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Main Street Leadership Council

Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses around the country face unfair competition from online-only retailers that exploit a tax loophole to avoid collecting state sales taxes. But each state also has its own unique business community and economic climate. This is why the Alliance for Main Street Fairness formed our Main Street Leadership Councils.

The members of these leadership councils will be on the front lines, helping to restore a level playing field for sales taxes that will benefit Main Street businesses, support local jobs and add to state revenues. Click on the councils below to read more about the Main Street Leadership Council members in each state.

Arkansas Main Street Leadership Council

Bill Underwood, owner, Underwood’s Fine Jewelers, Fayetteville, Arkansas. William G. Underwood, CGA, the founder of Underwood’s in Fayetteville, was inducted into the National Jeweler Hall of Fame in New York City. Underwood was only the seventh jeweler in the nation to be inducted into the National Jeweler Hall of Fame in New York. This prestigious award is bestowed upon jewelers who have exhibited superior professional, gemological, and management skills. Mike Roman, chairman of Jewelers of America said, “Underwood represents the epitome of entrepreneurship in the jewelry profession. He founded his store in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in July 1957 with only $1,000 of borrowed money, and he has built it into one of the truly fine jewelry stores in the nation.” 

Loyd Stanley, owner, Stanley Jewelers, North Little Rock, Arkansas. Stanley is an instantly recognizable local figure. He is the recognized authority on diamonds and is often an expert authority for local law enforcement and the media. He was the first certified gemologist in Central Arkansas, and the second certified gemologist appraiser in the state. He can help you purchase the most diamond for your money. He is also a specialist in estate and insurance appraising for individuals and banks. Pick any type of jewelry, or any question about jewelry, and Stanley is the most qualified gemologist to help—his knowledge is unsurpassed! Stanley received the Arkansas Jewelers Association’s special “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2008.

Jake Files, State Senator for District 13, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Arkansas State Senator Jake Files represents Senate District 13, which comprises a portion of Sebastian County and the entire city of Fort Smith. Elected in 2010, he is serving his first term in the Arkansas Senate.  During the 88th General Assembly, he serves on Legislative Joint Auditing; Senate Revenue and Taxation; Senate Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs; and Senate Efficiency. He is an alternate to Joint Budget Committee. Senator Files was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1998 to serve House District 12, and served two consecutive terms. Professionally, Senator Files is a partner at Foster, Files and Harris LLC, a general construction firm and real estate development company. His past professional experience includes serving a term as president and superintendent of the Pre-K – 12 at Fort Smith Christian School and working for ERC Properties, Inc.  

Randy Zook, president and CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Little Rock, Arkansas. Zook directs the operation of the State Chamber/AIA, which serves as the home of Arkansas’s business community. He was previously Deputy Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. A native of McGehee, Zook is a 1966 graduate of the University of Arkansas, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Prior to joining AEDC, he spent nearly 34 years with the Atlantic Envelope Company of Atlanta, serving as president and chief executive officer of the $200 million company from 1989 to 2004. After his retirement, he began his second career involved in economic development efforts. 

Don Zimmerman, executive director, Arkansas Municipal League, North Little Rock, Arkansas. Zimmerman is the executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League, having served Arkansas cities and towns in this position since 1974. Zimmerman, a lifelong resident of Arkansas, is a product of the North Little Rock public schools and the University of Arkansas, holding BSBA and JD degrees. He is a member of several state and national boards. He and his wife, Jan, are proud parents of three and grandparents of seven.

Jamie Darling, owner, Darling’s Fine Things, Newport, Arkansas. Jamie Darling is the owner of Darling’s Fine Things, a women’s specialty boutique in Newport, Arkansas. She is a graduate of Newport High School and earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Arkansas State University. She is also a Former Adjunct Instructor at Arkansas State University–Newport. Darling is an active member of the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, including the Retail Merchants Committee, and is a past Chamber board member. She is an active supporter and recruiter for the 3/50 Project, a national grassroots organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of locally owned independent businesses. She is a member of Tuckerman United Methodist Church and is married to Scott Shumate, owner of Shumate Farms in Stuttgart. 

Michigan Main Street Leadership Council

James Hallan, Michigan Retailers Association - Jim Hallan became president and CEO in 2008 after serving as president and chief operating officer since 1989. He also serves as president and CEO of Retailers Mutual. He joined Michigan Retailers as general counsel in 1985. He serves as a member and former chair of the Board of Directors of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, chair of the national Council of State Retail Association Executives, past board member of Fremont Insurance Company, and as past President of the State YMCA. A former assistant county prosecutor, he is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Detroit College of Law.

Barb Stein is the owner/operator of Great Northern Trading Co., in Rockford, Michigan, a specialty gifts and home décor store she opened in 1977. She is active in the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce and is chair of the Rockford Downtown Development Association, chair of the HEART of Rockford Business Association, and member of the Rockford Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. A graduate of Peirce College in Philadelphia, she has served on the Michigan Retailers Services, Inc., board and was first elected to the MRA board in 2001.

Jamie Nye, Great Turtle Toys, Clarkston and Mackinac Island - After graduating from Michigan State University with a BS in Building Construction Management, Jamie worked in Chicago as a project manager for a commercial construction company where she quickly advanced to the senior estimator for the company. In1997, Jamie and her brother opened Great Turtle Toys on Mackinac Island. IN 2008, they opened a second location of Great Turtle Toys in Clarkston. They have recently split the stores ownership and Jamie is the sole owner of the Clarkston location.

Thomas Weidner, Woodward Camera, Birmingham - Thomas "Bert" Weidner is the owner of Woodward Camera, one of the 2 remaining camera stores of the 40 that used to be in the Detroit Metro area. He has served the photographers in his area for 41 years in the same location. Bert is a member of the Photographic Research Organization, and a former member of the board of directors. Bert is also a member of Kirk in the Hills Church, the Masons and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

Ron Estes, Associate General Counsel Center Management Services, Birmingham - Ron L. Estes is a summa cum laude graduate of Michigan State University College of Law. Mr. Estes has served as a Research Attorney for Michigan's 48th District Court and 16th Judicial Circuit Court. Currently, Mr. Estes is Associate General Counsel for Center Management Services, Inc., a privately held Birmingham, MI based property investment and management company. Mr. Estes' practice includes retail property purchases, sales, leasing, financing, and managing of a national real estate portfolio with over one million square feet of diversified commercial development.  

Bill Golden, Golden Shoes, Traverse City - Bill Golden is the third generation owner of Golden shoes, a store that has been in his family since 1954. Bill has served on the Downtown Traverse City Association board for 4 years. Bill is proud of his store and was honored to receive the Michigan Retailer of the Year award in 2005 from the Michigan Retailers Association.

Lynne MacDowell, MacDowell’s of Grand Ledge, Grand Ledge - After 34 years as a financial analyst for the State of Michigan, Lynne joined her husband in running their Fireplace and Floral store in Grand Ledge. She has been involved in the day-to-day operations since 2002. Lynne is also proud to serve as the treasurer for Chosen Vision, a non-profit organization that helps mentally challenged women in the area.

Kim Volz, The Dive Shop, Flint - Kim has owned The Dive Shop since 1986. He is proud to serve his community by being on the Sherriff's Department Dive and Rescue Team. He is also a Boy Scout Scuba and Dive Counselor for the Merit Badge.

Carla Merrill, Norm Henry Shoes, Owosso

Matt Norcross, McLean and Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey

Sue Majerek, Majerek’s, Niles

Gary Foote, Woodcraft of West Michigan, Grand Rapids

Tim Webster, Websters Pro-Shop, Gaylord and Petoskey

Candy Lancioni, Aunt Candy's Toy Company, Rockford

Ken Vos, Gameroom Gallery, Holland

North Carolina Main Street Leadership Council

Bill Thunberg, former Republican mayor of Mooresville, North Carolina. Thunberg is currently the executive director of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission. He is also the vice chair for Public Policy of the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce. Along with his public service, Thunberg is the owner of Alexander Zachary Jewelers in Mooresville, North Carolina. Thunberg graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Steve Ashworth is the owner of Ashworth’s Clothing and Shoes in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.  

Andrew Riddle is the vice president of Riddle Construction Company in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He is also the owner of Aging in Place in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Riddle is the chairman of the Henderson County Republican Party.

Todd Johnson is a Republican County Commissioner in Union County, North Carolina. He is also the owner of Union Cigar Company and Johnson Insurance Management in Monroe, North Carolina.  Johnson graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

David Swaim is the vice president of Piedmont Printing Company in Asheboro, North Carolina.

Abe Elmore is the owner of Elmore Furniture, which has three locations in Eastern North Carolina. Elmore graduated from Wake Forest University.

Representative David Lewis is a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, representing the 53rd district, which is comprised of Harnett County. Along with Representative Lewis’ public service, he is a partner in Quality Equipment, LLC, which is a major farm equipment retailer.

Parker Mills lives in Monroe, North Carolina, with his wife, Tammie. Mills graduated from Monroe High School and received a BSBA in Finance and Management. Mills is the proud owner of Mills Cleaners and Royal Cleaners. Along with operating and growing his business, Mills serves the public as a member of the Union County Board of Commissioners. He is also an executive board member for the Central Carolina Council of Boy Scouts of America. 

Matt Adams is the vice president/general manager of Regal Rubber Company. He resides in Gastonia, North Carolina, with his fiancé, Angela. Adams graduated from Belmont Abbey College with a degree in Business Management. While at Belmont Abbey, Adams became the chairman of the North Carolina College Republicans. Adams remains very involved in the political arena.  

Lee Currie lives in Clayton, North Carolina. From 1997 – 1999, Currie was the executive director for the North Carolina Republican Party. Later, he served as the president/CEO of Federal Covers & Textiles, Inc., and is a former executive director of the Foundation for Economic Education. Currie received a Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Georgia. He has also received continuing professional education at American Graduate University.  

Ohio Main Street Leadership Council

Gordon Gough, executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. Gough manages corporate finances, internal and external communications, membership development, and advertising/marketing efforts. Gough serves as editor of the Council’s quarterly magazine, Council Concepts, maintains government/lobbying duties, and provides executive leadership for the Ohio Tire and Automotive Association, Ohio Receivables Management Association, and the Ohio Association of Convenience Stores. Before this responsibility, Gordon was the director of Legislative and Corporate Affairs. Prior to joining the Council, Gough served the Ohio Department of Commerce as a legislative liaison.

Jack Siebert, president, Jack Seibert Goldsmith & Jeweler. Seibert has been involved with jewelry since his college days. He began to exhibit his own jewelry pieces in the Columbus Arts Festival as well as Winterfair in the early 1970s. This led to 10 years of exhibitions across the country at juried arts festivals from Miami to New York. After his college days and exhibition years, Siebert earned his graduate gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America in 1981. Seibert Jewelers has continued to flourish with fine custom-designed jewelry, one-of-a-kind pieces, and ideal-cut diamonds. In recognition of his business and community achievements, Siebert was recently named the prestigious Corporate Business Person of the Year by the Upper Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

John Marshall, owner, Grismer Tire. John Marshall is the owner of Grismer Tire, a tire dealer and service company with stores across Ohio. Since 1932, Grismer Tire has been serving Ohioans for all of their tire needs. When John Marshall took the reins, the company quickly expanded from just four stores to dealerships across the state. Today, Grismer Tire’s commercial division makes up a large section of their sales and the company has more than 250 employees. In 2003, Marshall received the prestigious Tire Dealer of the Year award from Modern Tire Dealer magazine. 

Ian Budd, owner, ICB Audio and Video. ICB was founded by Ian Budd in 1976. He had previously worked in England with a major British mixing console manufacturer and had come to the United States on a project for them. Budd’s expertise was so much in demand that he stayed, creating ICB, a company servicing and installing multi-track tape recorders, mixing consoles, and other equipment for professional recording studios. After a few short years, ICB expanded into equipment sales and installations—not only for recording studios, but also for many of the business clients of those studios. From that time on, the company has experienced growth in all of its product lines, services, and areas of expertise, developing into the leading AV equipment company it is today.

Dale Edman, vice president, eCommerce division, Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply. Edman is the vice president of eCommerce for the Wasserstrom Company, where he manages all aspects of the online retail business, from development to customer service and marketing. Prior to joining Wasserstrom, Edman was the director of client services - Retail Practice, for Resource Interactive where he managed online projects for such clients as Home Depot, Auto Zone, L.L. Bean, and Oriental Trading Company.

Carol Hughes, executive director, Springboro Chamber of Commerce. Springboro is located between Dayton and Cincinnati in Southwest Ohio and is a rapidly growing exurb. The town still maintains a strong “Main Street” feel and it is home to numerous small retailers that are affected by the sales tax loophole. The Chamber has 459 member businesses in the Springboro area. Prior to working at the Springboro Chamber, Hughes worked for the YMCA of Greater Dayton. She is originally from Bath, England, but now resides in Lebanon, Ohio. 

Neal Felstein, owner/operator, Woodville Surplus. Woodville Surplus has been serving the Toledo area since 1949. Located in Oregon, Ohio, they specialize in blue collar work wear, army surplus, and standard issue military apparel. Felstein is the store manager and his father, Michael, owns the store. Woodville Surplus has been in the Felstein family for over 60 years. Together, the Felsteins operate one of the last few independent military surplus stores in the area.

David Lewis, owner, Lewis Electronics. Lewis Electronics has been in business since 1987. They are located in Cleveland, Ohio, and sell car audio systems and alarms. Lewis has found that more and more people are going online to purchase accessories for the cars. In fact, many people purchase products online to avoid paying the sales tax, but still ask Lewis Electronics to install the products.

Oklahoma Main Street Leadership Council

Carolyn Stager, executive director, Oklahoma Municipal League, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Stager has worked for the Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) since 1987, when she joined the organization as its assistant director of intergovernmental relations. In 2008, Stager was named to the organization’s top position, becoming the first female executive director in OML’s 95-year history. She holds a Master’s degree with honors in Political Science with emphasis on Urban Affairs from the University of Central Oklahoma and serves on several boards and also volunteers in various capacities in community and church. She is a graduate and Class Ambassador for Leadership Oklahoma Class XIII and a two-time finalist for the Journal Record Woman of the Year Award. She and her husband, Bill Strecker, reside in Oklahoma City. She has two children, Christi and Nathan, and three precious grandbabies, Bo, Manning, and Ty. 

Stephen Fuhrman, A Cleaner Place (Oklahoma City). Fuhrman, co-owner of A Cleaner Place and Vacshack.com Inc., has been in the vacuum industry for over 25 years. He has operated several successful retail stores along with an e-commerce business. His burning desire for helping others is what he believes drives his success. Fuhrman is passionate about everything he is involved with, including his family, gardening, playing the saxophone, and politics. He lives in Warr Acres, Oklahoma, with his wife, Jeanie Jones, dog DJ and cat Bobette. Even though Fuhrman is relatively new to the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, he has high hopes for its positive impact on the small- and micro-business environment.

Matt Robison, State Chamber of Oklahoma. Robison serves as vice president of Government Affairs for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, the state’s trade association representing the business community. His areas of responsibilities are small business, education, workforce development, and health care. He also serves as the director of the Oklahoma Retail Federation. As a lobbyist for the past 27 years in the state of Oklahoma, he has also represented the trucking industry, the grocery industry, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Active in the state’s association community, he served as president of the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives in 1994.

Dale Copeland, Copeland Appliance (Bartlesville). Copeland is the owner of Copeland Appliance, a family business in Bartlesville started in 1970 by his father. Born in Houston, Texas, Copeland moved with his family to Bartlesville in 1963, where he has continued to reside except for a brief time spent at the University of Oklahoma. He was the appliance committee chairman for the Key America (now a part of Nationwide Group) buying group in 1996 – 97. He and his wife, Donna, have two sons, which led them to become involved in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since 1988, Copeland has served in many scouting positions and is currently properties VP for the Cherokee Area Council in addition. He has previously served on several national BSA training courses and international events in Japan and England in 2006 and 2007. Additionally, Copeland is the treasurer and a deacon for his church and currently serves as the Ward 5 councilman in Bartlesville.

Michael Phillips, City of Sand Springs. Phillips serves as the Ward 1 representative on the Sand Springs City Council, a position he has held since his election in 2006. Michael is a lifelong resident of Sand Springs, a community of roughly 19,000 situated on the Arkansas River 10 miles west of Tulsa. Additionally, Michael was elected to the Oklahoma Municipal League board of directors in 2011, representing member municipalities in Osage, Creek, and Tulsa Counties. In addition to his political life, Michael has operated a computer consulting firm and repair business, Technology Consulting Services, opening in Sand Springs in 2009. Prior to TCS, Michael spent two decades in credit and collections, working most of that time for Financial Management Services of Tulsa, Oklahoma, as director of Information, Technology and Security.

Doug Enevoldsen, City of Bixby. Enevoldsen is currently the city manager of Bixby, Oklahoma. During the past 30 years, he has served at the highest levels of state and local government, primarily in the areas of economic and fiscal policy, budgeting, and public administration. Enevoldsen’s career has also included service as: legislative staff director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives; state comptroller for the State of Oklahoma; deputy director of the Oklahoma Office of State Finance; chief operating officer for the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department; city manager for the city of Kingfisher, Oklahoma; director of finance for the Oklahoma County Clerk; and city manager for the city of Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Enevoldsen has completed all curriculum requirements for a Masters of Arts in Economics from the University of Virginia, and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Economics and also in Political Science from Oklahoma State University. He is married to Jennelle Enevoldsen, certified internal auditor and N.E. district manager for State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones.

Nick Doctor, director of Government Affairs, Tulsa Metro Chamber. Doctor currently serves as the director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, which partners with the Tulsa region’s chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and elected officials to advocate for Northeast Oklahoma’s business community. He joined the Tulsa Metro Chamber in January 2011, and previously served as the legislative liaison for the Tulsa City Council. A native of Wyoming, Doctor came to Tulsa in 2004 to attend the University of Tulsa, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Political Science in 2008. He also recently graduated from the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management distance education program, where he earned a Master’s degree in Political Management in December 2011. He is currently a member of the Oklahoma Academy and Leadership Tulsa, and serves on the board of directors for KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory middle school.

Morgan Harris, owner of Green Bambino, Oklahoma City. Harris is the creator, owner, and chief-everything officer of Green Bambino, Oklahoma’s largest cloth diaper and eco-baby resource. She was previously events coordinator at Full Circle Bookstore. Harris graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1998 and from the University of Oklahoma in 2002 with a B.A. in Letters and French. She has volunteered with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence for more than 10 years and is currently a member of the Academic All-State Selection Committee and the Board of Trustees. She, her husband Graham, and their son Spencer live in Oklahoma City.

Cari Marshall, owner of L & M Office Furniture, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Marshall is a small-business owner who, along with her husband, owns and operates L&M Office Furniture in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. She is active in the Tulsa Metro Chamber, and is past chair of the Small Business Council (SBC). She currently co-chairs the SBC Legislative committee, with a focus on the OneVoice agenda items drawn from the region in 2011. She has been recognized with the SBA “Women in Business Advocate” award for Tulsa County and for the State of Oklahoma. Marshall has a passion for improving the environment for small business, and has been involved with city of Tulsa purchasing improvements, served on the executive board for the Governor’s Conference on Small Business, and supports a number of non-profits, including serving as past chair of the board for Resonance Center for Women and with CASA fundraisers.

Steve Schlegel, owner of Schlegel Bicycles, Oklahoma City. Schlegel started in the bike business in 1980 when he got his first job at House of Wheels on NW Expressway so he could pay for the repair of his bicycle. He was only 12 years old. Little did he know this would turn into his life’s passion. Schlegel has ridden all types of bikes and knows more about them than most people. He has won multiple Oklahoma State Championship medals (gold, silver and bronze) in all disciplines of cycling (road, mountain, cyclocross, timetrial, triathlon and criterium racing) from 1986 – present. He has also competed as a Cat 1 – 2 in many regional and national races. Schlegel was awarded the Jim Thorpe Cycling Man of the Year award in 2004. He has also been recognized in his business career. In 2005, he was nominated for OKC Biz Forty Under 40. 

Pennsylvania Main Street Leadership Council

Kurt Seelig, Owner of Cardinal Camera, Eastern Pennsylvania. Cardinal Camera is a third generation family business and has a total of nine locations in eastern Pennsylvania. Cardinal Camera was started by George Seelig in the 1920s and was one of the earliest Kodak dealers. Today, George's grandson, Kurt Seelig, has grown their family business to become a staple in communities across eastern Pennsylvania. Kurt's vision launched Cardinal Camera to become one of the largest camera retailers in the country.

While visiting legislators on capitol hill to urge them to support federal e-fairness legislation, Kurt said, "I am a job-creator - and you are clearly killing jobs by not passing this legislation." He also commented, "I am a lifelong conservative - I will vote for people who make sure taxes stay low. You are making our state government raise taxes in the future and putting small business out of business by doing nothing."

Mike Woodland, Co-Owner of Dan's Camera City, Allentown and Nazareth. For 18 years, the Lehigh Valley has recognized Dan's Camera City as the leading photo finisher in the region. It is one of the largest single location camera stores in the nation and they have just added a second store to the franchise. Dan's Camera City employs 100 residents in the Lehigh Valley and makes significant donations and support for community organizations including the Lehigh Valley Zoo, Allentown School District Planetarium, and Girl Scouts.

As Co-Owner of Dan's Camera City, Mike has been extremely vocal about his support of the Marketplace Fairness Act and vowed to publically support any legislator for helping keep the Lehigh Valley "Main Street" in business. Over the last year alone, he has donated and invested more than $3.1 million into the Lehigh Valley community.

Samantha Schwartz, Executive Director of the Downtown Bethlehem Association (DBA). The DBA is a council of The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and serves to revitalize, rehabilitate, promote and advance downtown business areas within the city of Bethlehem. It is an organization comprised of 153 business owners who believe that unity is better than isolation and involvement is better than neutrality. The DBA organizes over 90 events each year with the end goal to drive foot traffic in Bethlehem's retail shops. While visiting legislators in support of the Marketplace Fairness Act this spring, Samantha commented that the "153 business owners and 500 employees I represents will publically stand behind any legislator that stands for e-fairness. Our businesses are at risk."

Amanda King, Owner of Apotheca Salon and Boutique, Board of Directors for the Downtown Bethlehem Association. Amanda owns a salon and boutique and offers products to her customers that are sold online. She has 16 employees at a vibrant storefront and is discouraged with legislators that won't invest in their community by signing onto the bill. While visiting legislators in support of the Marketplace Fairness Act this spring, Amanda commented "We need this now. Not in 6 months, not in a year, not in 2 years. By then, I will be out of business and will have added to the unemployment rate."

Candice Rowe, Co-Owner of Gallucci Music, Scranton. Gallucci Music sells musical instruments, associated equipment, music, and provides music lessons. They are struggling to compete with online sellers like MusiciansFriend.com that do not collect sales tax.

Jim Schwartz, President, Robin James Jewelers. Jim Schwartz runs his own Cincinnati-based jewelry store. Since 1989, Robin James Jewelers has been offering the very best in unique jewelry designs and giftware displayed in a friendly setting conveniently located in the Western Hills area.

Joe Nardone, Owner of Gallery of Sound, Wilkes-Barre. Gallery of Sound is a retail record store selling CDs, DVDs, and music-related items. Before becoming the Gallery of Sound in 1972, the store operated as Joe Nardone’s Records, an extension of the popular regional band founded by Joe Nardone. The retail operation has since expanded to include stores throughout the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, but is still a family owned and operated business. 

Judy DiNardo, Owner of Golf for Her, Inc., Greensburg. Judy serves all of Pennsylvania with her internet store and retail store-front in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. A golf enthusiast, Judy's entrepreneurial spirit brought the feel of resort-style golf shops to the female golfers in Pennsylvania by marketing high-end apparel and accessories to the community. Judy has embraced her position as a leader in both internet and retail sales with her specific niche - she serves as a member of the Greensburg Business Association, relaying knowledge and building the "main street" community in Western Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Seton Hill University.

Ruth and John Anderson, Owners of Delmont Sports Shop, Inc. Ruth and John are staples in the hunting, fishing, and outdoor communities in Western Pennsylvania. Their store, located at a busy intersection on Route 66 and Route 22, serves most hunters, anglers, campers and hikers headed to the remote laurel highlands. Ruth serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for her local School Board, and John and Ruth have both served on council for Delmont Borough. John also serves a representative to the state NRA delegation from the western counties of Pennsylvania, and is involved in multiple other community organizations.       

John Harris, Owner of the Stereoshop, Inc., the Pittsburgh Area’s Ultimate Specialty Audio and Video store. The Stereoshop, Inc. prides itself on friendly, small-town attitude that keeps customers coming back for life. John attributes the Stereoshop's positive reputation with the superior customer service; and, he often works his 14,000sq ft. showroom floor to stay in touch with their needs. 

Chris Ross, Jr., Owner of Ross Jewelers, Scranton.

South Carolina Main Street Leadership Council

State Senator Kevin Bryant, pharmacist, Bryant Pharmacy & Supply, Anderson, South Carolina. Senator Kevin Bryant was elected into the State Senate for South Carolina District 3 in 2005. He opened his own pharmacy in Anderson, South Carolina, in 1995. Sen. Bryant has been a member of the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce since 2004, and is also the vice president of the 10th District Pharmacy Association. In 2005, Bryant joined the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce.

Rob Yerger, president, National Freedom Foundation, Columbia, South Carolina.

Grayson Kelly, owner, Palmetto Fundraising Solutions, LLC, Greenville, South Carolina.

Tennessee Main Street Leadership Council

Clark Butcher, owner, Victory Bicycle Studio. Clark Butcher is a businessman and athlete. Butcher began his career in endurance sports at the early age of seven, when his father introduced him to local 5K runs. By the time he was 11 years old, he had just completed his first half marathon and was “hooked.” Shortly after, he went on to run 2 – 3 half marathons a year, as well as numerous 5K and 10K races, until the age of 14 when he discovered triathlons. After a handful of triathlons, he soon realized cycling was his forte. Road racing soon commanded all his attention and he quickly moved through the USCF rankings to a Category 2 cyclist by the age of 16. Right after high school, he started racing full time and competed in events such as the Junior World Cup in Canada, National Championships, and too many NRC (National Race Calendar) events too mention. This eventually led him to Germany, where for five weeks he raced and trained with the German National team. This brought great experience and only further propelled him into the world of elite bicycle racing. While studying Exercise Science at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, he focused on implementing his knowledge of training on the bike with the exercise physiology studies he was learning. This combination proved and continues to be increasingly valuable both to him and his client athletes.

Andre Dean, VP-Public Policy and Community Affairs, Memphis Chamber. Dean serves as vice president of Public Policy and Community Affairs at the Memphis Chamber of Commerce. In that role, Dean Develops and implements a public policy agenda at the local, state, and federal levels that supports economic development. He also serves as an ombudsman for business.

Susan Cavender, owner, Nashville Trunk and Bag. Cavender has 25 years of direct retail sales experience. She is a frequent guest of local television addressing style, travel, and consumer advocacy. Nashville Trunk and Bag is a strong anchor store in the heart of Green Hills, specializing in high-quality luggage, travel items, and one-of-a-kind gifts.

Lori Elam, owner, My Sister’s Closet. Elam has successfully created a strong high-end women's consignment presence with two Nashville locations on Music Row and in Green Hills. She has also recently opened Free Beer Men’s Store, specializing in high-end menswear with an edge. She is executive director of Estrella, a 501k nonprofit, and drives celebrity auction and charity events.

Ron Shuff, owner, Ron Shuff Music. Shuff has 30 years of experience as a business owner in historic downtown Franklin and is the recipient of various community awards and recognitions. He is a strong advocate and an informed spokesperson. The stores are full line music stores offering a variety of instruments and quality instruction. The stores are family friendly and a resource for local working musicians.

Terri Holley, owner, Embellish Shoes. Holley established Embellish in 2005, and relocated to Warehouse Row in 2009. Holley has been a master consultant with The Connaught Group since 2002, representing Carlisle and Per Se, an upscale line of women’s apparel in a private showroom at Embellish, a women’s boutique specializing in contemporary shoes, handbags and accessories.

Garrett Wagley, VP-Public Policy and PR, Knoxville Chamber. As vice president of Public Policy and PR, Garrett Wagley manages the Knoxville Chamber’s public policy and media-relations efforts and serves as its media spokesperson. He directs the development of the organization’s legislative and policy positions and works with local, state, and federal officials. Wagley’s background includes 15+ years of work in the government relations field as a contract and in-house lobbyist, consultant, and PR specialist. He holds both a BA and MA in Political Science.

Gary Mabrey, president, Johnson City Chamber. Mabrey is president and CEO of the Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County Chamber, an accredited chamber of the U.S. Chamber. He is currently serving his 25th year with the chamber, and is also a member of several local/regional/state/national boards. 

Ron Bowman, owner, Bowman Jewelers. Bowman is the latest generation of Bowmans to focus on their store. Bowman Jewelers has been in business for more than 84 years. It is a very well-established business that is extremely involved in the community in both support and involvement and calls itself the store that gives back to the community that supports us in every way.

Texas Main Street Leadership Council

Steve Bercu, president and CEO of BookPeople, Austin. BookPeople has been Texas’ leading independent bookstore since 1970. Located in the heart of downtown, BookPeople has been voted best bookstore in Austin for over 15 years. The rest of the country has caught on too; BookPeople was voted Bookstore of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly in 2005. With visits from some of the most interesting and important authors of the past 35 years, as well as by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, BookPeople is the destination bookstore in Texas.

Rex Solomon, owner, Houston Jewelry, Houston. The Houston Jewelry “superstore” concept was created by Abe “Honey” Donsky in 1953; however, the roots of the family business stretch back to the 1850s in early Houston, with the family’s first store, Ephraim & Rosenfield, which in 1866 was located on Main Street in Houston. Houston Jewelry has been named a member of the World’s Top Jewelers, a society of the finest jewelers in the world.

Luke Cutchen, Musicmakers Austin, Austin. Musicmakers Austin was started in November 1988 with over 25 combined years of experience working in a music store. Musicmakers has been at the same location at 517 South Lamar since its beginning in 1988. By offering many products, repairs, and services that the national chain stores don’t offer, Musicmakers Austin maintains what Austin customers want and expect to make their venture out to music stores a more personal experience.

David Kruger, Kruger’s Diamond Jewelers, Austin. The Kruger family has owned and operated their business since 1907.

Teri Tanner, A Real Bookstore, Fairview, TX. A Real Bookstore is the community destination for booklovers. They offer a thoughtful and locally edited assortment of books and book-related products designed to satisfy the customer’s passion for reading and learning. They are dedicated to being a community focal point, offering a sense of connection and discovery through store events, service, and selection.  

Heather Herring Stanton, MG Herring Group, Dallas. The MG Herring Group has developed more than 30 major shopping centers and regional malls in the United States and Mexico, totaling more than 25 million square feet of retail space. Current projects include Uptown Village at Cedar Hill, The Village at Fairview, and The Village at Allen.

Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookstore, Houston. At Blue Willow Bookshop, you can find an eclectic selection of books (fiction and nonfiction) for both adults and children—something for everyone, with lots of personal favorite books that customers and staff have recommended as the BEST READ EVER. Blue Willow Bookshop also carries many puzzles, games, and gifts for the book lover. Blue Willow Bookshop, located on Memorial Drive at Dairy Ashford, has become known as a step back in time to the old neighborhood shop, where neighbors gather to talk books and share news. They offer personalized service, shipping and free gift wrap.  

Lucinda Rogers, Gold N Carats Jewelers, Irving. Independent Jeweler in Irving Texas since 1980.

Stephanie Gibson, Texas Retailers Association. The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) has an interesting and long history. The year 2006 was the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Association’s first predecessor organization. Texas has approximately 107,000 retail establishments employing more than 1.9 million Texans. Many of these independent proprietors and large multi-national corporations comprise the membership of the Texas Retailers Association. Department stores, specialty shops, drugstores, grocery stores, discount stores, hardware stores, jewelry shops—all are members of the Texas Retailers Association.

Utah Main Street Leadership Council

Jim Bradley. He and his wife, Glenda, own the 15th Street Art Gallery and Boutique in Salt Lake City. Bradley is a Salt Lake County councilman and is very active in the community. He is also very involved in Local First, a small business group that promotes local retailers and products. His wife, Glenda, runs and owns the boutique that showcases local art and products. 

Betsy Burton, co-founder (34 years ago) and co-owner of The King’s English Bookshop, has written a book about life in an independent bookstore titled (appropriately enough) The King’s English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller. She’s served on various boards in the book business and in her community. She also co-founded and served on the board of Salt Lake’s Vest Pocket Business Alliance, co-founded and is co-chair of the board of Local First Utah, is a board member of AMIBA (American Independent Business Alliance) and past board member of BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies)—two national organizations whose member-networks are composed of independent businesses. She is a current board member of the ABA (American Booksellers Association) and just retired from the board of ABFFE (the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression). 

Cynthia Mills, owner of  Blazing Needles. Blazing Needles is a shop that is for knitters. Mills has 25 years of experience in the retail world and is now celebrating three years in business. Blazing Needles has been recognized as one of the best small businesses in Salt Lake City. 

Jared and Jason Hurst, Ace Hardware/Rebel Sports/Desert Rats. In 1976, the Hursts joined Ace Hardware Corporation—a hardware co-op consisting of over 5000 independently owned and operated hardware stores across the nation. Today, Hurst Stores operates Ace Stores throughout the state of Utah. Each store is unique and filled with great products. Many locations are not only terrific Ace stores, but also offer a large selection of sporting goods, fabrics, and house wares. 

Virginia Main Street Leadership Council

Philip Scotti, owner of Philip Michael Fashion for Men—Actively involved in all phases of the menswear business since the age of 16, Philip Scotti has continued to pursue his passion of providing updated, quality fashion at value prices. In the 1970s and continuing into the 1980s, he spearheaded the opening of many menswear fashion chains including Rockingham Clothes in Richmond, Virginia, and Clothing Distribution Center featuring the Kuppenheimer brand in Norfolk, Virginia. Philip later started the local licensee stores for Eagle Clothes in the mid 1980s, which developed into seven stores. As the 1990s approached, Phil was recruited by S&K Famous Brands and worked his way up to be named the Vice President of Operations. After fifteen years at S&K Famous Brands, Phil’s fashion bug bit again to open another value-priced menswear chain. In 2007, Philip Michael Fashion for Men was introduced, which to date has six stores in the Hampton Roads area and North Carolina, including an e-Commerce web store. In 2011, Philip Michael Fashion for Men won the Retailer of the Year Award for the city of Norfolk, VA. Phil is currently a Board Member of Retail Alliance in Hampton Roads and active in many community service initiatives.

Ray Mattes, President & CEO of the Retail Alliance—Ray Mattes has a long history with the Retail Alliance, joining the organization in 1984. In his position, he oversees the Retail Alliance’s association operations and business services functions. For the association, he manages advocacy, membership growth and benefits, events and programs, the Loss Prevention Task Force and annual conference, as well as board-level meetings and committees.

During his tenure, the business services division of Retail Alliance has expanded into a stand-alone operation, Retail Alliance Business Solutions, offering Equifax credit reports to businesses throughout Virginia (excluding Northern Virginia).

Ray is active in the community, serving as chairman of the Board of Directors for Child and Family Services of Eastern Virginia in 1998-99 and again in 2004-05. He also served on the Virginia Beach Education Foundation Board of Directors, and he is a former board member of the Tidewater Mortgage Bankers Association and the Great Neck Athletic Association and is past chairman of the International Credit Association. He is a current member of the Greater Norfolk Corporation and the Virginia Beach Roundtable. A native of Norfolk who now resides in Virginia Beach, Ray attended Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University.

Danny Givens, owner of Givens Books—Danny Givens is a former educator turned businessman and has owned and operated Givens Books-Little Dickens for over 23 years in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Nancy Thomas, President & CEO of the Retail Merchants Association—Nancy Thomas is the CEO/President of Retail Merchants Association. Prior to her role as President & CEO, Nancy was involved in retail for 27 years with This End Up Furniture, as owner of Arcade on Grove, and as partner with Turn Key Interiors. She serves on several boards including the United Way, RMCVB, Bon Secours Joint Hospitals Board, Mayor’s Commission of Tourism, Henrico Police Foundation, The 100 Club, Governing Board of the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority, and St. Bridget Church Advisory Board.

Ken Vaughan, Chairman of the Virginia Retail Merchants—Ken Vaughan is the Chairman of the Virginia Retail Merchants. He has served on the Association’s Board of Directors since October 2004.

Ken Vaughan is a field supervisor for Peebles Department Stores. Vaughan has spent his entire career in the retail field with Peebles. He began his career at an entry-level position with Peebles followed by several store management and corporate positions such as, Human Resource Director, VP of Store Operations, and his current position for the past 23 years, Field Supervision.

In addition to his position as Chairman for the VRMA, Vaughan is active in the merchants associations of Murfreesboro, NC, where he served as the past chairman of the merchants committee and is Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce. He is also the past chairman of merchants associations in South Hill, VA, Greer, SC, Roanoke Rapids, NC, and Lexington Park, MD. Vaughan is diligently involved in numerous civic clubs including Rotary, Jaycees, Lions, and Optimist Clubs.

Laurie Aldrich, President of the Virginia Retail Merchants Association—Laurie P. Aldrich is President of the Virginia Retail Merchants Association (VRMA) and Association Solutions, Inc. Since 2000, Ms. Aldrich has worked with the VRMA where she was named President in 2002. The VRMA, which is over 105 years old, represents more than 5,400 retailers and other associated businesses throughout Virginia. As President of Associated Solutions, Inc., an association management company, Ms. Aldrich and her staff provided management services for non-profit organizations. For the past 3 years, Ms. Aldrich has been contracted to provide management services for the Virginia Wineries Association. A native of Ohio, Ms. Aldrich has over 20 years of sales, management, and association experience. Ms. Aldrich currently is a member of the Food Industry Association Executives, American Society of Association Executives, and the Virginia Society of Association Executives.

Gary Weiner, CEO of Saxon Shoes—Gary Weiner has been the CEO of Saxon Shoes for over 25 years. Having worked in every aspect of retail footwear, Gary has led Saxon Shoes to numerous local and national awards for excellence in integrity, growth, marketing and advertising, and community service. Saxon has become one of the largest volume single-store footwear and accessory retailers in the United States, all within a competitive environment inundated with large chain retailers. In September 2005, Gary moved Saxon Shoes to Short Pump Town Center where Saxon’s operates a 27,000-square foot anchor store next to the likes of Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and The Cheesecake Factory. In August 2009, Saxon entered a new market, Fredericksburg, Va. with a 19,000-square feet store.

Based on his industry expertise and vision for the continually evolving environment of traditional retail, Gary founded Shoedini.com which opened for business in December 1999 as “The Magical Way To Buy Shoes.” His vision of creating a new bricks, clicks, and flips retail footwear brand name was a resounding success. In March 2004, Gary engineered a successful merger of Shoedini with eBags.com, the worldwide leader of online sales of luggage, travel accessories, and handbags.

Joe Taylor, President & CEO of Taylor’s Do-it Centers—Joseph D. Taylor, II, is President and CEO of Taylor’s Do-it centers, a regional chain of 10 hardware/home improvement stores. Taylor’s is an 85-year-old, third-generation company. Besides his business duties, Mr. Taylor is or has been involved in many civic and community volunteer roles during his many years in Virginia Beach. A native of Virginia Beach, Mr. Taylor graduated from First Colonia High School in 1977, Hampden-Sydney College in 1981, and William and Mary MBA School in 1983.

Chip Rothery, author and small-business owner—An entrepreneur, in 1974 Rothery recognized a local need for short-term access to equipment, machinery, and wedding/party supplies and founded Rockingham Rent-All, which he still runs today. Rothery is active in local, state, and federal Republican politics and specializes in tax analysis and individual freedom issues. He is the author of Observations, Solutions and Comments “Chapter One: Taxation and Observations, Solutions and Comments” and “Chapter Two: Retirement and Social Security.” He has personally handed this book to 37 members of Congress. Rothery lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, with his wife Karen.

Russ West, owner of West Upholstery and Design—Russ West has a long history of civic activism and entrepreneurship in his native Battleboro, Vermont, serving three terms on City Council as well as on the planning commission and as a volunteer firefighter. West owns and operates West Upholstery and Design and sits on the Board of the Salem Merchants Association.

Brian Dillistin, President of The Floor Trader— Brian Dillistin is President of The Floor Trader of Richmond and an active member of the Retail Merchants Association.