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Florida Retail Federation to honor Retailer of the Year June 9 in St. Pete

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The Florida Retail Federation will name a Tallahassee businesswoman the “2016 Florida Retailer of the Year” during an awards luncheon June 9 in St. Petersburg.

Lisa Mergel, owner of Kanvas Spa & Boutique, will be presented with the award at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel next month, and businesswomen Kristen Keen of Jacksonville and Debbie Farah of Winter Park will be recognized as “Outstanding Retail Leaders” during the same event.

“Lisa is a tremendous representative of the positive impact that retailers and the state’s entire retail industry have made on Florida, by not only helping their customers, but their community as well,” FRF President & CEO Randy Miller said. “We are proud to recognize her accomplishments of providing world-class products and services in her store and providing world class help to those in need outside of it.”

In addition to many spa services, Mergel’s business sponsors many community events in and around Tallahassee, including the LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival, FSU Opening Nights, Junior League Operation Prom Dress, the Tallahassee Animal Shelter Foundation’s Tail & Trails and the Young Actors Theatre.

“I am honored to be selected as the 2016 Florida Retailer of the Year, and I want to thank the Florida Retail Federation for their continued support of our industry and for shining the spotlight on the larger role that retailers can play in their local community,” Mergel said. “I also want to thank my incredible team at Kanvas for their hard work, support and dedication toward ensuring that all of our customers have the best experience possible.”

Keen, the owner of Rethreaded in Jacksonville, uses her business to help victims of the sex trade by giving them specialized training and helping them establish a work history. Her clothing store has helped more than 2,200 women by selling their original crafts and creations.

Farah, founder of Bajalia International Group, sells jewelry, fashion accessories and home décor crafted by women in emerging economies and has a social enterprise business model that connects consumers with the women who create these products. In addition to her work with Bajalia, Farah promotes the retail industry through engagements as a WeVenture Founding Board member, an Advisory Board Member of Women’s Worth, and through Rollins College Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Initiative among others.

FRF’s Retailer of the Year award, started in 1999, honors Florida retailers who blend sound business practices with commitments to their communities, customers and employees. Eligibility is limited to those who work for, own, or operate a Florida retail business that has an annual sales volume of $5 million or less. Nominations are gathered through a statewide call and the winner is selected by a panel made up of small-business owners and other retail experts who rate the nominees in several categories, including community service and business acumen.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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