GDA names 2013 Retailer Excellence Award winners and industry honorees

At a gala affair Aug. 18, attended by representatives from all walks of the gift industry community, the winners of the 62nd annual Retailer Excellence Awards (REA) were revealed, along with the winners of the Outstanding Manufacturers' Rep and Retailers' Choice Manufacturer/Vendor of the Year Awards.

In welcoming the assembled guests, Nancy Wolkow, publisher of Home Accents Today sister publication Gifts and Decorative Accessories, set the tone for the evening's program. "We continue the long standing tradition of the REA's and celebrate the last 62 years of the gift business," she said. "We take a close look at the year that has past and celebrate the retailers, sales reps and manufacturers who have gone above and beyond."

The recipients of 2013 Retailer Excellence Awards are:

Gift Store Design/Redesign: Zing, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Marketing Achievement: Tweak, Los Angeles

Visual Merchandising: Absolutely Fabulous, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Store Events: Leon & Lulu, Clawson, Mich.

The evening also recognized the achievements of other important segments of the gift industry: a rising star, a sales rep and a manufacturer/vendor. The first award of the evening went to an industry newcomer that has made a splash with fresh ideas and an innovative way of doing business; Red Clay, a design studio, was honored as an Industry Rising Star.

Earning honors as the Outstanding Manufacturers' Rep was Ann Proctor Fuller of Rosse and Associates. The Retailers' Choice Manufacturer/Vendor of the Year award was presented to Chronicle Books. In keeping with the spirit of Retailer Excellence Awards program, both awards honorees were nominated by retailers and in the case of the Retailers' Choice Manufacturer/Vendor of the Year, online voting by retailers determined the winner. As each winner was announced, a short video presentation highlighted their award-winning accomplishments.

Sharing the evening's honors presentation, Gift for Life closed out the awards segment of the evening by presenting its Industry Achievement Award to Archipelago's co-owners Gregg Corzine and David Klass. The award recognizes not only their support of Gift for Life, the industry's charitable arm supporting AIDS education and support, but also their giving back to the industry by way of helping others as they have been helped in the past.

In looking to the past, the evening would not have been complete without paying a short tribute to Phyllis Sweed, the former editor-in-chief of Gifts and Decorative Accessories who passed away last month. In acknowledging Sweed's contributions, GDA Editor Caroline Kennedy observed, "What Gifts and Decorative Accessories and the Retailer Excellence Awards stand for today is a tribute to Phyllis' vision and leadership - they are a part of her legacy."

And with a nod to the future, Wolkow noted the presence of 12 young professionals, some with recognizable last names and joining a family business, who represent the industry's future.

Originated and presented by Gifts and Decorative Accessories, the Retailer Excellence Awards would not be possible without the support of its headline sponsor NY Now with Dallas Market Center, key co-sponsors including Americasmart, International Market Centers, Urban Expositions, 7West Tenants, a and a host of generous other supporting sponsors. In addition, the REA awards presented were created by Beatriz Ball.

GDA Staff | News & Commentary

Lenise Willis, editor in chief; Anne-Marie Earl, managing editor; Cammie Collier, art director; and Brianna Glenn, assistant editor, love reviewing new products for Gifts and Decorative Accessories . The team stays on top of the latest trends in bath and body, candles, gourmet items, stationery, home décor, fashion and more, and love chatting about their latest finds. Check in each week for more of their latest picks on GiftRap, and see more of the team on their new bi-weekly video series, Thoughts That Count.

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