Retail DayThe UAB Collat School of Business marked Retail Day with an event that celebrated the top retailers in Alabama, and allowed UAB business students to meet those business leaders and hear their advice and success stories.

“To meet the state’s most accomplished retailers and learn from them directly is great for our students,” said Robert Robicheaux, Ph.D., chair of UAB’s Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics. “It’s part of our system to really encourage our students to interact with the business community. There are a lot of things that can be learned in the classroom, but a lot of things that can’t be learned anywhere but in the field. We want them to see what the real world is like and how much fun people can have doing what they love while meeting other people’s needs and expectations.”

The UAB Collat School of Business joined with the Alabama Retail Association for the event, held at The Club, to mark the 32nd Annual Retail Day.

Twelve retail businesses with operations in 72 Alabama cities and 31 states were recognized as Retailers of the Year. 

The Gee Emerging Retailer of the Year Award, named for the late Mickey Gee, UAB professor and longtime owner of The Pants Store, was awarded to Freshfully and co-owner Jen Barnett. Freshfully started as an online business to connect shoppers and local farmers and has expanded into a renovated space in Birmingham's Avondale neighborhood.  The Freshfully market offers fresh, in-season produce and local grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork, free-range chicken , and Gulf shrimp.   

Keynote speaker Rodney Barstein, chief operating officer of Simply Fashion Stores Ltd., gave the keynote speech on how retail stores can best compete to win and retain customers in a digital age by offering outstanding shopping and service experiences.

Event photos

More event coverage 

Freshfully, Belk, Lulu's and others win Alabama Retailer of the Year awards