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 51 Alabama cities and 30 other states as Retailers of the Year. This year’s winners came from a pool of almost 70 nominees. The presentations were made during the 2015 Alabama Retail Day Luncheon in Birmingham. Stu Crum, president of Bridgestone Retail Operations, made the keynote address. This marked the 16th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Chet Chappelle, owner of Rountree Outdoors, a subsidiary of a Selma electric/appliance/hardware store that sells hunting and fishing supplies as well as apparel and firearms, earned the Silver Alabama Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million category. Diversification drives the success of this third-generation family business. The Retailer of the Year judges lauded Rountree for adapting its business model to meet the needs of shoppers in the community.
In 1934, Lucien Rountree began selling electric supplies for contractors and residents from historic downtown Selma, later moving Rountree Electric Supply Co. Inc. to its current location – a 25,000-square-foot building on Citizens Parkway. As the economy began to deflate seven years ago, the founder’s son-in-law, Chester Chappelle, and grandson, Chet Chappelle, knew that they were going to have to make some changes to continue to keep the family business viable. When a popular area gun store moved to Montgomery, the Chappelles did some market research and decided to begin selling outdoor fishing and hunting supplies. Rountree Outdoors was born and opened in 2008 inside Rountree Electric, occupying a portion of the store previously dedicated exclusively to lighting fixtures. “We needed to do something with this space to offset our loss of the sale of lighting fixtures,” Chet Chappelle said. The subsidiary now carries just about anything the avid outdoors enthusiast needs. “We try to get goods in here that other local businesses don’t have or that you have to travel out of town to get,” Chappelle said. “Everybody around here likes to hunt and fish and for us to have a job associated with that and get an award for it is awesome.’
Rountree Outdoors also “gives back to the community and local economy any chance they get,” said Sheryl Smedley, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, who nominated the younger Chappelle as a Retailer of the Year.
“We want shopping at Rountree Outdoors to be a family experience,” said Chappelle. “We also believe it is important to get involved with the community, making ourselves aware and responsible for what is going on in our city.”
Chet Chappelle has served on the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce board. He has also been nominated to the Leadership Selma-Dallas County Class of XXII. Rountree Outdoors sponsors and supports the Boys Scouts of America, Old Depot Museum, Cystic Fibrosis, Habitat for Humanity, Teen Challenge, Save-a-Life, Edmundite Missions, Blackbelt Benefit Group as well as local school fundraisers. Rountree Outdoors also sponsors a five- to six-year-old baseball team and keeps the team’s trophies on display in the store.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Chet Chappelle is a retailer of the year EVERY year to his customers, his three employees and the Selma area.”
Media Contact: Chet Chappelle, Rountree Outdoors | 334.872.2651
Media Contact: Melissa Warnke | 334.551.0631 (d) | 800.239.5423