NRF recognizes America’s Retail Champions

“Small business owners are the backbone of America’s economy. NRF is proud to recognize these hardworking individuals in Washington this week as the industry’s most engaged retail advocates.”

Matthew Shay
NRF President and CEO

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today announced the selection of Florida retailer Lisa Mergel as the 2018 America’s Retail Champion of the Year as small retailers from across the country were honored for their advocacy on behalf of the industry at NRF’s Retail Advocates Summit.

“Small business owners are the backbone of America’s economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “NRF is proud to recognize these hardworking individuals in Washington this week as the industry’s most engaged retail advocates.”

“Lisa’s track record speaks for itself,” Shay said. “She’s an integral member of the Florida Retail Federation and a mentor to college students pursuing a career in the industry. And she has led the charge in advancing critical policy initiatives important to the retail sector at both the state and federal levels.”

Mergel is the owner of Kanvas, a boutique day spa and beauty products store in Tallahassee that she opened in 2007. The business has 10 employees and offers an internship program for Florida State University students studying retail business and merchandising.

Mergel, who was recognized as the Florida Retailer of the Year in 2016, was selected from a group of five finalists who included Sean Brownlee of Ravenox, a rope manufacturer and retailer in Burlington, N.C.; Tom Largay of Old Port Cards in Portland, Maine; Nicole Panettieri of The Brass Owl boutique in New York City; and Linda Taylor of VK Electronics in McCook, Neb.

The America’s Retail Champions program, now in its fifth year, honors retailers who make their mark on public policy debates affecting the industry. Over 40 retailers from across the nation ranging from online sellers to small and mid-size store owners were nominated by state retail associations and their peers based on engagement in public policy discussions at the local, state and national level.

Participants will meet with members of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill today to discuss the retail industry’s public policy agenda and priorities.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.