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. The 13 winning Retailers of the Year came from a pool of almost 70 nominees. The presentations were made at the Vestavia Country Club in Birmingham during the 2015 Alabama Retail Day Luncheon. Stu Crum, president of Bridgestone Retail Operations, presented the keynote address. This marked the 16th 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 Forest Park neighborhood, earned the Bronze Alabama Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales $1 Million to $5 Million category. Sales exceeding $1 million made it possible for the silver (2013) and gold (2014) winner in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million category to jump into the next level of the Retailer of the Year awards. While running a restaurant is how they make their living, “what we really “sell” is our neighborhood – a historic neighborhood undergoing a revival,” their Retailer of the Year entry states. Eight years ago, the couple bought the neighborhood staple that had fallen on hard times, revitalized it and helped reinvigorate the area around the 29-year-old business, which employs 22 part time.
Other milestones that prompted Elan Morosini to complete another Retailer of the Year entry: “Marco managed to pull together enough sponsors to bring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra back to Avondale Park for the first time in 80 years, and his Leadership Birmingham class task group is putting into action a plan to feed the homeless at a city warming station this winter.” Partnerships have been created with United Way, Community Food Bank and local restaurants, the Morosini’s Retailer of the Year entry states. Close to $9,000 has been raised and four restaurants have agreed to help. Silvertron itself, using funds donated by neighbors, has purchased, cooked and delivered hot, nutritious food to feed 200 to 300 homeless, 12 times between 2013 and 2015 at Birmingham’s Boutwell Warming Station.
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.
“As a business owner, you draw the line where a business is. For some, it is the front door and the back door. For others and me, it is the community where the restaurant is,” said Marco Morosini, who serves as president of the Forest Park South Avondale Merchant Association. Through that association, this past fall, Silvertron and other merchants installed WiFi throughout the area, which advertises local businesses as users sign on.
The couple helps with fund-raising for AIDS Alabama, sponsors a baseball team, provides mentally disabled students with internships at the restaurant and spearheads efforts for garbage cans and other beautification projects for the neighborhood. Through REV Birmingham’s Urban Food Project, the restaurant even uses local products. “We are proud to be able to support regional farmers, and bring fresh, local goods to our customers,” the Morosinis said.
“We are a cornerstone part of this community,” said Elan Morosini. “People have had their first date here, first dinner after getting married here, then have come back and had their first meal after having had a child here. It is important that we continue the tradition of Silvertron in this community. It makes us very proud to be a part of business in this community.”
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Marco and Elan Morosini are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers, their 22 employees and the Birmingham, Forest Park and Avondale communities.”
Media Contact: Marco and Elan Morosini, Silvertron Café | 205.591.3797
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423