For Immediate Release: May 25, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

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.

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Published in Media Relations

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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Published in Media Relations