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 48 Alabama cities and 12 other states as Retailers of the Year. The 13 winning Retailers of the Year came from a pool of almost 70 nominees. The presentations were made at the Vestavia Country Club in Birmingham during the 2014 Retail Day Luncheon. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley presented the keynote address and signed a statewide proclamation declaring Sept. 23 as Alabama Retail Day. This marked the 15th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Ricky Bromberg, president of Bromberg & Co. Inc. , America’s and Alabama’s oldest family-owned retailer, earned the Gold Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales Annual Sales $5 Million to $20 Million category. Bromberg’s is 35 years older than the city of Birmingham, where the luxury gift and jewelry business is now headquartered, and one year older than America’s most famous jeweler, Tiffany & Co. The Retailer of the Year judges lauded Bromberg & Co. for being able to persevere and prosper for 178 years, noting that its “longevity is its greatest strength.” Bromberg & Co. operates two stores and a corporate headquarters in the Birmingham area. The Bromberg family also owns Underwood Jewelers, based in Jacksonville, Fla., which has four locations.
Bromberg and his family business is so appreciated that three chambers nominated him as a Retailer of the Year: Bill Powell, executive director of the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce; Suzan Doidge, executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce; and Victor M. Brown, vice president of minority and small business development for the Birmingham Business Alliance. Bromberg’s has been an Alabama Retail member since 1992 and was recognized in 2002 as an Alabama Centennial Retailer. Ricky Bromberg is the vice chairman of the Alabama Retail Association.
Seven generations of the Bromberg family have owned, operated or worked at the business founded in Mobile in 1836 by Frederick W. Bromberg. Ricky Bromberg is part of the sixth generation of the family business. Its founder was his great-great-great grandfather. In 2013, the American Gem Society presented the family with its Triple Zero Award. Triple Zero is a reference to the highest grade a diamond can receive. “The Bromberg family is a valuable member of not only the Society, but of our industry,” according to the Society.
Bromberg & Co. doesn’t prosper simply based on its history. As the Triple Zero award attests, it is an industry leader. In the past year, Bromberg’s has become an exclusive distributor for key brands, it created a David Yurman boutique in its Mountain Brook store and established the first “Rolex Corner” in Alabama in its Summit store. “We walk a tightrope to maintain our tradition of excellence yet remain a fresh retailer,” Bromberg said in his Retailer of the Year entry.
Bromberg & Co. also strives to support gemology as a career. All of its sales associates must be trained in gemology, and the company pays 100 percent tuition for its employees to the Gemological Institute of America until they become a Registered Jeweler or Certified Gemologist with the American Gem Society.
The Retailer of the Year judges praised Bromberg for his charitable pursuits, making note that the company constantly donates merchandise for silent and live charity fundraisers and every year underwrites the cost of a 30-foot Christmas tree erected in the center of Mountain Brook Village. Bromberg himself is the co-leader of a $7.5 million capital campaign on behalf of Camp McDowell, the camp and conference center for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. Bromberg has even made it easier for other Alabama businesses to give to charities. When state auditors told Bromberg’s & Co. in 2000 that the company owed $500 in back taxes and interest on items the company had donated to charity, Ricky Bromberg didn’t think taxing charitable donations was right and set about to change state law. Since July 1, 2006, under the Inventory Reduction for Charitable Purposes Relief Act, any donation of inventory valued at less than $10,000 is no longer a taxable event in Alabama, largely because of Bromberg’s efforts.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Ricky Bromberg is a retailer of the year EVERY year to his customers, his 37 employees and the Birmingham and Mountain Brook communities.”
Media Contact: Ricky Bromberg | 205.252.0221
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423