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 12 retail businesses with operations in 72 Alabama cities and 31 states as Retailers of the Year. The 12 winning Retailers of the Year were chosen from almost 50 nominees. The presentations were made at The Club in Birmingham during the 2013 Retail Day Luncheon. This marked the 14th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Marco and Elan Morosini, owners of the Silvertron Café, a casual restaurant and bar in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood, earned the Silver Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million category. While running a restaurant is how they make their living, the Morosinis’ primary purpose is building community. Six years ago, the couple bought the neighborhood staple that had fallen on hard times, revitalized it and helped reinvigorate the area around the 27-year-old business, which employs 14 full time and seven part time.
“They have energized the community and area merchants through partnerships and events,” said Victor M. Brown, vice president of minority and small business development for the Birmingham Business Alliance, who nominated the couple for the award. The alliance already honored Silvertron as its 2012 Small Retail Business of the Year.
The couple has been instrumental in such community events as the Movies at Avondale Park, a free movie night underwritten by Silvertron and other neighborhood businesses; and Third Friday in Forest Park & South Avondale, a cooperative event promoted by the merchants and art galleries in the two neighborhoods.
“I’m amazed how involved they are with community events while managing a fantastic restaurant,” said Jamie Whitehurst, development director for Birmingham AIDS Outreach, which also benefits from its association with the restaurant. Every time Silvertron patrons mention Birmingham AIDS Outreach or write BAO on their receipt, Silvertron donates 10 percent of their tab to the organization.
The couple also helps with fund-raising for AIDS Alabama, sponsors baseball teams, provides mentally disabled students with internships at the restaurant and spearheads efforts for garbage cans and other beautification projects for the neighborhood. They’ve worked on several projects to promote the needs of Avondale Elementary School including the sale of holiday cards featuring student’s artwork and arranging a school choir performance at a December Third Friday.
An “increase in neighborhood events, attendance at events and co-operative marketing across businesses in our neighborhood has resulted in increased sales,” the Morosinis said in their Retailer of the Year entry. The Retailer of the Year judges’ commended the couple for using their retail business to promote civic mindedness and build a bridge between the community and its businesses while generating double digit sales increases.
Although he is a native of Italy, Marco Morosini has implanted himself in the Birmingham community. He serves as president of the Forest Park South Avondale Merchant Association and is among the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 Top 40 Under 40. Elan Morosini this year was among the inaugural recipients of the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama’s Volunteer of Excellence in Girl Scouting award.
In the midst of all their community activities, the Morosinis do operate a restaurant. “Silvertron is where the locals go, it is the heart and pulse of the neighborhood,” said James Little, district manager of REV Birmingham.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Marco and Elan Morosini are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers, their 21 employees and the Birmingham, Avondale and Forest Park communities.”
Media Contact: Marco and Elan Morosini, Silvertron Café | 205.591.3797
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423