Tuesday, 04 May 2021 12:19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Retail Sales Are Forecasted to Break Records, As Consumers Plan to Shower Mom With Some Extra Love This Year

Tallahassee, FL –  The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) announced today that Mother's Day spending this year is expected to break records, according to a recent survey. The growing enthusiasm to celebrate moms can be attributed to renewed consumer confidence as the COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue to expand. 

In a recent survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF), new data reveals that shoppers plan to spend up to $28.1 billion this year to show some motherly love or $1.4 billion more than the previous year.

The NRF predicts an increase in celebratory activities, with 80% of adults in the United States planning to celebrate Mother's Day. Families plan to shower mom with some extra love, to make up for the distance from last year's holiday with 49% of consumers planning an outing to brunch or another activity. 

"Florida retailers want to help shoppers show mom the love she deserves this Mother's Day and every day," says Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "When searching for the perfect item to show mom your love and appreciation, don't look further than your home state. For all your shopping needs, remember to shop local and 'Find It In Florida.' Our retailers are stocked and ready to help you find the perfect gift."

Shoppers plan to splurge on jewelry and electronics for mom. In fact, 59% of the $1.4 billion increase in spending can be attributed to jewelry. 

In all, the top 10 gifts shoppers are planning for mom include: 

  • Greeting Cards - 72%
  • Flowers - 68%
  • Special outing - 49%
  • Gift cards - 47%
  • Clothing/Accessories - 40%
  • Jewelry - 35%
  • Housewares/Gardening tools - 26%
  • Personal Service - 25%
  • Books/CDs - 23%
  • Electronics - 20%

This year, nearly half (44%) of shoppers plan to find mom a gift that is unique or different. Floridians plan to visit department stores, online retailers, local specialty shops, like florists or jewelers, and small businesses to find the perfect present. 

While 34% of shoppers still plan to purchase their gifts online, the total is down from 2020 when most consumers were at home during the pandemic. However, overall online shopping for the holiday is still above pre-pandemic levels. 

“If you prefer to shop online, you can still shop local. Choose to support Florida businesses by shopping online at brands that have a physical presence in Florida," said Shalley. “When you ‘Find It In Florida,’ you’re supporting jobs and your community."

Florida retailers are stocked up and ready to help shoppers safely celebrate the mother figures in their lives with a variety of safe and convenient methods.

  • Visit: Visit your local retailer to shop in-store. 
  • Buy Online: Find your favorite Florida retailer online to select what you need for pickup in-store. 
  • Curbside or Delivery: Call your local retailer to place an order for curbside pick-up or delivery, where available.

When shoppers "Find It In Florida" and shop local retailers, they help boost the local economy and support community businesses. Learn more about the "Find It In Florida" program at the website

For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/mothers-day-spending-total-281-billion

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
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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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Thursday, 29 April 2021 09:59

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 28, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Legislation Heads to Governor's Desk Permitting Pharmacists to Administer Flu Vaccines to Individuals Aged Seven & Up 

Tallahassee, FL –  The Florida House today passed Senate Bill 768, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley. The legislation will allow pharmacists to administer influenza vaccines to individuals aged seven or older. SB 768 also permits pharmacists or registered interns under the supervision of a pharmacist to administer all approved immunizations and vaccinations to individuals aged 18 and up.

The Florida Senate previously passed SB 768 on Tuesday, April 21. The House took up the Senate companion bill of HB 1063, sponsored by Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin.

“Florida retail pharmacies play an important role in delivering vaccines safely and effectively at locations convenient to Floridians. This measure is critical to ensuring Floridians have access to health needs, during a global pandemic and well beyond," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “We are grateful for the support of Florida Senate and House to ensure Floridians can receive continued access to life-saving vaccines at our Florida retail pharmacy stores.”

The legislation follows Governor Ron DeSantis's emergency order issued last year to allow Florida retail pharmacies to administer approved immunizations and vaccines on the Adult Immunization Schedule by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We are thankful to the bill sponsors, Sen. Baxley, Rep. Fernandez-Barquin, as well as, Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, for their leadership to ensure a safer, healthier Florida beyond the pandemic," stated Shalley. 

The legislation will now be sent to the Governor's office for his consideration to sign into Florida statute. If signed, the measure will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

To read SB 768, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/768/.

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, 22 April 2021 10:18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 22, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

On Earth Day, the Florida Retail Federation Discusses New Retail Recycling Intiatitives for Environmental Sustainability

The recent 'Every Bottle Back' initiative, by the American Beverage Association, aims to reclaim plastic bottles to be repurposed into new bottles.

Tallahassee, FL – In celebration of Earth Day, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is highlighting the new initiatives retail is taking in supporting environmental sustainability. 

Is your favorite beverage sitting in the fridge or pantry? Chances are that beverage bottle is made of recycled materials ready to be recycled again.

'Every Bottle Back' is an initiative created by the American Beverage Association in partnership with leading beverage companies including, The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo, to reduce the beverage industry's use of new plastic. The program teams up with environmental and sustainability leaders to reclaim used plastic bottles to be remade into new bottles. 

Elizabeth DeWitt, president and CEO of the Florida Beverage Association (FlaBev), spearheads the initiative in Florida. DeWitt works with bottlers and distributors to ensure that Florida retailers are making the effort to maintain and protect the beauty of Florida's landscape and resources. 

"Recycling is all about a change of mind in our industries," said DeWitt. "The more we can partner with the retailers and others in the community to educate people on the benefits of recycling and how they can do it easily, the more success we will have in making a positive impact on the environment."

The beverage industry partnered with recyclers to help to design a bottle specifically made to be recycled and reused with food-grade products. 

But their environmental efforts expand beyond reusable bottles. The Florida Beverage Association's community grant program helps educate communities, statewide, on the value of Florida's natural resources and helps create recycling projects in their own backyard.

The Florida Beverage Association in partnership with the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America has contributed over $170,000 to community organizations throughout Florida.

Last year, DeWitt worked with the University of Florida through the Florida Sea Grant to provide funding to install seabins at marinas to help collect waste and litter found in the water. The seabins will be installed this year as the project was delayed due to COVID-19. They also supported "ReThink Your Waste," an interactive exhibit in Orlando that explores individual's roles in waste diversion through the lens of a circular economy. 

This year, the Florida Beverage Association is working with Orange County Public Schools on the "Recycle Right Campaign" to provide over 200,000 local students with the visual collateral to properly recycle in schools. They are also working with the city of Miami to utilize Keep America Beautiful's "Waste in Place" curriculum in schools through its "Connect Kids and Community" program. This initiative will help to close the gap on recycling knowledge of students and residents in key communities. 

DeWitt says these programs are integral to educating the community by starting with the youngest generations to help create the foundation of accountability. So much so, her sons have already begun taking action.

"I have two small boys, and they tell me if I am not recycling something correctly. They are on my case!"

As Earth Day celebrates its 51st anniversary this year, the beverage retail industry is focused on continuing to drive innovation in environmental sustainability. America's leading beverage companies have introduced new efforts to reduce emissions and increase efficiencies. This includes: 

  • Introducing hybrid-electric commercial trucks to reduce emissions up to 30% per vehicle;
  • Converting over 250 service vehicles to fuel-efficient hybrid cars for a 20% increase in fuel efficiency;
  • Increasing use of alternative fuels; and
  • Monitoring miles per gallon to lower emissions and improve fuel economy.

Retail beverage companies have also focused their efforts on water conversation. U.S. companies reduced their water use by 4.4% per unit of product since 2011.

Florida's retailers are committed to working on improving their operations in the store and behind the scenes in a variety of ways. Environmental-friendly actions include:

  • Selling recycled and sustainable products;
  • Investing in energy efficiency for stores and operations;
  • Supporting grant initiatives to educate communities;
  • Improving supply chain performance; or
  • Implementing recycling infrastructure for the store and consumers; and 
  • Cultivating internal green initiatives and goals.

This Earth Day, as consumers consider shopping with a "green" purpose, remember to support local, Florida stores. When searching for sustainable products, remember to "Find It In Florida." When Floridian shoppers "Find It In Florida," they are not only helping the environment but also working to keep doors open, boost the local economy and support their communities. 

The Florida Beverage Association (FlaBev) is a key trade association that represents the retail industry, including Florida’s non-alcoholic beverage producers, marketers, bottlers and distributors. Florida's beverage companies support 19,000 jobs to Florida families and provide a $13 billion economic impact to the state.

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, 19 April 2021 10:36

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Florida Governor Signs SB 50 into Law to Require Out-of-State & Foreign Retailers to Collect and Remit Florida's Sales Tax Owed on Purchases

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Ron DeSantis today signed Senate Bill 50 into Florida law. SB 50 updates Florida’s tax laws to protect consumers from an unwieldy and confusing tax obligation.

Previously, Florida was one out of two states in the nation that had not yet adopted remote seller requirements for out-of-state and foreign retailers.

"Through the passage of SB 50, Governor DeSantis and legislative leaders have acknowledged the pivotal role that the retail industry plays in supporting Florida’s families," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "With this measure signed into law, all businesses can compete on a level playing field and continue to support the 2.7 million Floridians who work in the retail industry. Thank you, Governor DeSantis for your leadership and for providing meaningful relief to Florida retail businesses."

The legislation will allocate the revenue collected to replenish the state's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund to pre-pandemic levels and then provide a long-term reduction in Business Rent Tax for Florida businesses.

"The tax cut on business rent is an added bonus. With this cost-savings, Florida businesses across all sectors of the economy can reinvest in their community, create jobs and grow their businesses," said Shalley. "We are also grateful for the support of Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, and bill sponsors, Senator Joe Gruters, Representatives Chuck Clemons and Chip LaMarca, for their efforts this session to support local, Florida businesses beyond the pandemic."

To read SB 50, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/50.

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, 08 April 2021 18:16

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 8, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – Upon final passage of SB 50 on the Senate floor today,  Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, released the following statement:

"There was a resounding sigh of relief from Florida retailers across the state today as they witnessed the passage of SB 50 by both chambers in the State Legislature. This critical legislation applies the online sales tax requirements fairly across all businesses, no matter whether they are headquartered here in Florida, across the country or around the world. By fixing the glitch, the Legislature has also established a source of revenue to replenish the state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. Importantly, the legislation provides long-term tax relief for all businesses that pay the commercial rent tax. We are thankful for the support of Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and bill sponsors, Senator Joe Gruters, Representatives Chuck Clemons and Chip LaMarca, for their efforts to "fix the glitch" in Florida's tax system."

To read SB 50, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/50.

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, 08 April 2021 13:40

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 8, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

SB 50 Passes House Floor; Bill Requires Out-of-State Businesses to Collect and Remit Sales Tax

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida House today passed SB 50, the Senate companion to House legislation sponsored by Rep. Chuck Clemons and Rep. Chip LaMarca. This legislation will relieve Floridians of a cumbersome tax payment obligation and level the playing field for Florida retailers to competing with foreign out-of-state businesses.

“This historic measure is a win for all Floridians as it provides equity in sales tax collection, bolsters Florida's COVID-ravaged Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund and provides long-term relief on Florida's Business Rent Tax,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “The proposal provides a substantial boost to Florida’s retail industry that will allow for economic recovery, increased hiring and higher wages. We’re extremely grateful to House sponsors, Rep. Clemons and Rep. LaMarca, and Speaker Sprowls for their leadership in tackling this critical issue. We look forward to the timely concurrence of the Florida Senate.”

SB 50, sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters passed the Senate floor last month.

Given a new amendment was added, SB 50 will now be sent back to the Florida Senate for approval.

To read SB 50, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/50.

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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Tuesday, 30 March 2021 08:38

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 29, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Governor Ron DeSantis Signs SB 72 into Law, Establishing Protections for Businesses Against Frivolous COVID-19 Claims & Lawsuits

Tallahassee, FL –  Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 72 into law today, which establishes COVID-19 liability protections for Florida businesses and health care workers. 

"The Florida Retail Federation is thankful to our Governor for his leadership and support for Florida retail businesses during this unprecendented time," says Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "The COVID-19 pandemic has brought severe challenges to our retailers both small and large. But our Florida businesses have remained resilient in their recovery. They have reopened quickly and thoughtfully to safely serve their communities. With this bill signed into law, Florida retailers have the liability protection they deserve. We appreciate the leadership of Sen. Brandes and Rep. McClure for championing this key legislation." 

SB 72, Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19, will protect Florida businesses and health care providers who work in good faith to implement public health guidelines to prevent the spread of illness, from frivolous and unjust lawsuits. 

The legislation provides requirements for a civil action based on a COVID-19-related claim and provides that the plaintiff has the burden of proof in such action. The newly-signed law is effective immediately and applies retroactively. 

Florida retailers have gone above and beyond to protect their teams and their customers during the pandemic. To keep customers safe and healthy while shopping, retail store team members are taking appropriate health precautions to prevent the spread of illness. Many stores are offering alternatives to shopping in-store, such as curbside or delivery services.

To read SB 72, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/72.

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, 29 March 2021 14:55

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 29, 2021
CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Recent Sales Predictions Show Promise for Florida Retailers This Spring As Businesses Continue to Recover and Reopen

Tallahassee, FL –  The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) announced today that Florida retailers should expect a promising Easter season this year. According to a survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) last week, new data reveals that retail sales will break records for the spring holiday. Consumers plan to spend $179.70 on average this Easter, the highest figure predicted on record.

The survey reveals nearly 80 percent of Americans plan to participate in festive activities. Total spending is anticipated to reach $21.6 billion this year. The surge in purchases can be attributed to the urgency to embrace the holiday a year later after the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic paired with the most recent stimulus funds.

As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue to expand, Americans are gradually becoming more comfortable gathering together again. The top Easter activities this year are: cooking a holiday meal (59%), visiting family and friends in person (43%), watching TV (43%), planning an egg hunt (31%), and attending church in person (28%).

"Florida retailers are here to meet all your needs for Easter celebrations to be as memorable as they are safe," says Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "When you shop for candy, food, decor and other Easter items, be sure to 'Find It In Florida' and support local businesses." 

Shoppers plan to visit discount stores, department stores, online retailers, local specialty shops and small businesses for all their spring holiday goods. About 35% of consumers plan to purchase their Easter items online, up from 28% last year.

The top Easter items that Florida shoppers plan to purchase include: 

  • Candy - 89%
  • Food - 88%
  • Gifts - 64%
  • Greeting cards - 50%
  • Decorations - 48%

While not everyone will be participating in Easter festivities this year, about 52% of shoppers still plan to take advantage of the holiday-related sales, spending on average $21.11. 

Florida retailers remain committed to offering shoppers a variety of safe and convenient methods to fulfill their Easter shopping lists.

  • Visit: Visit your local retailer to shop in-store. 
  • Buy Online: Find your favorite Florida retailer online to select what you need for pickup in-store. 
  • Curbside or Delivery: Call your local retailer to place an order for curbside pick-up or delivery, where available.

As many local retailers continue to reopen and recover from the shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FRF would like to remind shoppers to "Find It In Florida." When Floridians shop local retailers, they help boost the local economy and support community businesses. Learn more about the "Find It In Florida" program at the website

For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/average-easter-spending-expected-be-highest-record

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
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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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Friday, 26 March 2021 11:13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 26, 2021
CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

This Women's History Month, the Florida Retail Federation Features Retail Industry Leaders, Debbie Harvey & Michele Goodwin

Tallahassee, FL – For Women's History Month, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is highlighting two women making waves in retail at Ron Jon Surf Shop.

Suni

Meet Debbie Harvey and Michele Goodwin. 

Debbie Harvey, the current president and COO of Ron Jon Surf Shops, is set to retire this year. Michele Goodwin, the current Vice President of Retail Operations and Human Resources, is set to succeed Harvey. 

Though these women share different retail backgrounds, their experience in the industry is unmatched. 

Debbie Harvey is a retail industry leader. After graduating from the University of Florida, Harvey gained experience at other Florida retail companies including, Maas Brothers, Bealls and HSN, before serving the Ron Jon team. During her 20-plus year tenure, the Ron Jon team expanded from four locations to 12 stores while ensuring the integrity of the brand and their business model remained strong.

Much like Harvey, Goodwin has spent her career working in the retail industry. Goodwin is a Cocoa Beach native who joined Ron Jon in 1986. She began working in Ron Jon's retail store while attending the University of Central Florida. Goodwin diligently worked her way up the ranks. She spent time in the marketing and human resources department and began taking on larger roles before working on in-store operations. 

"When I joined, it was a very exciting time for Ron Jon, they were just starting to grow," said Goodwin. "I was surrounded by a lot of great people. It was never boring. We've been growing, changing and doing new things."

Ron Jon Surf Shop began in 1959 when founder Ron DiMenna was in search of a custom surfboard in New Jersey. DiMenna purchased three from California after his father offered entrepreneurial advice, "Buy three, sell two at a profit, then yours will be free." From there Ron Jon Surf Shop was born. DiMenna quickly opened two stores in Long Beach Island, New Jersey, and Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Today, Ron Jon Surf Shop is a privately-owned company, headquartered in Cocoa Beach. Both Harvey and Goodwin have continued Ron DiMenna's entrepreneurial spirit with their own business acumen and strategy. 

The company has grown drastically since 1959, now operating 12 stores in five different states. Ron Jon licensed partners also operate stores in several airports as well as two international locations. But the reach of Ron Jon Surf Shop spans even further.

"Ron Jon's name and brand recognition are much larger than our company," said Goodwin. "People see Ron Jon stickers everywhere. I think it's a real testament of good marketing, having a brand be recognized larger than it is."

Harvey credits their team of 400 employees to ensure their physical locations are more than just a store. The Ron Jon store teams ensure that customers feel welcome and have a fun and unique experience when they visit.

"Everyone here has a common goal," stated Harvey. "All of us work hard and enjoy our jobs. We are really adamant about the Ron Jon brand and making sure we exceed customer expectations. There's no typical day at Ron Jon Surf Shop."

Harvey's words carried even greater weight when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. As with many retail businesses, Ron Jon Surf Shop temporarily shut its doors last March. 

"That was really unchartered territory for us," said Goodwin. "For the past 35 years, Ron Jon only closed for a day or two at a time if there was a hurricane headed our way. The unknown was the scariest part."

As Florida began to slowly reopen, people across the state began to spend more time at the beach as a safe option to go outside the home. 

The Ron Jon team reopened to meet the demand but with appropriate health and safety measures in place. To ensure the health and safety of employees and customers, the Ron Jon team installed plexiglass barriers, regularly sanitized the store and high touch areas, kept limited capacity in-store and positioned employees at the door to ensure customers were complying with mask ordinances. 

"We were very happy we had business come back. We truly did not know how many people would return," said Harvey.

What Ron Jon did not expect, was the surge of customers. 

"We weren't sure what reopening was going to look like," stated Goodwin. "We were actually a little overwhelmed; we went from zero to 100, but we were able to safely manage the influx of customers because of our great team. We listened to our team and learned about what was going on in the field. As a result, we were able to make decisions quickly and pivot to meet our customers' needs and maintain safety."

While Harvey and Goodwin were relieved by the return of customers to storefronts, the urgency to support local businesses after a pandemic shutdown was evident.

"Florida businesses hire your neighbors and my neighbors," Harvey explained. "It's important to keep these people employed. For many business owners, it is their life's work; they've devoted their entire life to their business. It's important to get back to a place where they can be competitive and sustain themselves, their business and their employees."

"It is very, very important whether big or small, to support Florida businesses that are employing fellow Floridians and creating economic growth within the state and our communities."

As Harvey prepares for retirement, she expresses she is thrilled to be passing on the torch to Michele. She is most proud of the company and culture that has been built.

"Michele has a true sense of Ron Jon," said Harvey. "She knows our customers, who our employees are and what the company culture is. She knows our people and has a really unique understanding of the company. She's seen the company grow from a smaller operation to a larger company."

Goodwin looks forward to upholding the traditions of Ron Jon Surf Shop while moving the company and operation into the future. 

"For a company that has been around as long as we have, you have to honor what came before," Goodwin affirmed. "But for a company to continue, you have to keep evolving and rethinking what the business looks like while maintaining that homage to the past. We have a name brand and reputation that people get very nostalgic about. You don't want to lose that as we move into the next decade. That is the fun part."

Ron Jon Surf Shop is one of many retail businesses in Florida that you can support while you shop local and "Find It In Florida." Visit the website or follow them on FacebookTwitter or Instagram for more information. 

Last year, the Florida Retail Federation launched the "Find It In Florida" campaign to spread public awareness on the importance of shopping locally. When Floridian shoppers "Find It In Florida", they are helping to keep doors open, boost the local economy and support their communities. 

Florida's retailers have continued to take proactive measures during the pandemic to provide consumers with safe access to meet their shopping needs, including safely shopping in stores, curbside pickup and online ordering options.  

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, 22 March 2021 10:17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 22, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Scott Shalley Joins Business Panel Discussion at Senate Select Committee on Pandemic and Preparedness Response

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) participated in a panel discussion on Monday before the Senate Select Committee on Pandemic & Preparedness Response to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on Florida's retail industry over the past year.

Scott Shalley, the president and CEO of the FRF, discussed the retail industry's hardships and transformation and explained the ongoing challenges retailers face.

"The pandemic has no doubt had a permanent impact on the retail industry," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the FRF. "Almost immediately, there was a massive shutdown. As the realities of COVID-19 set in, [there were a number of other impacts to retail]: the panic buying of products, the search for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), massive unemployment, and the massive loss of sales and related revenue."

The Florida retail industry represents more than 274,000 businesses in Florida and supports nearly 3 million jobs.

The forced closure of stores had a real impact on jobs tied to retail. Nationally, retail sales fell 16.4% in the month of April 2020. According to Bloomberg News on April 2, over 1 million retail workers were furloughed.

In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis adopted a science-driven approach that allowed businesses to safely reopen and workers to get back to work.

"I think to see the level of shut down that has taken place in other states would have been absolutely devastating to our [retail] businesses," stated Shalley.

"[Governor DeSantis] recognized that it's not what you shop for, it's how you shop. It's how do you behave when you're out in public, are you following CDC guidelines, can we incrementally get people back to work?"

Florida retailers implemented health and safety measures recommended by the CDC, requiring masks for employees and customers, routinely sanitizing stores, implementing social distance measures and more.

To support Florida retailers' efforts to reopen and ensure they could remain open, the FRF focused on keeping them informed of shifting local government regulations. More than 160 different county and city mask ordinances were tracked, reported and updated by the FRF to help members stay in compliance with requirements.

"If we [follow guidelines], we stay open," said Shalley. "We keep people employed. We sell products and continue to thrive in this evolving environment."

The retail industry did more than follow guidelines and restrictions, it transformed over the last year by accelerating the adoption of new technologies. Retail stores launched new purchasing avenues, including online, curbside and delivery services.

Retailers have also been crucial to the distribution and administration of COVID-19 tests and vaccines.

"Our chain pharmacy members have done a phenomenal job of playing a very pivotal role in the vaccine administration," said Shalley. "Moving forward, we'd like to see a continuation legislatively of the rules that were adopted by [U.S. Department of Health & Human Services] and by the state's Executive Orders."

Florida businesses have proven once again to be resilient and adaptive. Yet one year later, challenges remain.

The Florida businesses that in good faith implemented the appropriate health and safety guidelines face significant liability risks. In addition, Florida's current sales tax system leaves local retailers at a disadvantage when competing with out-of-state businesses that are not required to collect and remit sales tax.

Thankfully, legislation in both chambers will help alleviate these burdens.SB 72 and HB 7will protect retail businesses from frivolous COVID-19-related lawsuits. SB 50 and HB 15 will require online and out-of-state retailers without a physical presence in Florida to collect and remit sales tax to the state.

"There is a great sense of optimism," stated Shalley. "We look forward to continuing to grow and serve the state of Florida."

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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