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. This year’s winners came from a pool of almost 70 nominees. The presentations were made during the 2015 Alabama Retail Day Luncheon in Birmingham. Stu Crum, president of Bridgestone Retail Operations, made the keynote address. This marked the 16th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Steve Maddox, president and chief executive officer of Dothan-based Wireless Advantage Communications Inc., the only Alabama-owned and operated retailer for Verizon Wireless in Alabama, earned the Gold Alabama Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category. The Huntsville native has realized his mission to bring cell phone and wireless service to rural communities, growing his original Dothan store to 47 locations. Twenty-four of the stores, plus its administrative office are in Alabama. You can find Wireless Advantage stores in Alexander City, Attalla, Brent, Brewton, Butler, Chelsea, Dothan, Eufaula, Geneva, Irondale, Jackson, McCalla, Millbrook, Moody, Northport, Oneonta, Robertsdale, Sumiton, Tallassee, Trussville, Valley and Wetumpka. The other 23 stores are in Florida and Mississippi.
The Retailer of the Year judges described Maddox’s entry as “exceptional,” making particular note of increases exceeding 60 percent in the company’s sales growth, profits and sales productivity.
Maddox and Wireless Advantage Communication were nominated by former employee Hayden Camp, who is now communications director for the Dothan Education Foundation. Maddox, Wireless Advantage’s Director of Operations Justin Tiner and Maddox’s wife, Candice Maddox, who is the company’s human resources manager, “allowed me the opportunity to move up in the company from receptionist, commissions’ coordinator to HR assistant and payroll operator,” said Camp. “Without being able to move into those positions, I am not sure I would be where I am today.”
Employee satisfaction is primary for Maddox. “We have ramped up our employee benefits package to rival Fortune 500 companies,” he said in his Retailer of the Year entry. “We offer Blue Cross Blue Shield dual plans, dental, vision, life, short-term disability, 401k with employer match plus profit sharing, as well as paid time off.” Of Wireless Advantage’s 230 employees, 128 work in Alabama.
Maddox started working at a wireless company in customer service when he was an accounting student in Montgomery. He was working in wireless sales at the Gadsden Mall when a friend with connections in the Ozark and Dothan area convinced him to be an agent for himself in that area of the state. “I put roots down in Dothan and never left,” Maddox told the Dothan Eagle.
In her nomination, Camp marveled at Maddox’s vision and business plan to locate indirect Verizon stores “in rural locations so that the people of those communities don’t have to drive long distances to get friendly customer service, the best wireless service in the country and new jobs with opportunities for growth.”
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Steve Maddox is a retailer of the year EVERY year to the Wireless Advantage customers, its 230 employees and the 47 communities it serves.”
Media Contact: Steve Maddox, Wireless Advantage Communications Inc. | 334.479.8777
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423