For Immediate Release: January 3, 2017
Florida’s leading advocate for the state’s 270,000 retail businesses heads into its eighth decade as strong, as diverse and as influential as it’s ever been; yearlong celebration planned
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier retail trade organization, announces a yearlong celebration of its 80th anniversary as the most impactful and influential retail advocacy group in Florida. FRF was founded in 1937 as the Florida Chain Store Association and 20 years later was renamed the Florida Retail Federation, where it’s remained as The Voice of Florida Retailing. In honor of the anniversary, FRF will feature key moments from the organization’s history on its website throughout the year, as well as incorporate an 80th anniversary logo in all of its hard copy collateral and online presence and celebrate the milestone during its many events in 2017.
“To see the growth and progress of FRF, from its humble beginnings in 1937 to the influential advocacy and support organization it’s become today, is a testament to the passion and determination of all of the employees and board members who played a part during the past 80 years,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “As we enter our eighth decade of successfully promoting and growing our industry and our members’ businesses, it’s important we reflect back and appreciate not only where the FRF started from, but to stay true to those same goals and ideals which laid the foundation for the organization.”
FRF initially started out as the Florida Chain Store Association, Inc., which was founded in 1937 as a counter to the wave of anti-business legislation that swept through Florida, culminating in a 1935 law that created one of the most discriminatory business taxes in the nation. Initially, the organization included just the largest chain store businesses in the state, but in 1941, the association expanded to include smaller chain stores. In 1947, the headquarters moved to Jacksonville, where most members were located.
By 1956, recognizing that all retailers shared common goals and facing competition from the similarly named “Florida State Retailers Association,” associate membership was extended to independently owned stores. In 1957, the Florida Chain Store Council reorganized as a division of the Florida State Chamber of Commerce, and by the end of the year its board approved a new name – Florida Retail Federation. On October 13, 1959, FRF was re-chartered as an independent non-profit organization. E. Colin Lindsey of Belk-Lindsey Stores, Inc., in Tampa, was elected the first president of the independent Florida Retail Federation on January 8, 1960. The group’s purpose, according to its charter, was to foster a closer relationship between the public and Florida’s retail merchants by conducting service and public relations programs, to provide non-partisan representation to all retailers – independent, chain, small and large – and to cooperate with all branches of the state and federal governments so that retailers could better serve the public.
The Florida Retail Federation Self Insurers Workers’ Compensation Fund was established on January 1, 1979. Administered by Summit in Lakeland, the fund sparked a relationship that proved significant in FRF’s history and grew into one of the foremost services to Florida retailers. In 1980, the decision was made to move the association headquarters to Tallahassee which office space secured at historic Gallie’s Hall, which was renovated and ready for occupancy in February 1982.
In 1996, a new CEO helped position FRF as a more proactive organization in legislative advocacy, a philosophy maintained today. FRF has continued to expand its member services, increasing revenue and further strengthening the position of FRF as a top-tier business advocacy organization. It’s also since launched a number of benefits and services programs that help retailers and businesses including OrdinanceWatch™, Florida BankCard Solutions, MEMBERS Comp Dividend Program, FRF Health Insurance Exchange and the Employers Health Network.