Nearly 200 retailers and friends of retail from throughout Connecticut gathered to honor two of the state’s leading retail businesses - Milford Photo, located in Milford, and Boscov’s, with a Connecticut department store in Meriden – as Independent Retailer of the Year and National Retailer of the Year, at the annual awards luncheon on Wednesday, November 16 at The Bushnell in Hartford.
In an informative and energizing day, CRMA members heard from leaders of the two award-winning retailers, whose determination and resiliency have created jobs and economic impact in their local communities and the state, and had opportunities to connect and network with fellow retailers.
Prior to the awards ceremony, retailers heard the latest regarding plans for the upcoming state legislative session from State Senator Rob Kane (R-Watertown), who discussed issues of importance to retailers, and responded to questions from about 50 retailers attending the session – the largest turnout in years. Of particular interest - for the first time in more than a century, the Senate will be evenly split, with 18 Democrats and 18 Republicans, which could have policy implications for businesses including retailers.
Next, retailers attending the seminar portion of the day received an in-depth view of the new federal overtime rules from Lizzy Simmons of the National Retail Federation. She provided a details on the new rules, prospects for changes by the Congress or the White House next year, and how retailers around the country are grappling with the requirements that take effect in December.
The award recipients were featured in videos, and gave in-person acceptance remarks, highlighting their approach to business, and the keys to success.
Milford Photo is located in the old Milford Trust building in the heart of downtown Milford and features a full line of professional and consumer camera equipment including the industry’s leading brands, as well as photography classes and digital transfers. Owner Jim Wilson said the success of his business centers around three words – “engage, educate, inspire.” Milford Photo is thriving in an industry that has contracted during the past decade because our “business is about taking care of people.” He added, “we have a great staff,” and understand that the “mission of our business is built around memories. We have not veered from that since we opened.”
Boscov’s has a rich history of serving the needs of loyal customers by offering a broad assortment of high quality and name brand merchandise at terrific prices, stressing customer service. Boscov’s is America’s largest family-owned Department Store, with 45 locations across seven states. Boscov’s came to Meriden a year ago, and Gary Boyer, Senior Vice President and Director of Stores, said the chain is “fighting the trend” with a full-line department store, and succeeding with a philosophy of “everyday values, great prices, and customer service. Customer service is what it’s all about.” He added, “We truly care about our communities. And we know how much it means to our customers.”
Said CRMA Board Chairman Tom Wholley, owner of Connecticut Mattress. “They represent the best in the Connecticut retail industry, and have achieved tremendous success by consistently working at providing their customers with the best shopping experience along with outstanding value and first rate customer service.”
Lead sponsor for the event was United Bank. Keep an eye out for next year’s Annual Awards Luncheon and Seminar. You won’t want to miss it – retail’s big day!