Gifts & Dec Names 2012 Retailer Excellence Award Winners

Creative Co-op and Chuck Burke Earn Manufacturer and Rep Honors; Les Mandelbaum and Paul Rowan Receive Gift for Life Accolade

REA logoNEW YORK - It was an evening of recognizing some of the gift and home industry's best and brightest as Gifts and Decorative Accessories revealed the winners of its 61st annual Retailer Excellence Awards last night. Members from across all aspects of the industry assembled to applaud all the finalists, winners and other honorees at the Retailer Excellence Awards gala.

In introducing the Awards, GDA's editor-in-chief Caroline Kennedy stated that in 61 years, the Awards program has never wavered from its initial mission: "to honor outstanding creative retailers, showcase their achievements and provide inspiration to other retailers just like them."

Taking Retailer Excellence Award top honors are:
Marketing Achievement: Christian's Kinder Laden, Batesville, IN
Visual Merchandising: BEE Inc., Atlanta, GA
Store Events: Blackstone's of Beacon Hill, Boston, MA
Gift Store Design/Redesign: The Brooklyn Museum Shop, Brooklyn, NY
Gift Store Design/Redesign: Mxyplyzyk, Jersey City, NJ

For the second year in a row, two winners were named in the Store Design category. Gifts and Decorative Accessories' editorial director Warren Shoulberg noted that in evaluating finalists' entries to determine the winner, comparing a lower budget, designer project against a large budget architectural firm project, was like comparing apples to oranges, and that Mxyplyzyk showed that good design can also be accomplished on a more modest budget.

Retailers were not the only honorees of the evening. Two retailer-nominated awards recognizing manufacturers/vendors and manufacturers' sales representatives were presented. Creative Co-op took top honors for the inaugural Retailers' Choice Manufacturer/Vendor of the Year. The award, nominated by and voted for online by retailers, is new this year. The Outstanding Manufacturers' Rep Award went to Chuck Burke of Road Runners, a second award for him; Chuck

Burke also earned the inaugural Outstanding Manufacturers' Rep Award in 2007.

The presentation of Gift for Life's Industry Achievement Award capped off the evening. Peter Schauben, founder, Gift for Life, took the stage to present the award to Umbra co-founders Les Mandelbaum and Paul Rowan, to acknowledge their contributions to the industry through great design and innovative product development. Gift for Life is the gift, stationery and home industries charitable arm.


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