Alabama Retail plans ‘Shop Alabama for the Holidays’ tour stop in Orange Beach

ORANGE BEACH – The Alabama Retail Association has selected Orange Beach as a 2018 host city for its third annual Shop Alabama for the Holidays tour! Just in time for the busiest shopping weeks of the year, Alabama Retail will kick off the statewide shopping initiative and announce its new holiday hashtag campaign, #DoubleYourGift, during the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 5:30 pm at The Wharf.

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend; interview opportunities are available before and after the ceremony. A photo op will be held immediately following the Christmas Tree Lighting.

We are proud to partner with the City of Orange Beach, Alabama Small Business Development Center, Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and The Wharf for this exciting event. Our Shop Alabama message encourages residents to create a powerful ripple effect in their community by keeping their shopping, dining and leisure dollars local. We look forward to rallying around the local business community during the holiday season,” said Melissa Warnke, Communications Manager for the Alabama Retail Association.

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon added, “The City of Orange Beach’s commitment to business is a foundational value and we are excited to host the Alabama Retail Association as a part of their annual Shop Alabama Campaign. It’s always good for our restaurants and retailers to have statewide exposure and we appreciate this opportunity.”

In addition to the kick-off announcement, the tree lighting ceremony will include musical performances, letters to Santa, cookie decorating, hot chocolate, reading of The Christmas Story by Mayor Kennon and more. Santa will arrive on a firetruck and photos will be available in Marlin Circle. The Holiday SPECTRA Sound & Light Spectacular will conclude the event.

The Alabama Retail Association predicts 2018 will be the strongest holiday shopping season on record for the state, with more than $12 billion dollars expected to be spent in the months of November and December. The numbers represent a 4.5 percent increase in holiday spending this year than last. 

Other stops on the Shop Alabama for the Holidays tour include Clanton, Cullman, Dothan, Florence, Huntsville, Montgomery, Opelika and Scottsboro. Retail, including food and drink establishments, supports one in four jobs in Alabama and brings in $19 billion, or 9.5 percent of Alabama’s gross domestic product, placing retail in the state’s top five highest-producing industries outside of government.

When you #ShopAlabama you STRENGTHEN your local economy, SUPPORT your community and INVEST in the vibrancy of your city!


The small business community is the engine of Alabama’s growing economy,” said Yolanda Devine Johnson, business adviser with the Alabama Small Business Development Center.  “We are excited that the Alabama Retail Association is teaming with our local chambers to remind everyone of the importance to support your community, your neighbors and your family by shopping in Alabama.  Making this conscious effort during the Christmas Season and all throughout the year is a driving force to ‘strengthening Alabama’s economy one small business at a time’.”

The Wharf is proud to partner with the Alabama Retail Association as a stop on the ‘Shop Alabama for the Holidays’ tour,” said Jim Bibby, general manager for The Wharf. “When you shop Alabama-based retailers, you are not only supporting area businesses but also the community as a whole by keeping tax dollars local. We are excited to kick-off this all-important initiative at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Nov. 27.”

We are truly excited that the Alabama Retail Association has chosen The Wharf as a stop on the ‘Shop Alabama for the Holidays’ tour,” said Greg Alexander, president and chief executive officer of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber. “Our local economy is based on small business and the welfare of our community depends heavily on the success of our retailers.  Supporting small business means also supporting your neighbors and friends because an average of 60 cents from every dollar spent locally stays inside of the community.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Johnson Warnke | 256.338.0621 (c) | 334.551.0631 (o)


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 4,200 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.