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.
The managers and associates of the Mountain Brook location of Western Supermarkets earned the Silver Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales $5 Million to $20 Million category. The Mountain Brook grocery, which has existed for 54 years, has been at its current location for 40 years but is about to move to a new store. The new Mountain Brook location is slated to open in the spring of 2015. The Mountain Brook location is one of seven stores in the large, locally-owned, 65-year-old Birmingham grocery store chain. In 2003, the Vestavia Hills Western store was recognized as a Silver Retailer of the Year in the then $2 million to $10 million sales category. Western Supermarkets has been an Alabama Retail Association member since 1989.
The Retailer of the Year judges lauded the Mountain Brook store for setting an “unsurpassed standard for sales per square foot.” Ken Hubbard, Western Supermarkets’ chairman and chief executive officer, said in the store’s Retailer of the Year entry, “Western Mountain Brook has enjoyed consecutive sales increases the last six years overcoming a new Publix location, Whole Foods, Target and a major rebranding/remodeled Winn Dixie.”
Suzan Doidge, executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, who nominated the store, describes it as a local destination. “Everybody loves a trip to Western,” she said.
Within the upscale grocery store in Alabama’s most affluent community is the No.1 wine shop in Alabama, stocked with more than 2,800 selections priced from $5 to more than $1,000 and staffed seven days a week with three full-time staff members who have more than 70 years combined wine and food experience. The store also has an 800-square-foot floral department run by four designers that customers have come to rely on for their floral needs. Doidge specifically referenced “the ladies in the deli who have been devoted employees for more than 30 years.”
The store has 33 full-time and 58 part-time associates led by store manager Dale Smith. Western’s leadership has consistently been recognized for excellence by the Alabama Grocers Association with the chain receiving the AGA Retailer of the Year award in 1986, chairman/owner Ken Hubbard taking the award in 2003 and president Darwin Metcalf being honored in 2004.
This year’s Alabama Retailer of the Year judges commended the Mountain Brook Western for promoting local companies and entrepreneurs alongside the national brands carried in the store. The store features dozens of local startup industries’ products with no slotting cost.
The Mountain Brook Western also uses its strengths to benefit the community around it. The wine shop spearheads an annual wine and food event at the Birmingham Zoo that has raised more than $90,000 for the Emmet O’Neal Library since 2004.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “The managers and associates at the Mountain Brook Western Supermarket are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers and the entire Mountain Brook community.”
Media Contact: Ken Hubbard, Western Supermarkets | 205.879.3471
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423