AUBURN / BIRMINGHAM – Oct. 18, 2016 – Auburn-based Scarlet & Gold is the Alabama Retailer of the Year Customers’ Choice Award winner. The lifestyle and gift retailer garnered the most votes in a Facebook contest, receiving 964 of the 5,593 votes cast in a July 15-24 poll. The Scarlet & Gold team accepted the award today on behalf of owner Megan Smalley at the 2016 Alabama Retail Day luncheon in Birmingham. Scarlet & Gold was one of 13 retail businesses honored out of pool of more than 70 nominees.
Miranda Nobles, who nominated Smalley and Scarlet & Gold for the award, said, “When thinking about a retailer that is making big things happen in the state of Alabama, Scarlet & Gold – started by Auburn alumna Megan Smalley – is the first place that comes to mind. The shop sells prints for the home, phone cases, scripture cards, greeting cards, tees, jewelry. But, their product catalog isn’t what’s bringing a wave of change to the state. Rather, it’s the message behind their products that is changing Alabama for the better.”
Smalley, who started the company in her home in 2013, says her company’s mission is to create, give, and inspire. “We are a team of Jesus-loving people who enjoy using our creativity to serve others.” After experiencing rapid growth of the online-only shop, the company opened in storefront in Auburn in September 2015. Smalley says the face-to-face interactions with her customers allow her and her seven employees to better fulfill their mission.
“That is so important to me and so important to our team because our customers are what keep this business going. They are why we do this every day,” said Smalley. “It’s also a chance to step back and be grateful for them.”
In addition to retail sales, the company also uses its platform to inspire, encourage and support worthy causes. The Give Grace campaign, started in 2015, began in support of Smalley’s journey with infertility but has transformed into a movement that empowers women to be more transparent with their struggles and to lift each other up along the way. In her nomination letter, Nobles wrote, “The Scarlet & Gold team is giving women the confidence to talk about their difficulties; the strength to keep going when the going gets tough; the courage to ask for help and abundant grace; and the knowledge that none of us are alone on our journeys.”
“When I started this business in the spare bedroom of my house, I never thought this was what I would be doing three years later, but I am so blessed to be able to come here every day and do what I love,” said Smalley. “I love the chance to serve our customers beyond their satisfaction while spreading the message of Christ’s love by passing along the joy that He gives us every day.”
The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards program presented by the Alabama Retail Association in conjunction with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, started in 1999. It honors outstanding retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities.
“Megan Smalley is a retailer of the year EVERY year to the thousands of Scarlet & Gold customers, both online and instore; its seven employees and the Auburn community,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,100 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.