The Accessories Resource Team  (ART) and the Dallas Market Center  (DMC) will honor the Cooper family from Uttermost  with the ARTS Academy of Achievement Award in January, DMC announced recently. The accessories and lighting manufacturer was founded in 1975 by Bob and Belle Cooper and is currently run by their son, Mac.
DMC President and CEO Bill Winsor says the Coopers are being honored for the legacy they have created over the past three decades.
“For more than 35 years, Uttermost has provided the home and decorative accessories industry with affordable, quality products that speak to the current trends,” Winsor said in a statement. “The company’s continued success speaks volumes to the dedication and hard work of the Cooper family.”
Uttermost President Mac Cooper says he is very honored to receive this award.
“This is something I never expected or thought about happening,” Cooper says. “At the same time, I’m humbled, because I know that so many people put their heart and soul into what we do… So many people deserve a piece of this because it’s a team effort.”
Cooper says the Uttermost of today is different that the one his parents started over 30 years ago. For one, Cooper says the company is more product-focused.
“Our focus has become more product and design, and that’s what I spend more time on than anything else, whether that be new product categories, or new factories or designers we’re working with,” he says. “That’s always changing and evolving because when customers come to see us every three months at market, we feel we need to show them new product in all categories.”
Another change that has made the company so successful is the addition of new product categories, Cooper says. In the early years, Uttermost carried art, mirrors and clocks, but since then, new categories have allowed the company to continue to grow.
“When we added lamps in 2002, that was the beginning of this process of adding new categories organically – not through an acquisition, but with the right team, designers and vendors that complement what we do,” Cooper says. “That was the first major category we added and it was extremely successful, so we followed that by adding fixtures, furniture and botanicals.”
But aside from product, Cooper says it is the people and the service that continues to set the company apart.
“While we do talk a lot about product, without good reps, customer service and operations, it would be a house of cards,” Cooper says. “Customers know that when they work with us, they won’t have issues with quality or delivery, and that if they do, we’ll take care of it. People have great comfort in working with Uttermost.”
In addition to service, Cooper also points to his family’s faith as a reason for success, as well as the close-knit feel of the company.
“When I came here, it was my parents and me in management, and we made decisions as a team,” Cooper says. “As they got less involved, it’s still a team system and we still operate like a family, except now it’s not a biological family but a group of people who have worked together for decades and respect each other.”
The Coopers will accept their award during the 24th annual ARTS Awards  on Jan. 19, 2013, during the Dallas Total Home and Gift Market, which runs Jan. 16-22. Once again, the awards will be presented at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Tickets for the event will go on sale in November.