BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business today recognized 19 outstanding Alabama retailers representing 13 retail businesses as “Retailers of the Year.” The presentations were made at The Club in Birmingham during the 2011 Retail Day Luncheon. This marked the 12th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Stuart Shevin and the management team at Birmingham-based Standard Furniture Co ., an Alabama Retail member since 1989, won the Silver Award in the Annual Sales $5 Million to $20 Million Category. “Standard Furniture began operation in 1912. Running a family business for four generations is an amazing accomplishment. Stuart Shevin and his staff currently operate a chain of 13 furniture stores with 96 loyal associates. I feel that his business is more than deserving of this award,” said Shane Spiller, president of Spiller Furniture Stores, who nominated his friend for this award. Besides Shevin, who serves as president, the team at the 99-year-old furniture company, includes Shevin’s son, Jacob, along with Mark Crayne, executive vice president of sales, and Greg Troncale, vice president of operations.
Standard has 12 locations in Alabama and one in Tennessee. In a tough furniture market, Standard saw its sales grow five percent last year; and so far in 2011, it has opened two Mattress Loft bedding stores within its existing stores with more on the drawing board. The focused store-within-a-store concept takes advantage of a fast-growing segment of the home furnishings industry.
Standard concentrated on training in 2010 with each associate tracking the number of customers coming into the showroom, the number making purchases and the average amount of each sale. “From the greeting to the conclusion of the selling process, each home furnishings consultant now has a path to follow to maximize the customer’s satisfaction with the goods and services we offer,” according to Standard’s Retailer of the Year entry.
The business no longer has to peddle its wares as its founder, Felix Shevinsky, did almost 100 years ago, instead, it uses Facebook and e-mail blasts to communicate with consumers and get its message out in a timely and economically efficient manner.
Stuart Shevin and his team haven’t abandoned their roots in downtown Birmingham with its flagship store still at 2020 3rd Ave. N. While Shevin says the heart of Alabama’s largest city may never again be the retail center it once was, it has evolved and has been revitalized even in the depths of the nation’s worst recession. “We have confidence in downtown,” he told the Birmingham News earlier this year. Standard Furniture has invested in all of the communities where its stores are located, he added.
Shevin has served as the company’s president for 33 years. He has distinguished himself as a national leader in the furniture industry, serving in 2000 as president of the National Home Furnishings Association. In 1995, the Southeast Home Furnishing Association named him as its Retailer of the Year for his contribution to his community, humanity and the furniture industry. He serves on the organization’s Active Past Presidents Council, having served as president in 1991. His son, Jacob, is the organization’s current treasurer. Jacob Shevin also is a member of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama Roundtable. The senior Shevin is a member of the Alabama Retail Association board of directors and has been a strong advocate for legislative reforms that benefit the retail industry.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Stuart Shevin and his team are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers, employees and all of north Alabama.”
ABOUT ALABAMA RETAIL
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Our 4,000 independent merchant and national company members sell food, clothing, furniture and other general merchandise at more than 6,000 locations throughout Alabama. ARA promotes what is best for the retailing industry in Alabama and has been doing so since 1943. From legislation to education, through communication and member services, ARA members benefit from the value of membership in their association. Retail works!
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