BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, today recognized outstanding Alabama retailers representing 13 retail businesses with operations in 51 Alabama cities and 30 other states as Retailers of the Year. This year’s winners came from a pool of almost 70 nominees. The presentations were made during the 2015 Alabama Retail Day Luncheon in Birmingham. Stu Crum, president of Bridgestone Retail Operations, made the keynote address. This marked the 16th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Terrance “Terry” Finley, president and chief executive officer of Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc., the second largest book retailer in the nation, earned the Silver Alabama Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category. The Retailer of the Year judges lauded Books-A-Million for its ability to excel in an industry that is becoming increasingly digitized, pointing out “its successful year in sales performance compared to its most significant competitor.” Books-A-Million operates 258 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia, employing more than 5,400 people nationwide. Its 20 Alabama stores and Birmingham corporate headquarters employ 1,037. Books-A-Million has been an Alabama Retail member since 1984.
Finley has served as chief executive officer since March 2012 and as president since August 2011. He has held various positions at Books-A-Million since 1994. He was nominated as a Retailer of the Year by Ken Hubbard, chief executive officer of Birmingham-based Western Market. “As technology has evolved, the company has evolved,” wrote Hubbard. In addition to the Books-A-Million stores that include Joe Muggs® Cafès, the corporation includes a book wholesale and distribution subsidiary, Florence-based American Wholesale Book Co.; an e-commerce division operating as booksamillion.com; and a Nashville-based internet development and services company, NetCentral. Its retailing concept 2nd and Charles focuses on the buy-sell-trade marketplace for books, media and electronics and represents 10 percent of the company’s store count. BAM also is piloting Electronic Book Machine (EBM), a book printing robot in two stores.
Founded in 1917 as a street corner newsstand in Florence, Books-A-Million Inc. will begin a celebration marking 100 years in business in 2017. “I’m a merchant in my heart,” Finley said. “We have 5,000 associates out there putting books into readers’ hands. What we do every day is curate that selection and try to be the very best at what we do. We’re proud to be the second largest book book seller in the United States because of the commitment of doing that consistently for all these years.”
Books-A-Million is involved with several charitable pursuits, including Coffee for Troops, a program that donates coffee to soldiers and Veterans Administration locations; a summer book drive that generates 100,000 books for local schools and libraries; and a holiday book and toy drive, which gives back more than $1 million dollars to nonprofit organizations. Books-A-Million also supports Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and The Salvation Army. The company was also instrumental in establishing an Alabama presence for TechBridge, an Atlanta-based nonprofit dedicated to serving other nonprofits with technology tools, resources and relationships needed to expand their missions, especially those working to combat poverty.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Terry Finley is a retailer of the year EVERY year to the Books-A-Million customers, employees and the entire state of Alabama.”
Media Contact: Scott Kaplar, Books-A-Million | 205.909.1323
Media Contact: Melissa Warnke | 334.551.0631 (d) | 800.239.5423