BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business, today recognized 18 outstanding Alabama retailers representing 13 retail businesses with operations in 29 Alabama cities and 16 states as “Retailers of the Year.” The presentations were made at The Club in Birmingham during the 2012 Retail Day Luncheon. This marked the 13th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Michelle McGough and Paula Lecher, co-owners of Salon Allure Inc., a full-service beauty salon in Huntsville, earned the Gold Retailer of the Year award in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million Category. Salon Allure has been in business for eight years and employs 29. Ken Smith, director of research of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, nominated McGough and Lecher for this award. Salon Allure also was among 90 contenders for the chamber’s 2012 Small Business of the Year Award. Salon Allure has been an ARA member since 2004.
The Retailer of Year judges said Salon Allure “stood out … for its clear-cut and comprehensive staff development plan. Too often businesses call for innovation and reinvention and forget that employee training and development are how workers know how to deliver on that challenge. No one could work at Salon Allure and be able to say ‘I don’t know what’s expected of me.’ ”
Salon Allure partnered with several other industry professionals to open The Salon Professional Academy in 2009, which provides the salon with a steady stream of stylists. The graduates that move to Salon Allure start as associates and work with a mentor. Once they complete this level of training, they begin handling their own clients and develop a following.
Salon Allure also tracks retail sales and services performed by each employee and sets monthly goals. If those goals are met for consecutive months, employees can advance through a level system that allows employee to earn more. Recently, employees were allowed to become shareholders with the goal to eventually reach 100 percent employee ownership. What the judges called a “clear-cut performance/incentive plan” has led to annual revenue increases for every year Salon Allure has been in business.
The judges also lauded Salon Allure for recognizing that a consumer relationship outside of the salon was critical to maintaining their current customer base while attracting new clientele. “Utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms in a strategic and relevant manner keeps customers informed on the latest styles and trends and keeps them coming back to Salon Allure,” the judges said. Salon Allure also incentivizes customers to make referrals by awarding $10 in “Salon Bucks” with each new referral.
McGough and Lecher are active in their community. Involved members of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, they also give back through activities such as a cut-a-thon to benefit the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, having a team for Relay for Life, as well as volunteering for the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, Big Brothers Big Sisters, at Manna House and at the 2012 Summer Reading kickoff at the Huntsville Public Library. They also participated in Operation Prom to help those affected by the April 27, 2011, tornadoes.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Michelle McGough and Paula Lecher are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers, employees and the Huntsville community.”
ABOUT ALABAMA RETAIL
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Our 4,000 independent merchant and national company members sell food, clothing, furniture and other general merchandise at more than 6,000 locations throughout Alabama. ARA promotes what is best for the retailing industry in Alabama and has been doing so since 1943. From legislation to education, through communication and member services, ARA members benefit from the value of membership in their association. Retail works!
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