by Angela Sanders
In the United States, there are five finalists in the running for the 2015 National Apollo Award in the single store category, and one of these finalists thrives at 8040 Germantown Ave.
The International Casual Furnishing Association (ICFA), recognizes the Hill Company as the only finalist east of Chicago.
“You know, you think you are doing a great job, and your customers may know that, but it’s just so exciting to be recognized by the entire casual furniture organization,” said Linda Moran, president and owner of the Hill Company.
The 2015 Apollo Award honors the highest quality casual furnishing retail stores in the nation. The ICFA will select one store that excels in innovative merchandising, outstanding customer service, and finest overall operations and announce the winner at the ICFA Awards Gala, which will take place on Friday, Sept. 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Field Museum in Chicago, Ill. Manufacturers from all over the globe will be present at this event.
“I’ve been in the business for 30, and I’m not so much surprised – I think it’s about time,” said Eli Hymer, vice president of the Hill Company. “Even in the old operation, everything operated the same way.”
Servicing Chestnut Hill since 1949, the Hill Company fulfills each of the award’s criteria. Designers at The Hill Company hand-select and buy from approximately 20 different manufacturers, two names being LaFuma, which comes from France, and Geensun, a manufacturer in China.
From the stresses of high rent to the demands of paying bills – including the cost to provide free shipping – owning a “mom and pop shop” is not easy; yet, the Hill Company continues to craft sought after interior designs.
“I may not make a lot of money,” Moran said. “But, it’s a tremendous feeling that I’ve accomplished what I have. When customers come in, and say ‘Wow, I wanna buy everything in the store,’ or ‘You just have beautiful stuff,’ that’s what I get paid in.”
Not only does the company provide a well-liked selection, but also it’s in the employees’ nature to always put the customer first.
“I have hired incredible people, who go out to people’s houses and do free design service. They give hours at no cost to the customer,” Moran said. “Everyone from the warehouse guys to the designers, are just outstanding people.”
Moran’s enthusiasm and dedication to the business ignited more than a decade ago. After raising three children and teaching for 10 years, Moran desired a change in career. So, she returned to Philadelphia College to pursue a certificate in interior design.
Around this same time, Moran walked into the Hill Company and asked, “Do you ever need anybody, like, two days a week?”
After seven years of decorating for the Hill Company and helping the business with furniture purchasing, this 10-time grandmother and hardworking interior designer bought the business, herself, in 2005.
The Hill Company hopes that the 2015 Apollo Award inspires more people to make their store a destination and also to encourage more stores to settle down at their end of the Hill.
“We’re just hopeful and keeping our fingers crossed,” said Hymer.