on children’s cancer and offers free care to everyone they treat.  As Lion Brand has expanded the line with more colors and added Vanna’s Glamour and Vanna’s Sequins, they have been able to grow the donation so that in February 2013 the company celebrated the milestone of donating $1 million dollars to St. Jude’s.

 “A big round of applause for all of our service awards winners. Their contributions to our industry and the world are wonderful examples of how we can all make a difference for the greater good.” -- Andrej Suskavcevic, President and CEO, Craft & Hobby Association.

“We congratulate and thank all of this year’s winners.  CHA is blessed with many humble and extraordinary leaders and we salute each one for their dedication and service to our industry." -- David Murray, CHA Board Member & Awards Committee Chair.

The awards will be presented to the recipients or their representatives at the CHA 2014 Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim, California, on January 11, 2014. Visit www.craftandhobby.org for more information.

The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is an international nonprofit trade association consisting of thousands of member companies engaged in design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of products worldwide in the U.S. craft and hobby industry. For more information about CHA, membership or its award-winning CHA Conference & Trade Show, visit www.craftandhobby.org.