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 12 retail businesses with operations in 72 Alabama cities and 31 states as Retailers of the Year. The 12 winning Retailers of the Year were chosen from almost 50 nominees. The presentations were made at The Club in Birmingham during the 2013 Retail Day Luncheon. This marked the 14th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Stacie Money, president of Fringe, three consignment stores in the Opelika/Auburn area, earned the Gold Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million category. She is a cheerleader and supporter of downtown Opelika, small businesses and buying local. “Fringe has been an integral part of the revitalization of our downtown area,” Lisa Harrelson, community development administrator for the city of Opelika, wrote in support of Money. Barbara Patton, president of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Money, said, “Stacie is one of the best retailers and marketers I have seen.”
Pam Powers-Smith, director of the Opelika Main Street program, describes Money, who serves on the Main Street board, as “a kindred spirit in her determination and work ethic” and a “board member, event volunteer, garbage picker upper, ticket taker, drink pourer and barricade mover.”
Money and her family literally breathe, work and live downtown Opelika. “She, her husband, and children … live above their store in a renovated loft space with square footage larger than most average houses,” Patton said.
The Retailer of the Year judges were impressed with Fringe’s strong use of social media, its relationship with students at Auburn University and the way it treats its customers, including taking one lucky customer on buyer trips to major U.S. cities.
The small company has 1,000 text message users, almost 4,700 facebook likes and more than 5,000 on its e-mail list. Money also maintains a current and informative blog with the help of some of her employees, whom she says “do a great job with this aspect of social media marketing.”
Sang-Eun Byun, Ph.D., an Auburn University associate professor in the Consumer and Design Sciences Department, who wrote a letter of support for the consignment store president, said, “Every semester, groups of students design and install a variety of creative window displays in Fringe stores based on the in-depth analysis of the store’s target market and brand image,” Money provides “thorough comments … and real-world advice as to how to attract today’s customers through effective visual merchandising,” Byun added.
Every other year, Fringe picks a customer to accompany Money on an all-expenses-paid trip to a major city (New York in 2010 and Chicago in 2012). They get to bring a friend of their choice, go on a consignment shopping tour and see the city sights. “Our customers get very excited about it,” Money said.
Fringe’s original store opened nine years ago in downtown Opelika. It also has an Auburn store. Fringe Kids opened in February of this year just a few doors up from the main store in Opelika.
“The biggest compliment we receive and continue to strive to improve is our friendliness and level of helpfulness our employees show to customers as well as consignors in the stores,” Money said in her Retailer of the Year entry, which was accompanied by a half dozen letters of recommendations from community members.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Stacie Money is a retailer of the year EVERY year to her customers, her 14 employees and the Opelika and Auburn communities.”
Media Contact: Stacie Money, Fringe | 334.705.6727
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423