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 Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Dave Quinn (pictured left) and Joe Blaszczak (right), a former and the current manager of the Vestavia Hills location of Publix Super Markets, earned the Silver Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category. The other Retailers of the Year in the same sales category were: George and Tracy Jones with Century Automotive Group and Ricky Brooks with Express Oil Change and Tire Engineers. The 10-year-old Vestavia grocery store was the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Retail Business of the Year. Publix has been an Alabama Retail Association member since 2003. The Retailer of the Year judges lauded the grocery store managers for their excellent community service.
Karen Odle, president of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, who nominated the manager and former manager for the award, made particular note of former manager Dave Quinn’s action in a January snow storm that blanketed Birmingham during the morning rush hour and stranded thousands. Quinn managed the store through the first quarter of 2014. Blaszczak became the manager in May of this year.
“Dave not only kept the store open when employees were stranded, but took in anyone who was stranded on the highway and couldn’t make it home,” Odle said. “He not only took them in to the store, but cooked for them” and showed movies, she said.
The store also made its pharmacy available to 90 people who were stranded in the Vestavia Hills Civic Center without their medication needs, provided diapers to a daycare with stranded children and provided food for the Vestavia Hills police and fire departments.
Taking care of the community around it is an everyday occurrence for the grocery store and its managers. Among its many charitable pursuits, Vestavia Hills Publix provides food for 2,500-plus walkers for March of Dimes Walk Day each year. It donates day old bakery goods daily to Magic City Harvest; partners with several area elementary schools as a Partner in Education; and raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The amount its 168 employees donate to United Way each year rates in the top 10 among the 1,077 Publix stores. “They support and work with the scouting programs in the community, the churches, the nonprofits and many, many other groups and by doing so, it has proven to be a win-win for everyone,” said Odle.
All of this community involvement goes hand-in-hand with providing an upscale shopping experience. In 2013, the whole store went through a $3.5 million remodel, which was completed in five months with the store open for business the entire time. Much of the store was upgraded, the organic line of products expanded and an Online Easy Ordering process added to expedite customers request for meats, cheese and sandwiches.
For eight years running, the Vestavia Publix has won the best display for the Buy Alabama’s Best campaign, which increases awareness and sales of Alabama food products.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Dave Quinn and Joe Blaszczak are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers, their employees and the Vestavia Hill community.”
Media Contact: Joe Blaszczak, Publix – Vestavia Hills | 205.824.6005
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423