Thursday, 06 September 2018 15:27

For Immediate Release: September 6, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Tallahassee-based retailer and FRF board member Mergel selected as 2018 America’s Retail Champion of the Year by the National Retail Federation

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) today announced that one its board members Lisa Mergel, owner of Kanvas Beauty in Tallahassee, was named the 2018 America’s Retail Champion of the Year in a ceremony held last night in Washington D.C. Mergel was chosen from a group of finalists and received the prestigious award in front of hundreds during an event hosted by FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation.

“We are extremely proud but not surprised that the winner came from Florida, and there’s no one more representative of the incredible and dedicated retail employees in our state than Lisa Mergel and Kanvas Beauty,” said FRF President & CEO R. Scott Shalley (pictured left with Ms. Mergel at the NRF ceremony). “Lisa’s commitment to her community, her customers and her industry are just some of the reasons she was selected for this prestigious award and we’re honored to have her as a board member and a leader of Florida’s retail industry.”

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

Mergel, who was recognized as FRF’s Florida Retailer of the Year in 2016 and is a member of the organization’s Beauty Industry Council, 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.

Mergel, a career-long retailer, began her career working for major retail brands in New York before moving to Florida and opening Kanvas which is a unique concept of a world class day spa and specialty boutique. Outside of work, Lisa volunteers her time at one of many local civic organizations and mentoring retail merchandising students from Florida State University.

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 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.

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Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:19

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Small business owner and incumbent Gainer has been a friend of retailing during his time in the Senate, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of incumbent George Gainer for the Florida Senate. Gainer, a Republican, is running for Senate District 2 encompassing Bay, Holmes, Jackson, Walton, Washington, and part of Okaloosa counties.

“Senator Gainer’s knowledge of what it takes to run a small business as well as his support for retailers during his time in the Senate are just two reasons we’ve chosen to endorse his campaign,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We look forward to him continuing to work in support of Florida’s business community and the retail industry in his return to the Florida Senate.”

Gainer previously served as a Bay County commissioner, representing Tyndall AFB and other parts of southern Bay County, from 1968-1972 and again from 2002-2016. Senator Gainer was elected to the Florida Senate with no opposition in November 2016. In addition to his responsibilities in the Senate, Senator Gainer serves on various community boards and organizations.

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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Thursday, 26 July 2018 16:18

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Former Representative Hooper has focused on supporting legislation that created jobs and enhanced Florida’s economic climate, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of Ed Hooper for the Florida Senate. Hooper, a Republican and former member of the Florida House of Representatives, is running for Senate District 16 which covers Pinellas County and western Pasco County.

“As a member of the House, Representative Hooper supported legislation that enhanced Florida’s job creation efforts, including our retail industry,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “As a Senator, we know he’ll continue this effort and work towards ways to make Florida the best state for business.”

Hooper is a retired firefighter after serving for 28 years, a government and community relations consultant and a legislative and community leader. As a legislator, he’s focused on reducing taxes and ensuring Florida has the right economic environment for small businesses to flourish. As a State Representative, he was named Deputy Majority Whip, and has helped secure billions of dollars in tax relief for Florida’s working families.

His community involvement includes being a Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Board member, a founding member of the Florida Firefighter Caucus and has received awards from Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Florida Sheriffs Association and was named the Professional Firefighter of the Year by the Governor, State Fire Marshal and Florida Cabinet.

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.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2018 11:36

For Immediate Release: July 25, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Florida’s popular annual shopping holiday takes place August 3-5; Consumers of all ages can take advantage of buying thousands of eligible items tax free

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retailers, is reminding both retailers and consumers of the upcoming Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday weekend, taking place August 3-5. During this “holiday,” consumers will not have to pay sales tax on thousands of eligible items such as clothes, shoes and school supplies. The sales tax holiday also benefits Sunshine State retailers who see increased sales and as a result, create new jobs for hard working Florida families.

“The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday remains as popular with retailers as consumers, and with the increased strength of Florida’s economy right now, we expect to see near-record sales this year,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We want to thank Governor Scott and our legislative leaders for including this holiday in the state budget once again, and we look forward to another successful shopping season with retailers piggybacking discounts on top of the tax-free spending and consumers taking advantage of these deals.”

Serving as the state’s second busiest shopping “holiday” behind Black Friday, this year’s list of eligible items includes clothing, shoes and bags costing $60 or less and school supplies $15 or less. Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $684.79, down slightly from last year’s average of $687.72, but still totaling more than $27.5 billion nationally – the third highest total in survey history, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Those with young people heading to college as well as college and graduate students purchasing for themselves plan to spend an average of $942.17 each, down from $969.88 last year for a total of $55.3 billion nationally. That’s an all-time high in the history of the survey, up from last year’s previous record of $54.1 billion, due to more people shopping this season.

According to the survey, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend the most on clothing ($236.90). In addition, back-to-school shoppers also plan to spend:

  • $187.10 on electronics such as computers, calculators or phones
  • • $138.66 on shoes • $122.13 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and lunchboxes

Unlike back-to-schoolers, college shoppers will spend the most on electronics ($229.21). Besides electronics, they also plan to spend:

  • $153.32 on clothing and accessories
  • $109.29 on dorm or apartment furnishings
  • $102.82 on food
  • $83.41 on shoes
  • $78.70 on personal care items such as skin and hair care
  • $69.46 on school supplies such as notebooks and backpacks
  • $62.61 on gift cards
  • $53.34 on collegiate branded gear

“This year’s expected spending continues a streak of more than 18 months of record or near-record spending on shopping holidays,” said Shalley. “This shows how strong the overall health of our retail industry is, as well as how vital it is to the economic strength of our state and nation as a whole.”

The top destinations for consumers shopping for back-to-school items are:

  • Department stores (57 percent)
  • Online retailers (55 percent)
  • Discount stores (52 percent)
  • Clothing stores (51 percent)
  • Office supply stores (35 percent)

Similarly, the most popular shopping destinations for back-to-college consumers are:

  • Online retailers (49 percent)
  • Department stores (40 percent)
  • Discount stores (35 percent)
  • Office supply stores (31 percent)
  • College bookstores (30 percent)

The survey also found that more consumers are starting early. Most back-to-school shoppers (77 percent) plan to start at least three weeks before school begins, up from last year’s 74 percent and 64 percent a decade ago. Moreover, 67 percent of college shoppers will start that early, the same as last year but up from 51 percent in 2008. However, there is still plenty of shopping left to do. Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) back-to-school and college shoppers still have half or more of their purchases left to complete. Of these, more than half are still waiting for the best deals for the items on their lists.

The survey found teenagers will spend $35.60 of their own money on average for back-to-school while pre-teens will spend $25.06.

The back-to-school sales tax holiday has been one of the most popular shopping holidays among consumers and retailers and has been providing vital tax relief since it first began. The holiday has been recognized in 17 out of the 21 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 9th year in a row it has taken place. For the complete list of eligible tax-free items, see www.floridarevenue.com.

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, 16 July 2018 11:37

For Immediate Release: July 16, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Small business owner Ponder fought for his fellow business owners as a member of the Florida House, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of incumbent Mel Ponder for the Florida House. Ponder, a Republican, is running for House District 4 which covers Okaloosa County.

“Representative Ponder is a successful small business owner and fought on behalf of the thousands of other small business owners throughout Florida during his first term in the House,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “His efforts to protect Floridians and fellow business owners by supporting pro-business legislation are issues we look forward to him continuing to work on in his return to the Florida House.”

Ponder started his own small business to train and support local marketplace and business leaders and individuals, as well as ministers and others of faith to make a difference in their communities. He also worked to become a leader in various industries including regionalization, small business ownership, food/hospitality, retail, sales, marketing, nonprofit, and the real estate finance industries. Ponder also has previously served as Mayor of Destin.

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.

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Thursday, 12 July 2018 16:14

For Immediate Release: July 12, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Bydlak has focused her career on ensuring fiscal responsibility and supporting Florida families, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of Rebekah Bydlak for the Florida House. Bydlak, a Republican, is running for House District 1 which covers parts of Escambia County.

“Rebekah is a successful and energetic candidate who has had the best interests of Floridians and business owners in mind during her professional career,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Living on the Florida border, she knows firsthand how unnecessary taxes like the business rent tax have hurt Florida businesses and forced others to start somewhere else. Her fresh ideas and desire to make Florida the best place to live and work will be a big benefit to retailers when she’s a member of the Florida House.”

Born and raised in Northwest Florida, Rebekah serves as the Executive Director of the Coalition to Reduce Spending which fights for lower spending, fiscal responsibility, and constitutional government. She attended Pensacola State College and the University of West Florida (UWF) and holds a master’s degree in political science and public administration from UWF.

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.

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Monday, 09 July 2018 10:26

For Immediate Release: July 9, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Representative Rommel has focused on creating jobs and supporting Sunshine State businesses, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of incumbent Bob Rommel for the Florida House. Rommel, a Republican, is running for House District 106 which covers parts of Collier and Lee counties.

“As an entrepreneur and business owner himself, Representative Rommel knows how important it is to reduce burdensome regulations and pass legislation making it easier for businesses to prosper,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Rommel has been focused on creating jobs and supporting Florida businesses and we know he’ll continue this focus during this next term in the Florida House.”

Rommel is a small business owner, as he and his business partner own three restaurants with two located in Southwest Florida. Elected to the Florida House in 2016, Rommel serves as Vice Chair of the Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee, and sits on the Agriculture & Property Rights and Transportation & Tourism Appropriations subcommittees, among others. He is the past President of the Caxambas Republican Club and a member of the Collier County Republican Party.

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.

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Monday, 02 July 2018 16:36

For Immediate Release: July 2, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Young has supported retail-related legislation during her time in Senate, and is the choice for Florida’s premier retail industry association

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC today announced its endorsement of incumbent Dana Young for the Florida Senate. Young, a Republican, is running for re-election in Senate District 18 which stretches from South Tampa to northwest Hillsborough County.

“Senator Young has supported and sponsored legislation that has helped to modernize the retail industry in Florida,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We’re proud to support her campaign and look forward to working with her on additional ways to help Sunshine State retailers in her return to the Senate.”

Young, an attorney, is a sixth-generation Floridian and continued her proud family tradition of public service when she was elected to the House in 2010, and then elected to the Senate in 2016. During her legislative career in the House, she served as Majority Leader, Majority Whip and Deputy Majority Leader, as well as Chairman of the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation. As a Senator, she Chairs the Health Policy Committee, and is a member of the Commerce & Tourism, Communications, Energy & Public Utilities and Regulated Industries committees.

Sen. Young has worked tirelessly to pass legislation aimed at creating an exceptional business climate and a world class quality of life for Floridians.

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.

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Friday, 29 June 2018 15:02

For decades, Internet retailers have exploited a legal loophole that allowed them to not have to collect sales taxes on any products they sold even in states where they have no physical presence. The Supreme Court recently moved to close that loophole in their decision in the South Dakota v Wayfair case. The decision, in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., was a victory for brick-and-mortar businesses that were ta competitive disadvantage by being required to charge sales taxes while many online competitors do not. In 1992, the court ruled in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that the Constitution bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales tax unless they have a substantial connection to the state. The Quill decision helped pave the way for the growth of online retail by letting companies sell nationwide without worrying about having to pay the differing state and local taxes that vary from state to state.

Florida Retail Federation President & CEO R. Scott Shalley had the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair:

“The ruling is great news for Florida retailers and the retail industry nationwide. Retailers have been adamant in seeking equity in taxation of bricks and mortar and online sales. This decision paves the way for a level playing field throughout the industry. The Florida Retail Federation looks forward to working with Florida’s legislative leaders and the Department of Revenue to ensure fair and equitable application of the law.”

Wednesday, 27 June 2018 15:10

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2018
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

With the holiday landing in the middle of the week, consumers won’t be spending quite as much on food as last year, however 2018 spending is still expected to be 2nd highest on record

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retail industry, expects spending on food for Fourth of July cookouts and picnics to be down slightly this year due to the holiday falling on a Wednesday and fewer consumers free to celebrate. However, the total spending nationally of $6.9 billion is still the second-highest on record and per person spending of $75.35 is a new record.

“The Wednesday timing of Fourth of July will unfortunately mute some of the parties and festivities that typically surround this holiday, but total spending on food will remain near record levels, which is great news for Florida retailers,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Florida historically follows or exceeds the national estimates, and with our economy strong and consumer confidence high, this should still be a fruitful holiday for retailers.”

Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on food for Fourth of July cookouts and picnics next month down slightly from last year’s record of $7.1 billion as fewer people say they will turn out for the Wednesday holiday, according to an annual survey by FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation.

According to the survey, over 216 million Americans (87 percent) plan to observe Independence Day, down slightly from last year’s 219 million (88 percent). Nearly 153 million (62 percent) are planning a cookout or picnic, spending an average of $75.35 per person, a new record topping last year’s $73.42. (The numbers cover only food items and not other holiday-related items.)

Other Independence Day celebrations include partaking in fireworks or a community celebration (106 million) and attending a parade (30 million). Fourth of July is also a popular time for traveling with 31 million planning to head out of town. That’s down from last year’s 33 million and 25 percent said higher gas prices would affect their plans, but the decline in travel could also be related to the timing of the holiday.

The survey found that 62 percent of consumers already own an American flag, 51 percent have patriotic apparel such as a T-shirt or hat, and 38 percent own decorations. Overall, only 27 percent plan to purchase additional patriotic merchandise, but the number jumps to 44 percent for those ages 18-24 and declines steadily for older individuals.

The survey of 7,199 consumers was conducted June 5-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

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.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
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.

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