TThe Retailer of the Year award, sponsored by FRF since 1999, honors Florida retailers who blend sound business practices with commitments to their communities, customers and employees.

The award program, which helps highlight the importance of all retailers to their communities and Florida’s economy, is open to both members and non-members of the non-profit trade association. Eligible retailers are all those who work for, own, or operate a Florida retail business that has an annual sales volume of $5 million or less. A selection panel made up of small business owners and other retail experts will consider nominees based on their scores in several categories, including community service and business acumen. The nominee selected as the 2017 Retailer of the Year will be honored at a luncheon on Thursday, June 8, at the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, in conjunction with the University of Florida’s Retail Smarter Symposium.

Hub City Smokehouse & Grill's Michael Carroll Named Florida Retailer of the Year

The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year in supporting Florida’s retail industry, today named Michael Carroll, owner of Hub City Smokehouse & Grill in Crestview, as its 2017 Florida Retailer of the Year. This is the 19th year in a row that FRF has selected a retailer of the year, and Michael will be honored with this prestigious award during a special luncheon on June 8 at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in St. Petersburg. Ray & Jody Hetchka of Kayak Amelia in Fernandina Beach and April Meier of Pawsitively Scrumptious Bark Bakery & Boutique in Crestview will be recognized as Outstanding Retail Leaders during the ceremony.

“We are proud to honor Michael as a tremendous representative of Florida’s retailers and the impact our industry can have both on our customers and community,” said R. Scott Shalley, FRF President & CEO. “Michael’s contributions locally, via his service on multiple non-profit boards and significant time spent volunteering, highlight the many ways that retailers are making a difference throughout Florida.”

Michael and his wife started the small Hub City Smokehouse & Grill in 2011 in a five table, 900 sq.ft. section of an industrial strip center. After gaining a well-known name and loyal following, Hub City moved to a location on Main Street in 2015. Creative endeavors such as shot glasses traded for BBQ, personalized aprons for regular customers, and unique menu offerings helped the business grow. Michael, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force, volunteers extensively in his community serving on boards of Main Street Crestview and the Crestview Local Planning Agency, has held positions with the Rotary and is active in school district and city youth programs. He also supports projects such as Wounded Warriors through Hub City.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the Florida Retail Federation as the 2017 Retailer of the Year, and I want to thank FRF for this award and for their continued commitment to our industry,” said Michael Carroll. “I also want to thank my wife, Loretta, our dedicated customers, and our incredibly hard working team at Hub City Smokehouse & Grill for their focus on excellent customer service, as well as service to our community.”

2017 Outstanding Retail Leader

Ray & Jody Hetchka | Kayak Amelia | Fernandina Beach
Since their beginnings as a “Mom and Pop” kayak operation 21 years ago, the Hetchkas have grown their business to offerings that include guided kayak, Segway and stand up paddleboard eco-tours, self-guided bike and kayak rentals and an earth-friendly gift shop. The couple has served on and worked with numerous boards and organizations that promote the Amelia Island / Fernandina Beach area and tourism in Florida. They donate their boats and other services for fundraisers. Coordinating with the National Park Service, the Hetchkas support the Timucuan Rangers, a program which brings children from Jacksonville’s urban core out to the beach.

2017 Outstanding Retail Leader

April Meier | Pawsitively Scrumptious Bark Bakery & Boutique | Crestview
Retired Air Force veteran April Meier started this retail store located in downtown Crestview four years ago. The business provides holistic pet foods and typical pet toys and accessories. April is active in numerous business organizations and also mentors other business members. Her singular efforts raised over $65,000 toward the completion of the Crestview Bark Park, which is scheduled to open this summer. She also helped raise funds for the Crestview Police Department to purchase two working canines and provided north Okaloosa County Area Fire Departments with “Waggin O2 Fur Life,” Aubu-Bag kits to assist with life-saving oxygen masks for pets that might be involved in a home fire, among other efforts.

Past Retailer of the Year Award Recipients

YEAR

NAME

COMPANY

LOCATION

2017 Michael Carroll Hub City Smokehouse & Grill Crestview
2016 Lisa Mergel Kanvas Spa & Boutique Tallahassee
2015 Jon & Betsy Hughes Track Shack Orlando
2014 Caroline Caudill The Chandlery Melbourne
2013 Shannon Materio McMow Art Glass Lake Worth
2012 Lisa Fournier Southern Photo Melbourne
2011 Norman Love Norman Love Confections Fort Myers (additional location in Naples)
Laurie Olshefski Shimmering Seas Panama City Beach (additional location in Seaside)
Jesse White Sarasota Architectural Salvage Sarasota
2010 Kira Powell Hard Rock Cafe Orlando
Jeff and Stephanie Schorr Craftsman House Gallery St. Petersburg
Dave and Karen West Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium Brandon
2009 Carl and Joan Allison Baya Pharmacy Lake City
Daniel A. Cash Floor City USA Pensacola
Cynthia S. Murphy Pies & Plates Punta Gorda
2008 Adele Aletti Gone Bonkers New Smyrna Beach
Sandy Fortin S & J Sports Lakeland
John Shepard Carpet One Floor and Home Panama City
2007 Richard and Chad Gardner Super Suds Tallahassee
Monroe Lee Kia AutoSport Tallahassee
Joe Taylor Avenue E and BLUE beach+home Apalachicola
2006 Roy C. Carter Bronson Ace Hardware and Pain Eustis
Scott Edmonds Chico's FAS Fort Myers
Kevin and Penny Jenness Peddlers' Wagon Eustis
2005 Don Bosko Beef O'Brady's Lakeland
Guy J. "Smiley" Merry Merry's Jewelers, Inc. Eustis
Lester Scaff Scaff's Inc. dba S & S Food Stores and Scaff's Market Lake City
2004 Patti Blaylock Sunset Coastal Grill Port St. Joe
Sam Varn Awards4U Tallahassee
Bruce Nelson Office Depot Delray Beach
2003 Aledia Hunt Tush CB's Saltwater Outfitters Siesta Key
Kelly Palmer Hayloft, Inc. Fort Myers
Al Rowland Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. Jacksonville
2002 Thomas Ferrante Modular Mailing Systems, Inc. Tampa
Alan Jay Wildstein Alan Jay Automotive Network Sebring
2001 Bill & Harriet Jackson Bill Jackson, Inc. Pinellas Park
Judy Orbeta Target Store #814 Royal Palm Beach
2000 Coleman Davis Badcock Home Furnishing Centers Seffner
Henry Falcon Kash n' Karry Plant City
1999 Judy Barney-Perez Arturo's Italian Restaurant Marco Island
Mike Harrell Inland Stores Bainbridge, GA