Steve Appelbaum is retiring as chief executive officer of his family business, A. Lava & Son Co., effective Jan. 31.
“It has been my great honor and privilege to serve A. Lava for more than three decades,” Appelbaum said in a letter to industry contacts announcing his retirement. “I am proud of the organization we are today and the impact we’ve had, working with hundreds of outstanding people, customers and network contacts within our industry.”
Appelbaum has been part of the fourth generation of his family leading the Chicago-based industry supplier and has been with the company for 30 years. During his time there, A. Lava evolved from a supplier of a wide variety of bedding components to also become a maker of sewn mattress covers, a contract manufacturer and a fulfillment provider. The company, founded in 1917, originally was a textile supplier. It now employs more than 350 people. Irvin Products, a subsidiary of the Southfield, Michigan-based Piston Group, acquired A. Lava and its Supplied by Lava boxed bed fulfillment company in early 2021.
Appelbaum’s job functions will be absorbed by Keith Carbone, who will lead the company’s Chicago team, and Justin Szerlong, executive vice president, who will continue running Irvin’s new markets business unit, which includes A Lava. Adam Lava, Appelbaum’s business partner and cousin, will continue to lead the company’s sales and product development groups.
“I am leaving our business in excellent hands,” Appelbaum said. “Many of you know the A. Lava team, and I am confident that they will continue to carry out our values and use their talents to grow the business.”