2016 brought many milestones to the membership of Retail Alliance. Staff has worked diligently to provide the best value proposition possible to our members.

If you consider all of the services provided to our membership; Advocacy, Education, Buy Local (LOVEVA), Breakfast Club, Retailer of the Year (ROTY), Loss Prevention Task Force luncheons, STRIVE Webinars, etc, the per member cost runs in the thousands! A bargain when you consider that our member’s dues only account for a small percentage of the overall cost.

Let’s take a look at some of our successes during 2016.

  • The Breakfast Club has gained in popularity during the past year, attendance of both the Southside and Peninsula breakfasts has reached over 600 attendees! The member surveys for each forum have averaged a rating of “4.8” with “5” being the highest rating. Members enjoyed the networking, camaraderie and speaker presentations. Full breakfast and a Bloody Mary or Mimosa at the member price of $15, half the actual cost, makes for a great bargain to start your day.
  • The Virginia Retail Federation, the advocacy arm of Retail Alliance, represents over 10,000 storefronts in the state of Virginia; quite a powerhouse in the General Assembly. 2016 marks a major milestone for the VRF, we became a TRUE STATEWIDE organization! Our two full time lobbyists, Kate Baker and Jodi Roth, have saved Virginia retailers millions of dollars as it relates to legislative issues that impact business. For example: felony threshold, plastic bags, accelerated sales tax, Amazon Loophole, ABC, minimum wage, Airbnb, cigarette/tobacco tax, right-to-work and much more. Don’t think for a minute that advocacy does not equate to a tangible benefit. Without someone taking up the battle on your behalf, the cost of operating a small business would be astronomical.
  • LOVEVA has seen a growth of over 200% in downloads and transactions year over year. With over 350 participating businesses, both consumers and businesses are reaping the benefits of buying local. Our community wins, our economy wins plus it’s fun to use the app that loves you back. Just going to Farm Fresh and saving $20 on a $70 purchase is crazy!
  • The kick-off of our STRIVE Lunch n Learn webinars has provided topics that impact businesses on a daily basis. Our subject matter experts helped guide our members through issues involving; Lease Negotiations, Medicare & Medicaid, Marketing & Advertising, Cyber Security, Overtime Laws, Merchandising and Health Insurance.
  • Loss Prevention Task Force, every 4th Tuesday of the month, has grown “Big Time,” to just about capacity!! A free lunch where our local law enforcement, security providers and retailers get together, break bread, and discuss issues that impact local retailers as it pertains to loss. Topics range from shoplifting, business continuity during emergency times, workplace violence, retailer rights, interrogation practices, human resources, etc.
  • Retailer of the Year (ROTY), our annual gala celebrating the best of the best in retail. This year we had over 200 attendees coming together in a fun environment (the masquerade) supporting our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient as well as the best in retail. The awards span over several categories leading to the overall winner. It’s a time to relax, laugh, eat, drink and be with your peers!
  • The Center for Retail Excellence, our newest and most exciting educational initiative, is a seven-part program designed to provide participants with the preparation necessary to operate a successful retail business. The program is designed to be completed over nine months of course work using a combination of distance and face-to-face learning. The program uses the concept of the Seven Pillars of Retail Excellence as the framework for presenting the key elements of successful retail operations, with each course corresponding to one of the pillars.

Member value is a hard thing to calculate. As a retail association, we strive to serve our members in the most effective and cost-saving manner possible. Our members face challenges daily from the collection of taxes, fees, online sales, BPOL, regulations, small profit margins and just total lack of resources. Our mission, “to be a trusted resource for the success of local retailers,” drives us every day to provide tangible value that members can fully appreciate and utilize.

Thank you for your loyalty, thank you for your trust; our commitment is to continue to serve in hopes of helping you succeed in fulfilling your dreams!

Ray