FFlorida Retail Federation Accepting Nominations for 2017 Florida Retailer of the Year Award

Florida Retail Federation 2017 Florida Retailer of the Year Award The Florida Retail Federation’s prestigious Florida Retailer of the Year award program recognizes an outstanding retailer for sound business practices, and a commitment to their employees, customers and communities. Entry forms and supplemental materials from 2017 nominees must be submitted to FRF by Monday, April 17, for the retailer to be considered for this award.

“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 R. Scott Shalley. “We appreciate everyone who took time to nominate their favorite retailers for this prestigious award and for their support of Florida’s retail industry.”

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. Multiple and self-nominations were allowed and retailers do not have to be an FRF member to be nominated.

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.

Kanvas Spa & Boutique's Lisa Mergel Named 2016 Florida Retailer of the Year

Lisa Mergel, owner of Kanvas Spa & Boutique in Tallahassee, is the 2016 Florida Retailer of the Year award winner. 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.

2016 Outstanding Retail Leader

Kristin Keen | Rethreaded
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.

2016 Outstanding Retail Leader

Debbie Farah | Bajalia International Group
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.

Past Retailer of the Year Award Recipients





2016 Lisa Mergel Kanvas Spa & Boutique Tallahassee
2015 Jon & Betsy Hughes Track Shack Orlando
2014 Caroline Caudill The Chandlery Melbourne
2013 Shannon Materio McMow Art Glass Lake Worth
2012 Lisa Fournier Southern Photo Melbourne
2011 Norman Love Norman Love Confections Fort Myers (additional location in Naples)
Laurie Olshefski Shimmering Seas Panama City Beach (additional location in Seaside)
Jesse White Sarasota Architectural Salvage Sarasota
2010 Kira Powell Hard Rock Cafe Orlando
Jeff and Stephanie Schorr Craftsman House Gallery St. Petersburg
Dave and Karen West Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium Brandon
2009 Carl and Joan Allison Baya Pharmacy Lake City
Daniel A. Cash Floor City USA Pensacola
Cynthia S. Murphy Pies & Plates Punta Gorda
2008 Adele Aletti Gone Bonkers New Smyrna Beach
Sandy Fortin S & J Sports Lakeland
John Shepard Carpet One Floor and Home Panama City
2007 Richard and Chad Gardner Super Suds Tallahassee
Monroe Lee Kia AutoSport Tallahassee
Joe Taylor Avenue E and BLUE beach+home Apalachicola
2006 Roy C. Carter Bronson Ace Hardware and Pain Eustis
Scott Edmonds Chico's FAS Fort Myers
Kevin and Penny Jenness Peddlers' Wagon Eustis
2005 Don Bosko Beef O'Brady's Lakeland
Guy J. "Smiley" Merry Merry's Jewelers, Inc. Eustis
Lester Scaff Scaff's Inc. dba S & S Food Stores and Scaff's Market Lake City
2004 Patti Blaylock Sunset Coastal Grill Port St. Joe
Sam Varn Awards4U Tallahassee
Bruce Nelson Office Depot Delray Beach
2003 Aledia Hunt Tush CB's Saltwater Outfitters Siesta Key
Kelly Palmer Hayloft, Inc. Fort Myers
Al Rowland Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. Jacksonville
2002 Thomas Ferrante Modular Mailing Systems, Inc. Tampa
Alan Jay Wildstein Alan Jay Automotive Network Sebring
2001 Bill & Harriet Jackson Bill Jackson, Inc. Pinellas Park
Judy Orbeta Target Store #814 Royal Palm Beach
2000 Coleman Davis Badcock Home Furnishing Centers Seffner
Henry Falcon Kash n' Karry Plant City
1999 Judy Barney-Perez Arturo's Italian Restaurant Marco Island
Mike Harrell Inland Stores Bainbridge, GA