BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association (ARA) in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business today recognized 12 outstanding Alabama retailers representing 10 retail businesses as “Retailers of the Year.” The presentations were made at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham during the 2010 Retail Day Luncheon. The event marked the 11th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Jimmy Ray Smith, vice president of Jimmy Smith Jewelers, a family-owned Decatur jewelry store and an Alabama Retail Association member since 1984, received the Gold Award in the “Annual Sales $1 Million to $5 Million” sales category. Smith’s father and the store’s owner, Jimmy D. Smith, was the silver winner in a similar category in 1999, the Retailer of the Year awards’ inaugural year. Wally Terry, director of general services for the city of Decatur, nominated Jimmy Ray Smith for this prestigious award.
“When it comes to retailer, father, husband, son, volunteer, leader, citizen or friend of the year, there is no choice other than Jimmy Ray Smith,” Terry wrote in his nomination of Smith.
“Jimmy Ray is able to balance family life, business life and volunteer life while maintaining a positive attitude,” said Terry, who refers to his friend as “Mr.Decatur.” Smith is past president of the Decatur Rotary Club, past chairman of Community Action of Morgan County, and past president of the Morgan County Tourism Bureau. He currently serves as volunteer chairman for the Alabama Retail Association and president of the Decatur General Hospital Foundation.
“He is who Decatur goes to for advice and help of every imaginable situation,” Terry said.
When sales were down in 2009, Jimmy Smith Jewelers began planning for a massive inventory reduction sale, the first large-scale sale the store has held since 1994. “We believe the timing could not have been better,” Smith’s Retailer of the Year entry states. “Sales are up 16 percent for the first two quarters of 2010 as a result of this promotion” in May and June of this year.
More than 300 customers were waiting at the front door the morning the sale began. The sale just didn’t benefit the business. Customers were asked to bring canned food, which was donated to Meals on Wheels and a Neighborhood Christian Center.
“(Jimmy Ray Smith’s) business prospers during bad times due to the service and quality of the relationships that have been built over many years,” Terry said.
Smith’s wife, Wendy, says integrity has something to do with it as well. “We did not inflate the price of our merchandise, nor did we bring in outside inventory,” for the inventory reduction sale, she said. “The trust we have established with our customers remains untarnished, which was a priority to our management team.”
Wendy works in the family business as does the Smiths’ son, Robby. Smith’s parents, Jimmy D. and Barbara, opened the jewelry store 37 years ago. The store now employs 35.
The philosophy at Jimmy Smith Jewelers is to approach each customer with a “servant’s heart.” “We believe that how a customer is treated is more important than the “bottom line,” Wendy Smith said.
ARA President Rick Brown said, “Jimmy Ray Smith is a retailer of the year every year to his customers, employees, the Decatur and Morgan County communities and the entire membership of the Alabama Retail Association.”
Jimmy Ray Smith, Jimmy Smith Jewelers | 256.353.2512
Nancy Dennis, Alabama Retail Association | 334.263.5757 Ext. 101 | 800.239.5423