BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business, today recognized 18 outstanding Alabama retailers representing 13 retail businesses with operations in 29 Alabama cities and 16 states as “Retailers of the Year.” The presentations were made at The Club in Birmingham during the 2012 Retail Day Luncheon. This marked the 13th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Kendall Lowe Hamilton, general manager of Devan Lowe Inc. (devanloweinc.com), which sells and services automobiles at one location in Rainbow City and two in Fort Payne, earned the Gold Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category. Hamilton’s father and the dealership’s president and owner, Devan Lowe, was the 2003 Gold Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales More Than $10 Million category. Hamilton follows her father’s example by being an altruistic and encouraging leader in her community. “Hamilton seeks out creative ways to encourage her staff to get involved in philanthropy and community service, which builds stronger bonds for the people they serve,” said Heather Brothers New, who nominated Hamilton for the award. New is president of The Chamber, Gadsden and Etowah County.
Hamilton served the Gadsden-Etowah County Chamber of Commerce as its chairman in 2011 and is president of the Young Leader’s Society for the United Way of Etowah County. Devan Lowe Inc. strongly supports the United Way with its employees’ gifts averaging $125, four givers exceeding $1,000 in annual donations and Mr. Lowe contributing $10,000. High school seniors in Etowah County who make As and Bs can register to win a car from their dealership under the Devan Lowe Honor Roll Program, which draws from the entrants to give away one car annually. The dealership also has been a drop-off location for Toys for Tots and for the past 20 years has been a major sponsor of the Gadsden-Etowah Chamber’s Riverfest.
The dealership even linked its philanthropy to its social marketing. To support tornado relief, the dealership donated $1 for each new like on its Facebook page to the local Red Cross chapter. The promotion resulted in 1,200 new likes and a $1,200 donation.
While community service stood out, it was Hamilton’s and the dealership’s past year performance that most impressed the Retailer of the Year judges, who called Devan Lowe Inc., “a vibrant and growing business.”
The 29-year-old company continually meets or beats General Motors Standards for Excellence for quarterly sales quotas and customer satisfaction scores. Devan Lowe Inc. exceeded its GM quotas for all four quarters of 2011 and the first two quarters of 2012, according to Hamilton’s Retailer of the Year entry. For the GMC and Cadillac brands, the dealership also met or exceeded its General Motors’ Retail Sales Index score based on the market’s population and the number of new vehicles sold. Besides new cars, Devan Lowe Inc. also sells pre-owned vehicles. Its Rainbow City location currently is being remodeled to add space and updates.
Devan Lowe Inc. lives up to its slogan, “Where It’s Business Unusual.” The “unusual” approach includes no added dealer prep or administrative fees, a female friendly atmosphere, access to the only AAA-approved dealership service department in the area, courtesy shuttle service and complimentary car wash when purchased cars are serviced.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Kendall Lowe Hamilton is retailer of the year EVERY year to her customers, 34 employees, the communities of Rainbow City, Etowah County, Fort Payne and DeKalb County.”
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Our 4,000 independent merchant and national company members sell food, clothing, furniture and other general merchandise at more than 6,000 locations throughout Alabama. ARA promotes what is best for the retailing industry in Alabama and has been doing so since 1943. From legislation to education, through communication and member services, ARA members benefit from the value of membership in their association. Retail works!
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