Combining lasting designs with emerging innovative talent, Duralee is one of the interior design industry’s most exciting fabric brands. The company began, aptly enough, when the country’s pulse quickened. Returning from World War II, Lenny Silberman faced changing times. The world was inching in a different direction, and by 1947 it was already evident to Silberman, as he walked the streets of New York, that the future “was what you made it,” he asserts. Never subtle, Silberman answered an ad in The New York Times promising “a HUGE opportunity” as a textile shipping clerk for $35 a week, landed the job, and went to night school to expand his industry knowledge and learn the fine art of selling. Together with his two partners – Sig Rosenberger and Marshall Kutz – and seven other hands-on employees, Silberman launched Duralee in 1952 from an office smaller than most modern-day walk-in closets.
On the road for six months at a clip, each fabric sale began with the librarian, keeper of the sample books. The consummate salesman, Silberman expanded sales territories with his belief that excellent customer service is paramount, an ideal that has carried through to today’s sales force.
As design centers opened in the 1970’s, Duralee knowingly entered in, and by 1991, the company was purveying fabrics to more than 40 countries. Silberman spearheaded the expansion of Duralee into hospitality and contract markets in the 1990s, a division that his daughter, Amy Silberman-Benjamin, Senior Vice President, now heads. Lee Silberman, a nephew, assumed the role Executive Vice President, and currently leads the export division, expanding the brand’s presence worldwide. Marty Rosenberger, son of founding partner Sig, has been with the firm for over 40 years and now holds the title of President.
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