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 Alabama Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Joe Richburg, owner and president of J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop in Opp, earned the Silver Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales $1 Million to $5 Million category. The store and service center that started as a repair business in the Richburg family’s backyard now sells outdoor and handheld power equipment, parts, four-wheelers, golf carts, utility trailers, indestructible ice coolers and metal structures. Taylor Wilkerson, secretary of J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop, nominated Richburg for the award. Her entry also came with letters of support from vendors and the chamber of commerce. J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop, the Opp and Covington County Area Chamber of Commerce 2012 Business of the Year, has been an Alabama Retail member since 2001.
“Joe Richburg has a passion for the betterment of Opp and continuously gives back to the community that has contributed to his success,” Emilee Gage, administrator for the Opp and Covington County Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a letter of support for Richburg’s Retailer of the Year nomination. “Wherever J.R.’s goes, Opp is along for the ride,” Richburg said in his entry. “We love promoting our town.”
Richburg is the immediate past president of the Opp Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a member of the Opp Utility Board, a member of the Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo committee, a sponsor and supporter of the South Alabama Speedway and chairman of the Lew Childre Steel Guitar Concert committee. Three years ago, Richburg started J.R.’s Christmas for the Kids, a Christmas party for the children in the community supported by J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop, other businesses and the community. “With the generous hearts of people in the community …, hundreds of children throughout the community have been blessed with the Christmas every child deserves,” said Gage. J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop also is a member of the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce.
The Retailer of the Year judges lauded Richburg and his business for its double-digit sales growth and expansion of its warehouse space. “This business has a strong history and strong growth,” the judges said.
For 19 years, Richburg worked at an automobile dealership in Andalusia. From 1986 until 1992, he would come home from that job and there would be a line of people waiting for he and his dad, Troy Richburg, to fix things for them. In 1992, Richburg turned his hobby into a full-time business, which has grown and prospered for the past 28 years. The business now occupies a 25,000-square-foot building and a nearby warehouse in Opp with an online presence that has expanded its customer base outside of Opp.
“J.R’s Lawnmower Shop is the true testament of a small town success story,” said Gage.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Joe Richburg is a retailer of the year EVERY year to his customers, 15 employees and the Opp and Andalusia communities.”
Media Contact: Joe Richburg, J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop | 334.493.9645
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423