Monday, 13 June 2016 16:19

Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Eligible Items

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We want to remind you that, thanks to FRF’s efforts this past legislative session, Florida will hold a back-to-school sales tax holiday, taking place August 5-7. Each business should be receiving the Department of Revenue’s Tax Information Publication listing all the eligible items for the holiday in the coming days, but we wanted to share this document with you as soon as possible so you can begin preparing your business accordingly. Reminder that there is an opt-out provision for those qualified businesses whose gross sales of eligible items comprises less than 5%. Please refer to this document for a complete list of eligible items along with more info on the opt-out provision.

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

Mergel, owner of Tallahassee’s popular Kanvas Spa & Boutique, was selected as recipient of the retail trade association’s prestigious award; Jacksonville and Central Florida retailers recognized as “Outstanding Retail Leaders”

Lisa Mergel

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, today named Lisa Mergel, owner of Kanvas Spa & Boutique in Tallahassee, as the 2016 Florida Retailer of the Year. She will be honored with this prestigious award during a special luncheon on June 9 at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in St. Petersburg. Kristin Keen of Rethreaded in Jacksonville and Debbie Farah of Bajalia International Group in Winter Park will be recognized as Outstanding Retail Leaders during the ceremony.

“Lisa is a tremendous representative of the positive impact that retailers and the state’s entire retail industry have made on Florida, by not only helping their customers, but their community as well,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “We are proud to recognize her accomplishments of providing world class products and services in her store and providing world class help to those in need outside of it.”

Opened in 2007, Kanvas is a locally-owned one-stop shop, catering to clients for all their skincare, cosmetic and wellness needs, including facials, massages, body wraps, spray tans, nail services and make-up applications. Kanvas also offers a diverse mix of merchandise including French milled soaps, cosmetics, fine lingerie, candles and unique gift items. Kanvas sponsors the LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival, FSU Opening Nights, Junior League Operation Prom Dress, the Tallahassee Animal Shelter Foundation’s Tail & Trails and the Young Actors Theatre.

Lisa came into the retail industry by starting out working for many major skincare lines in New York and at various Neiman Marcus stores, traveling from Boston to Texas doing facial events. Lisa wanted to help others discover their true beauty, and in 2007, she moved back to Tallahassee to open her company. Since then, Kanvas has been a staple of the Tallahassee business community including moving into a larger location just five years after opening and expanding their product and service offerings.

“I am honored to be selected as the 2016 Florida Retailer of the Year, and I want to thank the Florida Retail Federation for their continued support of our industry and for shining the spotlight on the larger role that retailers can play in their local community,” said Lisa Mergel. “I also want to thank my incredible team at Kanvas for their hard work, support and dedication towards ensuring that all of our customers have the best experience possible.”

Lisa’s contributions to her community are extensive. Since moving back to Tallahassee, Lisa has volunteered with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better Program, been a board member of Keep Tallahassee/Leon County Beautiful, a member of the Tallahassee Garden Club, Elder Care Meals on Wheels and a board member of the Tallahassee Italian American Club. Lisa also gives back to her community by donating to the Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, Elder Care Services, American Heart Association, Boys Town and Tree House.

Outstanding Retail Leaders

Two other retailers were honored as “Outstanding Retail Leaders” for their commitment to the retail industry and their community. These retailers will also be recognized at the 2016 Florida Retailer of the Year awards ceremony in June:

Kristin Keen | Rethreaded | Jacksonville
Rethreaded is a social entrepreneurship that is helping to break the cycle of the sex trade by offering viable and creative work to those who were affected by the sex trade but have since found freedom from it. Executive Director Kristin Keen lived and worked for five years in Kolkata, India where she encountered the life-stealing effects of the sex trade on a daily basis. Rethreaded has positively impacted the lives of over 2,200 women around the world by “upcycling” donated t-shirts into beautiful original creations while also selling products crafted by these women. Kristin provides specialized training for a vulnerable population that comes from severe trauma and a limited work history. She and her team show these impacted employees that retail is a viable business and they can build a career from their work experience at Rethreaded.

Debbie Farah | Bajalia International Group | Winter Park
Founded in 2009, Bajalia International Group is a certified jewelry, fashion accessories and home décor e-retailer. Bajalia’s goods are handmade by artisans in emerging economies in 28 different countries, and through their social enterprise business model the company connects consumers with the stories of the sustainable global impact. Bajalia works to ensure living wages, workplaces free of exploitation and education for all women working within the network. CEO Debbie Farah promotes the retail industry through engagements as a WeVenture Founding Board member, an Advisory Board Member of Women’s Worth, and through Rollins College Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Initiative among others. Debbie and her team are very involved in the Central Florida community, including as an Orlando Museum of Art-Council of 100 member, Dress for Success and HSN Cares. Debbie herself has been honored by the U.S. Department of State, the Business Council of Peace, the United Nations and the Red Cross for providing opportunities to global artisans.

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.

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Monday, 02 May 2016 14:10

Near Record Spending Expected this Mother's Day

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For Immediate Release: May 2, 2016
Contact: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850) 701-3015

Suni

As economy continues to remain strong, families will be looking to shower moms with jewelry, flowers, meals and electronics the most popular options

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, says Florida mothers can expect another year of special gifts from their loved ones, as family spending will reach $172.22 this year, down just slightly from last year’s record high total of $172.63. This year’s total remains more than $10 higher than 2014. Total spending nationally is expected to reach $21.4 billion, with 84 percent of consumers celebrating the holiday.

“It’s wonderful to see families wanting to celebrate and honor their mothers and we expect near record spending once again,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “Florida’s economy continues to outpace the national economy, which should bode well for Sunshine State retailers who price items right and take advantage of the expected increased sales opportunities.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s 2016 Mother’s Day Spending Survey, consumers plan to spend $4.2 billion on jewelry (given by 35 percent of shoppers), $4.1 billion on special outings such as dinner or brunch (given by 55 percent), $2.4 billion on flowers (66 percent), $2.2 billion on gift cards (43 percent), $1.9 billion respectively on clothing (35 percent) and consumer electronics (14 percent) and $1.6 billion on personal services, like a day at the spa (23 percent). Greeting cards are the most commonly purchased gift at 78 percent of those surveyed but account for only $792 million of the projected spending.

Consumers were asked for the first time about “gifts of experience” such as tickets to a concert or sporting event. According to the survey, 24 percent want to receive such a gift and 22 percent plan to give it.

When searching for the perfect gift, 33 percent of consumers will head to department stores and 29 percent will shop at specialty stores, while 23 percent plan to shop at a local small business. But not everyone will make it to a store: 27 percent will shop online, up from 25 percent last year. Among smartphone owners, 30 percent will research gift ideas on their phones while 16 percent will use them to make a purchase.

The survey of 7,000 consumers was conducted April 5-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is 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 more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
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. www.nrf.com.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016 09:07

FRF Thanks Governor Scott for Signing Tax Package Today

Written by

For Immediate Release: April 13, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, today announced support for Governor Rick Scott signing Florida’s 2016-17 tax package into law. This tax package will provide needed tax relief to Florida families and an economic boost to Florida retailers with the inclusion of the popular back-to-school sales tax holiday, taking place August 5-7.

“By signing the tax package today, Governor Scott ensured that millions of Florida families will continue to experience needed tax relief as they purchase vital supplies for their children to prepare them for the upcoming school year,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “We look forward to the savings that consumers will enjoy and the increased sales for retailers during the anticipated back-to-school sales tax holiday shopping weekend.”

The back-to-school sales tax holiday, taking place Friday, August 5 and running through Sunday, August 7, allows consumers statewide to avoid paying sales tax on any eligible items, including all school supplies up to $15 and all clothing up to $60. No technology items are eligible this year. For retailers, an opt-out provision is provided for those stores where the eligible items comprise less than 5% of store sales.

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