Since 1903, the founding principles of Retail Alliance have centered on the core value of service to our membership and to the retail community.
In 1902, the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce determined that retailers’ needs were different from most businesses. Thus, the Retail Merchants Association was created a year later.
The issues that were addressed by the new association were timeless in nature. They included networking opportunities, transportation, advertising, licensing, taxes, holiday closings, etc.
During the early years of the association, the extension of credit by retailers was a crucial part of day-to-day business. With the creation of the Retail Merchants Association (RMA) in 1903, RMA was in the right place at the right time to cater to the credit reporting needs of its members. In 1906, the purchase of the Norfolk Bureau of Credit was the ideal fit for the organization.
Throughout the years, RMA focused on credit reporting initiatives. Through automation and other peripheral services (mortgage credit reporting and recovery services), the credit bureau became a major revenue generator.
Changes in technology, automation, and national mergers supplanted the need for a local credit bureau and its peripheral services.
The credit reporting files were sold to Equifax, with RA Business Solutions continuing to represent Equifax as the Sales Agent in Hampton Roads.
Retail Alliance continues as the association and non-profit arm of Retail Alliance, providing advocacy, benefits, and education to retailers throughout the region.
The goals and strategies employed over the last century serve as a solid foundation for the coming years as the expansion of Retail Alliance continues and we strive for continuous improvement of offerings and representation for all local retailers.