FAIRHOPE – Bill E. Stitt, owner and head bacon maker of Bill E’s and Bill E’s Small Batch Bacon, is Alabama’s Silver Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales $1 Million to $5 Million category. “We’re a burger joint that sells its own bacon,” Stitt said.
Bill E’s is one of 11 businesses honored as the 2022 Retailers of the Year by the Alabama Retail Association. “We are so excited to be the recipient of the Alabama Retailer of the Year Award that we just can’t keep our bellies from shaking right out of the doors,” Stitt said upon learning of the award.
Stitt founded the casual dining restaurant in April 2011 originally as Old 27 Grill. He added Bill E’s Small Batch Bacon in 2018.
“I wanted the good people of Fairhope, Alabama, to have a no-frills place where they could kick back and enjoy an afternoon or evening of live music, lively conversation and killer grub,” he said. “Also, I needed a place to smoke and serenade my delicious bacon.”
The name change reflects his personal touch. “Most folks know me as Bill-E,” he said. “It’s always been my restaurant, but now you see my name a whole lot more.”
“Bill Stitt has an amazing story about developing his restaurant concept, which led to the creation of Bill-E’s serenaded bacon,” wrote Casey Williams, president and chief executive officer of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, in her nomination of Stitt. “Bill loves where he lives and gives a lot back to our community. He has served on the chamber board and is a true friend and supporter of our efforts. He weathered the COVID storm and continues to grow stronger every day.”
“The burger was really, really good,” noted one of the Retailer of the Year judges who has eaten at Bill E’s. “The personality of Bill is in his restaurant as well.”
“He’s built a brand around a personality,” another judge said. “I’ve never been there, but I want to go.”
One of his customers commented, “Love the food, atmosphere, people, vibes … but that bacon is the best.”
“The Small Batch Bacon has been growing over 50% annually,” Stitt said, noting that he ships to every state. “Restaurant growth is about 35%.” His goal for expansion is “to build a facility large enough to grow into other pork products and eventually other species.”
The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities. This year’s winners were selected from 42 entries submitted from a pool of 55 nominees.
“Bill Stitt is a retailer of the year EVERY year to his customers, his 25 employees and to the Fairhope community,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
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 4,300 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.