Alabama Retail Association Chairman Ricky Bromberg has been honored as one of the five finalists for the America’s Retail Champion Award, which a South Dakota ranch supply owner won. “It’s important to get involved in your trade association, whether it’s on a state level or a national level. Retailers need to work together to make our voice heard. If we don’t speak for ourselves, no one else will,” Bromberg said in a video presented when the finalists were announced Tuesday, May 24, at a dinner in Washington, D.C., during the National Retail Federation’s Retail Advocates Summit.
Bromberg & Co. Inc., which the Bromberg family has operated for 180 years this year, is America’s oldest known family retailer and Alabama’s oldest retailer. The company’s two Birmingham area stores employ 38. Bromberg & Co. has been an Alabama Retail member since 1992, and the company and its president were recognized in 2014 as the Gold Alabama Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales Annual Sales $5 Million to $20 Million category.
Bromberg is a leader in his family business (president), in his local business community (on the board of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce), in the state (head of the state retail association) and the nation (American Gem Society 2013 Triple Zero Award).
He has served on ARA’s board of directors since 2006 and as a member of the executive committee since 2013. He constantly engages with Alabama legislators and has traveled with the association to Washington, D.C., on numerous occasions on such issues as efairness. He, along with other members of the Alabama Retail executive committee, have met with the Alabama legislative delegation over two days discussing issues of importance to the state’s retailers.
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 Bromberg brought the issue to the attention of the Alabama Retail Association lobbying team.
“I’m pretty proud that it really passed! It’s a great example of what the association can do on behalf of its members,” Bromberg said.
NRF also honored Terry Shea, co-owner and vice president of Wrapsody in Hoover and Auburn, as one of 41 nominees for the American’s Retail Champion award, which honors retailers who engage in grassroots and advocacy efforts on local, state and federal issues affecting the retail industry.
Shea is a member of the Alabama Retail Association board of directors and is an active participant in ARA’s member programs, readily volunteers to act as a mentor to new retailers, is an Alabama Retailer of Year (2011), talks to the media frequently about retail issues, serves on the Hoover Chamber of Commerce board and works diligently to promote retail whenever the opportunity arises.
Last summer’s Retail Advocate Summit was Shea’s first trip to Washington, D.C. Shea said the one-on-one with Alabama’s elected leaders was her favorite part of the trip. NRF later asked all of the 2015 Retail Champions for more feedback on the proposed federal overtime regulations. Ultimately, NRF chose Shea to testify on behalf of the nation’s retailers at a congressional hearing on that issue in the fall. “To be able to speak for small business and small retailers was HUGE,” she said. “I was so humbled by it.”
Wrapsody began in 2014, and its two stores employ 43.
Two other members of the Alabama Retail Association executive committee traveled with Bromberg and Shea to Washington: Vice Chairman Jacob Shevin, owner/president of Standard Furniture Co., a 104-year-old, 14-store chain in Alabama and Tennessee that employs 99, and Immediate Past Chairman George Wilder, owner/president of The Locker Room in Montgomery and Auburn. Wilder was named a Top 5 finalist for America’s Retail Champion of the Year in 2015. The Locker Room, founded in 1977, employs 14.
More about Bromberg’s (video)
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.