FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2011

Orlando, FL – Norman Love, owner of Norman Love Confections, Fort Myers; Laurie Olshefski, owner of Shimmering Seas Jewelry & Gifts, Panama City Beach; and Jesse White, owner of Sarasota Architectural Salvage, Sarasota, have been named by the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) as the 2011 recipients of the prestigious Retailer of the Year Award. They received their awards at a luncheon held in conjunction with the University of Florida's nationally acclaimed Retail Smarter symposium on Thursday, June 23, 2011, at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida. Dan Doyle, FRF chairman of the board, who is senior vice president of Beall's, Inc., Bradenton, made the presentations.

"We are excited to honor these inspiring, creative entrepreneurs who have turned their passions into successful business ventures," says Richard McAllister, FRF president and CEO. "Mr. Love, Ms. Olshefski, and Mr. White embody the spirit of outstanding retailing through their dedication to their customers and employees, plus their commitment to the communities they serve"

NORMAN LOVE, Norman Love Confections, www.normanloveconfections.com, Fort Myers & Naples

Norman Love has a passion for chocolate – artistically designed, lusciously delicious, handcrafted chocolates. This passion led him to launch Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers in 2001. Using the finest ingredients from throughout the world to create his unique line of ultra-premium masterpieces, Norman has grown his company to be recognized worldwide. With their artistic designs, rich rainbow colors including reds, oranges, and purples, and unique flavors such as Tahitian caramel, key lime and passion fruit, each box of Norman Love Chocolates packs a "wow" factor. Among Norman Love Confections' numerous accolades is being named the top chocolate in the United States by Consumer Reports this year. Norman was honored as one of the "Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America in 2009 by Dessert Magazine, is co-founder of the National Pastry Team Championship, and is a regular guest judge on the Food Network Challenge series.

Norman prepared for his current success by studying pastry-making in France and serving as the executive pastry chef for many years at various luxury resorts. As corporate executive pastry chef for The Ritz-Carlton, he oversaw global pastry and bakery operations, opening 30 hotel and resort pastry kitchens in international and domestic locales including Boston, Dubai and Bali.

In his own business, Norman instills a corporate culture of relentless pursuit of innovation, excellence and quality. He empowers his employees and creates a positive atmosphere conducive to their success. He is dedicated to giving back to the community, with the company donating to more than 300 nonprofit organizations each year.

Complementing his original Fort Myers location, Norman recently opened a Chocolate Salon in Naples, setting the stage for further expansion.

Norman was nominated by Mr. Gary Baker, owner of Professional Insurance Services, Inc., Cape Coral.

LAURIE OLSHEFSKI, Shimmering Seas Jewelry & Gifts I & II, www.shimmeringseas.com, Panama City Beach & Seaside

Laurie Olshefski knew she wanted to be the CEO of a corporation from the time she was teenager. She has successfully realized that goal through LAMO Inc., and realized success as a retailer. Laurie, who has been in retailing for 17 years, currently owns and operates four stores. They are: the Fitness Fetish Family Sport and Beach Shoppe (www.fitnessfetish.com), Seaside, established in 1994; Shimmering Seas Jewelry and Gifts, founded in Seaside in 2002, with a second location added in Panama City Beach in 2008; and Jake at the Beach Life is Good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe in Panama City Beach (www.jakeatthebeach.com), opened in 2008.

Laurie, along with her husband, John, have created welcoming, fun stores offering unique items at affordable price points. Customers are made to feel special with exceptional service, parties, open houses, and designer trunk shows, among other benefits. Employees enjoy bonuses for working out regularly, continuing education and training support, birthday bucks and incentives in a caring, family atmosphere.

Laurie is an active, positive community leader. She donates time, through her church, to the Anchorage Children's Home and the Autism Education Center in Panama City. A certified yoga instructor, Laurie is an advocate for promoting a healthy body, mind and spirit. She donates yoga instructions to raise funds that support children and women in need, plus donates her time to teach interactive yoga classes to elementary age children at schools and churches.

In addition, her stores support numerous local fundraising efforts as well as contribute to charities that include St. Jude's Hospital, the Panama City Rescue Mission, Susan G. Komen, Bright Point for Children, and the Shriners.

Laurie was nominated by Ms. Beth Oltman, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce.

JESSE WHITE, Sarasota Architectural Salvage, www.sarasotasalvage.com, Sarasota

Jesse White founded Sarasota Architectural Salvage (SAS) in 2003 with a vision of building a business that served an environmental mission and helped people see the value in reusing and recycling. Blending expertise gained as the owner of an independent consulting firm offering recycling solutions to government entities with his penchant for the environment, antiques and architectural elements, Jesse has guided SAS into a resounding success.

Since opening eight years ago, Jesse has been able to triple SAS's current selling space and offerings. He and his employees find a steady supply of rotating stock by locating buildings slated for remodeling or demolition, and then removing anything and everything of value. They work cooperatively with historical societies and preservation groups. The result is an eclectic mix of architectural antiques and furniture, décor, garden art and building materials. Items range from door knobs to chandeliers and are sourced both domestically and internationally. The company also offers custom wood and iron furniture fabricated from salvaged materials. Ultimately, SAS is a popular draw for the general public as well as the interior design community.

Jesse shows appreciation to his long-term, loyal staff through providing such benefits as flexible schedules and insurance benefits, and recognizing them with random acts of kindness. His customers are treated to Saturday morning coffee and sweets during the winter, and summer holiday cookouts.

Jesse notes that SAS has built their success hand in hand with the community. He promotes a "Buy Local" message, among other campaigns, to help advance all of his area's businesses. Each year the company directs thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations, accepts consignments on behalf of local non-profits, and provides numerous in-kind donations.

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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

State’s leading advocate for retailers seeks nominations for deserving retail businesses; deadline for nominations is Monday, March 20

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year in supporting Florida’s retail industry, is now accepting nominations for its prestigious Florida Retailer of the Year award, which recognizes an outstanding retailer for sound business practices, and a commitment to their employees, customers and communities. Nominations must be submitted by Monday, March 20.

“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 Randy Miller. “We ask all consumers to support their favorite retailer by nominating them for this prestigious award.”

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. People interested in nominating a retailer may nominate more than one, self-nominations are allowed and the retailer does not have to be an FRF member. Nominations can be submitted online by visiting FRF.org/ROY and completing the nomination form, email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail to 227 S. Adams St., Tallahassee, FL 32301.

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.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four 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. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.

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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Volusia County Sheriff’s Investigator Jayson Paul selected as the 2016 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Marion County Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Tingue selected as Runner-Up

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today the winners of its annual law enforcement officer of the year awards. Investigator Jayson Paul (pictured left) of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office was selected as the 2016 Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Selected as the Runner-Up was Detective Thomas Tingue of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Both are being recognized in part for their work in preventing organized retail crime, and will be honored at a prestigious law enforcement awards dinner on Friday, July 29, at the Orlando Marriott World Center.

“Florida’s 270,000 retailers and their millions of customers rely on the safety and protection that our incredible law enforcement officers provide every day, and we’re proud to once again recognize these dedicated and courageous heroes,” said FRF President and CEO Randy Miller. “We are grateful for the work of all of our law enforcement professionals around the state and we hope this award not only brings recognition to the winner, but also to all of the brave men and women who keep us safe.”

Investigator Paul will receive a cash award and a custom-crafted medallion and plaque, in addition to his name being added to an official plaque that lists each LEOY recipient since the program’s inception in 1974. Four officers were selected to receive Honorable Mentions and will be recognized locally. They are: Sgt. Grisleem Casas of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Sgt. Eric Fernandez of the City of Doral Police Department, Detective Todd Herb of the Orlando Police Department and Detective Mark Marland of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

2016 WINNER: INVESTIGATOR JAYSON PAUL
Investigator Paul initiated an investigation into a large-scale racketeering case that became known as “Operation Plastic Paradise.” It involved multiple criminal groups that were entering large retail stores, stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of property on a daily basis, and then returning the stolen property in exchange for gift cards that were then sold to a local gift card buying business. The business was so lucrative that it showed nearly $2 million flowing through it in less than a year. Leading a team of approximately 40 investigators, Investigator Paul successfully helped dismantle the multiple organizations involved with results that included 23 arrest warrants, five search warrants, and six seizure warrants.

RUNNER-UP: DETECTIVE THOMAS TINGUE
Detective Tingue is an active member of the Hostage Negotiations Team as well as the Honor Guard. He has been a Property Crimes Detective for 11 years and became an ORC investigator in 2014. Most notably, he helped solve an OTC health and beauty theft ring that cost retailers millions of dollars in losses and spanned 15 counties throughout Florida. The stolen products were then sold on eBay. Detective Tingue plans golf tournaments that benefit cancer victims: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer that raised nearly $10,000 and for Heartfelt Unconditional Giving (HUGS), which supports families whose children have cancer.

The Law Enforcement of the Year Award Dinner is held in conjunction with the 2016 FRF Loss Prevention Conference also taking place July 29. This annual event attracts close to 300 of the state’s loss prevention and law enforcement professionals gathered to learn the latest news, trends and technology to help them keep their businesses, employees and their customers safe. Both events are important parts of the 2016 Sunshine EXPO taking place July 29-August 1, which also includes the popular EXPO Tradeshow, featuring 2,000 attendees and 350 exhibitors on July 31, as well as a full day of Education Sessions taking place July 30.

ABOUT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM
The Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year program has been an annual event since its inception in 1974. The purpose of the program is to support and encourage outstanding law enforcement work throughout the state, and to recognize the important contributions made by Florida's law enforcement professionals, particularly as it relates to the retail industry. The program’s time-tested campaign theme, "Often taken for granted, they never stop serving ...because they care," remains as relevant today as when the LEOY was first introduced. For more information on the award winners, the event or the LEOY program, visit FRF’s website.

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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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850) 701-3015

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, is now accepting nominations for its prestigious Florida Retailer of the Year award, which recognizes an outstanding retailer for sound business practices, and a commitment to their employees, customers and communities. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, March 25.

“Florida’s retail industry plays such an important role in the success of our state, and we are excited to shine the spotlight on those retailers who contribute to that success while also supporting their local community,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “We ask consumers of these retailers to support their favorite businesses by nominating them for this prestigious award.”

Eligible businesses are those with sales volume of $5 million or less and have a physical presence in the operation and/or management of the retail business. People interested in nominating a retailer may nominate more than one, self-nominations are allowed and the business does not have to be an FRF member. Nominations can be submitted online by filing out this form or by completing this PDF nomination form and email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to 227 S. Adams St., Tallahassee, FL 32301.

The business selected as Retailer of the Year will be recognized before a statewide audience during the Retail Smarter Symposium 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 Jon & Betsy Hughes of the Track Shack in Orlando.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four 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. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Published in Media Relations