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BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business, today recognized 15 retail businesses with operations in 39 Alabama cities and 24 other states as Alabama Retailers of the Year or Centennial Retailers. Together, these businesses employ 1,633 at 56 locations in Alabama. More than 70 nominations were submitted for the 2016 Retailer of the Year awards. These are the winners. The presentations were made in Birmingham during the 2016 Retail Day luncheon. This marked the 17th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999 and the 12th Alabama Centennial Retailer awards presented since 2002.
2016 ALABAMA CENTENNIAL RETAILERS
- Autry Greer & Sons Inc., Bay Minette, Bayou La Batre, Eight Mile, Fairhope, Grand Bay, Grove Hill, McIntosh, Millry, Mobile-based with six stores there, Prichard, Robertsdale, Theodore, Semmes, plus stores in Mississippi and Florida. Founded in 1916 by Autry Greer. The current owners are J. Barton “Bartee” Greer Jr., Jack V. Greer Sr., Jack “Jackie” V. Greer Jr. and Robert A. Greer.
- Swift Drug Co., Selma, founded in 1916 by George A. and William P. Swift. The current owner is William P. “Buddy” Swift III.
ALABAMA RETAILERS OF THE YEAR
A panel of judges chose the Alabama Retailer of the Year winners in four categories based on annual sales volume. Bronze, silver and gold awards were presented in three categories. The judges also selected two Emerging Retailers of the Year, innovative and effective Alabama retailers who have been in business for at least two years, but less than five years. All of the other winners have been in business for at least five years and an average of 23 years. More than 5,500 cast their ballots on Facebook for the Customers’ Choice Award.
ANNUAL SALES LESS THAN $1 MILLION
- GOLD AWARD: Linda Flaherty, owner of and designer for Once upon a time stores in Mountain Brook and Homewood; nominated
by her husband, Joe Flaherty; Harry Long, managing member of 81 Shop; and Suzan Doidge, executive director, Mountain Brook Chamber
- SILVER AWARD: Marguerite Ray, owner of Marguerite’s Conceits in Mountain Brook; also nominated by Doidge.
- BRONZE AWARD: Lisa Jackman, owner of What’s Popp’N Gourmet Popcorn in Huntsville; nominated by Ken Smith and Pammie Jimmar, Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County.
ANNUAL SALES $1 MILLION TO $5 MILLION
- GOLD AWARD: Jheovanny Gomez, co-owner of Jalapeños Mexican Restaurants in Tuscaloosa, Northport and Cottondale; nominated by Jim Page, president and chief executive officer for the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.
- SILVER AWARD: Garlan Gudger Jr., owner of Southern Accents in Cullman; nominated by Rob Werner, owner of Werner Trading Co.
- BRONZE AWARD: The Gray family, owners of Peach Park in Clanton; nominated by Janice Hull, director of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce.
ANNUAL SALES $5 MILLION TO $20 MILLION
- GOLD AWARD: Bryan Owens, chief executive officer, and Mike Elkins, president of Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro; nominated by the Jackson County legislative delegation, Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Travel Center, Jackson County Economic Development Authority and volunteer Gene Hess.
- SILVER AWARD: George W. Skipper III, owner of Tacky Jacks in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan; nominated by Yolanda Johnson vice chair of retail and business services for the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber.
- BRONZE AWARD: Mark and Susan Anderson, chief executive and chief financial officer for Eagle Eye Outfitters in Dothan; nominated by Hayden Camp, membership director for the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.
ANNUAL SALES MORE THAN $20 MILLION
- GOLD AWARD: John M. Wilson, co-owner of Super Foods Supermarkets in Evergreen, Greenville and Luverne; nominated by Francine Wasden, executive director of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce.
GEE EMERGING RETAILERS OF THE YEAR
- Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million: Avery Ainsworth, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Montgomery; nominated by Erin Ainsworth, Dorothy Ainsworth, District Judge Charles Langham, Cecily Jackson and Genie Pyrlik.
- Annual Sales More Than $1 Million: Andy Harp, founder of Frios Gourmet Pops with 30 stores by 2017, 16 in Alabama, presence in 24 states; nominated by Heather Brothers New, president of The Chamber, Gadsden/Etowah County.
CUSTOMERS’ CHOICE AWARD
- Megan Smalley, Scarlet & Gold in Auburn; nominated by Miranda Nobles; 964 of 5,593 votes cast.
“It is an honor to be able to recognize such an outstanding group of retailers. Each retailer honored is a credit to their community and the retail industry,” said Rick Brown, president of the Alabama Retail Association.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,100 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.