For Immediate Release: May 25, 2017
Carroll, owner of Crestview’s growing popular BBQ restaurant, was selected as the recipient of retail trade association’s prestigious award for his service to customers and community
TALLAHASSEE, FL – 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.”
Two other retailers will be honored as “Outstanding Retail Leaders” for their commitment to the retail industry and their community. These retailers will also be recognized at the 2017 Florida Retailer of the Year awards ceremony in June:
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.
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.
The 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. FRF issues a statewide call for nominations, with the award 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. Nominations were received from communities around the state. A selection panel made up of small business owners and other retail experts ranked nominees based on their scores in several categories, including community service and business acumen.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.