A West Hartford business and business owner were among the recipients of Connecticut Retail Merchants Association highest honors.
The Connecticut Retail Merchants Association (CRMA) has honored four of Connecticut’s leading retail businesses for their responsiveness to customers, superior business practices and outstanding community involvement. At the organization’s annual awards luncheon on Nov. 18, the association also recognized two individuals who have had an impact on the retail industry and state.
The annual Awards ceremony honored Munson’s Chocolates (Retailer of the Year), Fleet Feet Sports (Excellence in Customer & Community Service), EbLens (Special Recognition Award) and Macy’s (National Retailer of the Year). The association’s Distinguished Service Award was presented to Marc Green, owner of Lux Bond & Green, and the inaugural Legislator of the Year award was given to State Senator Len Fasano (34th District) of North Haven.
Munson Chocolates – Munson’s is a third generation candy family, and Connecticut’s largest retail chocolate manufacturer. Munson’s Chocolates was founded by Ben and Josephine Munson in 1946, and the first store was in Manchester and in currently located in Bolton, where all of the candy is manufactured. Munson’s also has two locations in West Hartford.
Fleet Feet Sports – Fleet Feet Sports provides personalized attention to customers, driven by the leadership of owner Stephanie Blozy, for whom retail is a second career and life’s calling. A rigorous training program for employees ensures that customers receive knowledgeable and dedicated attention at the West Hartford location, recently expanded as the business has grown. Stephanie has been running since she was 5, and switched from a career in meteorology to help others, especially kids and those new to running, reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle to achieve what they thought wasn’t possible.
EbLens – Eblens sells the best in name brand urban clothing and footwear for the entire family, with 38 locations in four states, including 18 in Connecticut. The business began in New Britain, and continues to have a presence there. EbLens has grown into New England’s premier destination for clothing and footwear designed for a modern urban lifestyle.
The Annual Awards Luncheon, held at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts with catering by the Max Restaurant Group, brought together more than 200 people representing retail businesses throughout the state.
“We are extremely excited and proud to recognize our 2015 Retailers of the Year,” said CRMA Board Chairman Tom Wholley, owner of Connecticut Mattress. “They represent the best in the Connecticut retail industry, and have achieved tremendous success by consistently working at providing their customers with the best shopping experience along with outstanding value and first rate customer service.”
The program for the annual Awards Luncheon day also included a focus on the upcoming session of the State Legislature, with a report on current legislative task forces reviewing various aspects of state tax policy and other issues impacting the retail industry.
“We are thrilled to recognize outstanding Connecticut retailers who go the extra mile for customers and employees,” said CRMA President Tim Phelan. “The set a standard of excellence that is reflected throughout the industry in Connecticut. CRMA is also very pleased to recognize the leadership, insight and accomplishments of Marc Green within the retail industry, and Senator Fasano at the State Capitol. They both personify what leadership is all about.”
Sen. Fasano has served the 34th Senatorial District communities of Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford since 2003. Following his re-election in 2014, the Senate Republican Caucus elected Fasano to serve as Senate Minority Leader for the 2015-16 legislative session. He is the President and Founder of Fasano, Ippoito and Lee, a law firm in New Haven, and is an East Haven business owner.
Marc Green, past chairman of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, is owner of Lux Bond & Green, a Connecticut business since 1898. Green was honored for his leadership of and service to CRMA, advocating for retailers throughout Connecticut. He served as association chairman for seven years.
“On behalf of our entire organization we are privileged and humbled to receive this honor,” said Karen F. Munson, President of Munson’s Chocolates. “As a third generation family business, rooted in the Connecticut economy for 70 years, we share this award with every one of the more than 150 Munson employees throughout our organization. This recognition was possible only because of our shared focus on product quality, innovation and creating retail stores that connect consumers to our incredibly special brand.”
“While we always strive to provide a great selection of product, we pride ourselves more on the experience we offer in-store and our role to inspire and unite our community to lead healthy, active lives regardless of age of ability, “ said Fleet Feet Sports owner Stephanie Blozy. “We are so honored to be recognized by the CRMA for our efforts and are proud to be a part of the retailing community.”
“EbLens has enjoyed a very long standing relationship with many of the communities all over Connecticut. With so much pride our entire team graciously accepts the CRMA’s recognition award,” said Richard Seaman, President & CEO. “We’d like to thank our business partners, all our families and all our friends for their unwavering support in helping us to succeed. After almost 70 years of continuous operation we look forward to humbly serving Connecticut and the greater New England area for many more years to come.”
Macy’s, which began as a small, fancy dry goods store in New York City in 1858, has grown into one of the largest retailers in the world. The company has a strong presence in Connecticut, with 13 locations and 2,800 employees. Locations include Danbury, Enfield, Farmington, Manchester, Meriden, Milford, Stamford, Trumbull, Waterbury and Waterford.
Past recipients of the CRMA Retailer of the Year award include Mickey Finn’s (2014), Brooks Brothers (2013), Town Fair Tire (2012), Bob’s Stores (2011), CT Lighting Center (2010), Subway Restaurant Group (2009), Stew Leonard’s (2008), Michaels Jewelers (2007), Zane’s World Famous Cycles (2006), North Cove Outfitters (2005), Stackpole Moore Tryon (2004), Bob’s Discount Furniture (2003), Bernie’s (2002), Ethan Allen Corp. (2001) and Mitchells (2000).
CRMA is a statewide trade association that represents Connecticut retailers at the State Capitol and in the marketplace. The association’s members include more than 2,000 stores throughout the state, including some of the world’s largest retailers as well as the state’s main street merchants. To learn more about CRMA, visit www.crmaonline.com or call 860-527-1044.