Bi-weekly blog from the N.C. Retail Merchants Association
By: Ann Edmondson | April 27, 2016
In December 2006, I left my career in retail behind. I wasn’t working in a store, but instead with an organization whose sole purpose was to serve their retail members. So, after nine years of lobbying and advocating for retail at the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA), my career led me away and in a new direction. However, I always felt fortunate to have learned about the retail trade, from pharmacy to grocery to jewelry – from large chains to small chains to one-store operations. What I learned about retail was that no matter what was sold or the size of the store operation, all retailers want to serve their customers and employees, grow their business, create jobs and support their communities.
Now, just over nine years later, my career has led me back to retail. Once again, I am working with NCRMA. Although my role here will be different, as the new senior director of communications, the important things are still very much the same. Sure, we are in a new office and there are lots of new faces on staff and on the board, but here are the two main ideals I’ve witnessed in practice since I’ve been back on staff.
- NCRMA is still working every day to be the voice of retail – with legislators, mayors, media and anyone else who needs to hear the positive message of retail’s contributions to North Carolina. Our sole purpose is still to serve our members whenever and however they need us.
- Retail is strong and thriving in North Carolina, because no matter what they sell or the size of their store, retailers still want to serve their customers and employees, grow their business, create jobs and support their communities.
In my first week back, I was able to attend NCRMA’s Spring Board Meeting and I saw a board and a staff focused on how to continue to expand the organization’s support for the state’s retail industry. It’s not always an easy task when the size and scope of our retail members are so diverse, but it’s a task that is taken on with incomparable commitment and a wealth of knowledge on our side.
It would be misleading to tell you that I’m not a little overwhelmed right now. Day eight of any new job can do that to you. But here are three things I see as my immediate, and likely ongoing, challenges:
- Create messaging to our existing retail members as well as potential members that will create and raise their awareness and understanding of the real value of membership in NCRMA.
- Educate and inform consumers about the contributions of the retail industry to our state. This includes the economic impact of the jobs provided, taxes paid and sales tax remitted as well the philanthropic support of everything from little league baseball teams to national charities.
- Energize and inspire the next generation of retail staff, entrepreneurs and supporters, by extolling to high school and college students the career opportunities that are available in the retail industry far beyond what they imagine.
It is good to be back at NCRMA.
I am glad to work for an industry and an association that I strongly support.
I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.