Thursday, 23 June 2011 09:39

Florida's Top Retailers Honored Just 23 in Orlando

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Orlando, FL – Norman Love, owner of Norman Love Confections, Fort Myers; Laurie Olshefski, owner of Shimmering Seas Jewelry & Gifts, Panama City Beach; and Jesse White, owner of Sarasota Architectural Salvage, Sarasota, have been named by the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) as the 2011 recipients of the prestigious Retailer of the Year Award. They received their awards at a luncheon held in conjunction with the University of Florida's nationally acclaimed Retail Smarter symposium on Thursday, June 23, 2011, at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida. Dan Doyle, FRF chairman of the board, who is senior vice president of Beall's, Inc., Bradenton, made the presentations.

"We are excited to honor these inspiring, creative entrepreneurs who have turned their passions into successful business ventures," says Richard McAllister, FRF president and CEO. "Mr. Love, Ms. Olshefski, and Mr. White embody the spirit of outstanding retailing through their dedication to their customers and employees, plus their commitment to the communities they serve"

NORMAN LOVE, Norman Love Confections,, Fort Myers & Naples

Norman Love has a passion for chocolate – artistically designed, lusciously delicious, handcrafted chocolates. This passion led him to launch Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers in 2001. Using the finest ingredients from throughout the world to create his unique line of ultra-premium masterpieces, Norman has grown his company to be recognized worldwide. With their artistic designs, rich rainbow colors including reds, oranges, and purples, and unique flavors such as Tahitian caramel, key lime and passion fruit, each box of Norman Love Chocolates packs a "wow" factor. Among Norman Love Confections' numerous accolades is being named the top chocolate in the United States by Consumer Reports this year. Norman was honored as one of the "Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America in 2009 by Dessert Magazine, is co-founder of the National Pastry Team Championship, and is a regular guest judge on the Food Network Challenge series.

Norman prepared for his current success by studying pastry-making in France and serving as the executive pastry chef for many years at various luxury resorts. As corporate executive pastry chef for The Ritz-Carlton, he oversaw global pastry and bakery operations, opening 30 hotel and resort pastry kitchens in international and domestic locales including Boston, Dubai and Bali.

In his own business, Norman instills a corporate culture of relentless pursuit of innovation, excellence and quality. He empowers his employees and creates a positive atmosphere conducive to their success. He is dedicated to giving back to the community, with the company donating to more than 300 nonprofit organizations each year.

Complementing his original Fort Myers location, Norman recently opened a Chocolate Salon in Naples, setting the stage for further expansion.

Norman was nominated by Mr. Gary Baker, owner of Professional Insurance Services, Inc., Cape Coral.

LAURIE OLSHEFSKI, Shimmering Seas Jewelry & Gifts I & II,, Panama City Beach & Seaside

Laurie Olshefski knew she wanted to be the CEO of a corporation from the time she was teenager. She has successfully realized that goal through LAMO Inc., and realized success as a retailer. Laurie, who has been in retailing for 17 years, currently owns and operates four stores. They are: the Fitness Fetish Family Sport and Beach Shoppe (, Seaside, established in 1994; Shimmering Seas Jewelry and Gifts, founded in Seaside in 2002, with a second location added in Panama City Beach in 2008; and Jake at the Beach Life is Good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe in Panama City Beach (, opened in 2008.

Laurie, along with her husband, John, have created welcoming, fun stores offering unique items at affordable price points. Customers are made to feel special with exceptional service, parties, open houses, and designer trunk shows, among other benefits. Employees enjoy bonuses for working out regularly, continuing education and training support, birthday bucks and incentives in a caring, family atmosphere.

Laurie is an active, positive community leader. She donates time, through her church, to the Anchorage Children's Home and the Autism Education Center in Panama City. A certified yoga instructor, Laurie is an advocate for promoting a healthy body, mind and spirit. She donates yoga instructions to raise funds that support children and women in need, plus donates her time to teach interactive yoga classes to elementary age children at schools and churches.

In addition, her stores support numerous local fundraising efforts as well as contribute to charities that include St. Jude's Hospital, the Panama City Rescue Mission, Susan G. Komen, Bright Point for Children, and the Shriners.

Laurie was nominated by Ms. Beth Oltman, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce.

JESSE WHITE, Sarasota Architectural Salvage,, Sarasota

Jesse White founded Sarasota Architectural Salvage (SAS) in 2003 with a vision of building a business that served an environmental mission and helped people see the value in reusing and recycling. Blending expertise gained as the owner of an independent consulting firm offering recycling solutions to government entities with his penchant for the environment, antiques and architectural elements, Jesse has guided SAS into a resounding success.

Since opening eight years ago, Jesse has been able to triple SAS's current selling space and offerings. He and his employees find a steady supply of rotating stock by locating buildings slated for remodeling or demolition, and then removing anything and everything of value. They work cooperatively with historical societies and preservation groups. The result is an eclectic mix of architectural antiques and furniture, décor, garden art and building materials. Items range from door knobs to chandeliers and are sourced both domestically and internationally. The company also offers custom wood and iron furniture fabricated from salvaged materials. Ultimately, SAS is a popular draw for the general public as well as the interior design community.

Jesse shows appreciation to his long-term, loyal staff through providing such benefits as flexible schedules and insurance benefits, and recognizing them with random acts of kindness. His customers are treated to Saturday morning coffee and sweets during the winter, and summer holiday cookouts.

Jesse notes that SAS has built their success hand in hand with the community. He promotes a "Buy Local" message, among other campaigns, to help advance all of his area's businesses. Each year the company directs thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations, accepts consignments on behalf of local non-profits, and provides numerous in-kind donations.

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For Immediate Release: February 2, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

State’s leading advocate for retailers seeks nominations for deserving retail businesses; deadline for nominations is Monday, March 20

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year in supporting Florida’s retail industry, is now accepting nominations for its prestigious Florida Retailer of the Year award, which recognizes an outstanding retailer for sound business practices, and a commitment to their employees, customers and communities. Nominations must be submitted by Monday, March 20.

“As FRF celebrates its 80th year in advocating and supporting Florida’s retailers, we are excited about recognizing the best our industry offers with our annual Retailer of the Year award,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “We ask all consumers to support their favorite retailer by nominating them for this prestigious award.”

Eligible retailers are those who either own or are employed by businesses with sales volume of $5 million or less and have a physical presence in the operation and/or management of the retail business. People interested in nominating a retailer may nominate more than one, self-nominations are allowed and the retailer does not have to be an FRF member. Nominations can be submitted online by visiting and completing the nomination form, email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail to 227 S. Adams St., Tallahassee, FL 32301.

The retailer selected as Retailer of the Year will be recognized before a statewide audience during the Retail Smarter Symposium Thursday, June 8 at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg. The Florida Retailer of the Year award was started in 1999, and was awarded last year to Lisa Mergel of Kanvas Spa & Boutique in Tallahassee.

Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four 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. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.


For Immediate Release: January 31, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Floridians expected to shell out for food, drinks and decorations this year for Super Bowl LI, celebrating the unofficial end to another football season

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, says Florida families will spend an average of $75 per person to watch Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots next weekend. The average cost per person is down slightly from last year’s number with total spending nationally expected to reach $14.1 billion.

“Floridians love their football more than just about any other state, and with the Super Bowl being the final game of the year, we expect fans to celebrate the end to great seasons in both professional and college football,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “The Super Bowl is truly a must-see event for Floridians whether they follow the sport closely or not, and we expect local consumers to load up on food, drinks and decorations for their game watching parties.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual Super Bowl Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, of the 76 percent of those surveyed who plan to watch the game, 80 percent say they will purchase food and beverages, 11 percent will buy team apparel or accessories, and 8 percent will splurge on new televisions to watch the game at home.

According to the survey, the 45 million people hosting a Super Bowl party should expect a full house, with 27 percent of those surveyed planning to attend a party to celebrate the big game. Bars and restaurants can also expect a good turnout with 12.4 million people planning to head out to watch at their favorite local spot.

Over 43 percent of viewers say the most important part is the game itself, 24 percent cite the commercials, 15 percent want to hanging out with friends, and 12 percent of say the half-time show is their top highlight.

The survey also found that 78 percent of viewers watch the commercials for entertainment and 18 percent say they make them more aware of the advertiser’s brand, but only 10 percent say the commercials influence them to purchase products. Sixteen percent say advertisers should save their money and pass the savings along to the consumers, and 10 percent say the commercials make the game last too long.

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.

As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion.


FRF thanks Representative Jason Fischer who filed legislation in the Florida House of Representatives to establish a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday. Running from May 30, 2017 through June 5, 2017, this holiday will allow Floridians to purchase items such as flashlights, batteries, weather radios, generators and other essential items tax free.

Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Randy Miller stated, “After a decade without hurricanes, Florida got hit hard last year, and this legislation will help ensure Floridians protect themselves and their families following a disaster, while also allowing them to experience much needed tax relief. I want to thank Representative Fischer for sponsoring this important bill and recognizing the importance of having a disaster plan in place, which includes purchasing critical supplies like batteries, flashlights, radios and generators which will all be tax free.”

“Last fall, Hurricane Matthew crawled up the coast of Florida, hitting Northeast Florida particularly hard. Some of my constituents lost power for almost a full week following the storm. This bill relieves some of the financial burden of preparing for a natural disaster. I am proud to introduce legislation that is expected to save consumers $7 million,” stated Representative Fischer. “With millions of individuals moving to our great state every year, I want to ensure that natural disaster preparedness is at the forefront of people’s minds as dangerous weather begins to develop. This legislation encourages being prepared in advance, which could mean the difference between life and death,” stated Representative Fischer.

FRF looks forward to working with Representative Fischer and our legislative leaders in both chambers to ensure Florida retailers and Florida families experience the benefits that come with this tax-free holiday.


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