STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 10
Retail Champion Wants Lawmakers
To Hear From 'Somebody Who's Living This'
NRF has named a women's clothing store owner from Vermont as
America's Retail Champion of the Year in recognition of her advocacy
work on public policy issues facing the industry.
Trudy Trombley, who runs Truly Trudy's Boutique in
Stowe, was honored during NRF's Retail Advocates
Summit in July after being chosen from five finalists
who were on hand for the event.
"NRF is proud to host hardworking small business
owners in Washington this week to recognize our
industry's most engaged retail advocates," NRF
President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
"Trudy is a strong grassroots advocate and a leader
in the retail industry who ensures that retail's voice
is heard on a wide range of policy issues," Shay said.
"By being involved at all levels of government, she
helps advance the public policy agenda for retailers,
their employees and customers."
Trombley said she became active in policy issues to
let elected officials know the impact their decisions
on laws and regulations have on private businesses.
"I'm hoping that by speaking to the lawmakers
that they'll be able to hear the voice of somebody
who's living this and worries every day about our
employees," she said.
Trombley opened the first of her three store
locations 30 years ago and the other two seven
years ago. She was a co-recipient of the Vermont
Retail and Grocer Association's 2016 Person of the
Year Award, and is active with both the association
and local business groups.
Other finalists included Amber Gustafson of
Amber's Designs Fine Jewelry in Katy, Texas; Ken
Keiran of Union Farm Equipment in Union, Maine;
Bill Golden of Golden Shoes in Traverse City, Mich.;
and Jeff Erb of Saneholtz-McKarns, an oil supplier
and convenience store operator in Montpelier, Ohio.
More than 75 retailers competed for the award,
which honors merchants who make their mark on
public policy debates affecting the industry.
Retailer Turned Congressman
Named Legislator Of The Year
There's something about his fellow members of Congress that concerns NRF's
new legislator of the year - most have never run a business.
"I come from the private sector and I'm watching people
making decisions on policy who have never ever done what you
do," Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., told retailers at NRF's Retail
Advocates Summit in Washington this summer. "Not the foggiest
idea of how you get through the night, how you get through the
day, how you get through payroll."
"If we don't get more people from the private sector coming and
serving," he added, "we cannot change this."
Kelly is a lifelong retailer as the owner of Mike
Kelly Automotive Inc., a car dealership in Butler,
Pa., outside Pittsburgh.
Kelly was presented with the award as more
than 200 small business retailers, national retail
chain executives and state retail association
officials gathered for the summit, which is NRF's
annual congressional fly-in. He encouraged the
retailers to make their views known to Congress
and, ultimately, to run for office themselves.
A member of the tax-writing House Ways
and Means Committee, Kelly was recognized
STORES September 2017
because of his support of pro-growth tax reform and his help
in defeating a controversial border adjustment tax proposal that
would have driven up prices for consumers and possibly forced
some retailers out of business.
Kelley said the 20 percent tax on all imported goods that
would have been created under the proposal would have had a
clear impact on his business, which sells both foreign brands and
domestic vehicles that include foreign parts.
"I'm always concerned about price points
whether it's a good or a service and what it's
going to do to consumers because they're
already stretched so thin," he said. "When
you put the 20 percent tariff on it, what is
this going to do to the price?"
Kelly received the award just one week
before House Republican leaders agreed
to drop the border tax proposal from their
tax reform plan following a months-long
campaign against it by NRF and other