CRMA Virtual Annual Meeting

2020 – Seizing Opportunities Amidst Uncertainty

During this historic and transformative time for our industry, CRMA remains steadfast in our resolve to advocate for and partner with retail businesses all across Connecticut.  Now, more than ever, it is essential that we stay informed, stay connected and work together.

The CRMA Educational Conference & Virtual Annual Meeting, held on November 19, 2020, brought retailers, elected officials and industry leaders together to discuss what’s ahead in 2021.  “Seizing Opportunities Amidst Uncertainty” was a well-attend event that offered a range of perspectives and a glimpse of efforts underway and anticipated in the coming months.

If you weren’t able to attend, the video of the 2-hour event is available for viewing here. 

The CRMA Virtual Annual Meeting featured an outstanding line-up of guests:

Governor Ned Lamont provided updates on his administration’s view of current circumstances, and expectations for retail to remain open throughout the 4th quarter of 2020 and beyond.

Incoming House Speaker Matt Ritter and Senate Republican Minority Leader Kevin Kelly discussed the upcoming Connecticut legislative session, and what may be ahead.

The federal perspective was provided by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.

Insights into the state of the retail industry across the U.S. were shared by Matt Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation and Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

State Capitol journalists Chris Keating of The Harford Courant, Christine Stuart of CTNewsJunkie, and Kevin Rennie, co-host of Face the State and Hartford Courant columnist, discussed changes in the make-up of the Connecticut Senate and House after the 2020 elections.

The Annual Meeting was co-hosted by CRMA Board Chair Abby Jewett and CRMA President Tim Phelan.

The Annual Meeting concluded with a brief video highlighting the efforts of Connecticut retailers during 2020, produced for CRMA by Mind Over Media.

CRMA extends our appreciation to Annamarie Grise and Steve McDermott for expertly coordinating the virtual event.

2019 – Connecticut Retail’s Big Event 

The CRMA Annual Awards Luncheon was held on October 16, 2019, with an overflow crowd on hand.  The 2019 honorees were Pilgrim Furniture & Mattress City, selected as the Retailer of the Year, and Your CBD Store, chosen as Emerging Retailer of the Year.  CRMA also recognized a legislator who has been passionate about the unique legislative and regulatory issues facing the business community.  State Rep. Jason Rojas of East Hartford was honored as CRMA Legislator of the Year. Gov. Ned Lamont provided opening remarks at the annual event, held at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford.

2018 – CRMA Annual Awards Ceremony at The Bushnell

Connecticut Retail Merchants Association (CRMA) Board Chair Tom Wholley of Connecticut Mattress (left) and President Tim Phelan (right) flank representatives of the Association’s 2018 retail award recipients: Jason Kloter, Owner, Kloter Farms (Family Retailer of the Year); Brian Knies, Owner/President, Tile America (Retailer of the Year); and Greg Schmidt │Lead Manager, Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health (National Retailer of the Year). Awards were presented at the CRMA Annual Awards ceremony at The Bushnell on October 17, 2018.

Members of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association from throughout the state gather for the association’s Annual Awards Luncheon to honor leading Connecticut retailers, held at The Bushnell in Hartford with catering by Max Restaurant Group Retail businesses are a critical competent in Connecticut’s economy. There are an estimated 472,518 jobs supported by retail businesses, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) impact is $34.2 billion – 14 percent of the state’s total GDP.
Representatives of Kloter Farms, the 2018 CRMA Family Retailer of the Year, in attendance at the CRMA Annual Awards Luncheon, led by owner Jason Kloter.
CRMA Board member Karen Munson, President, Munson’s Chocolates, presents the 2018 CRMA Family Retailer Award to owner Jason Kloter of Kloter Farms in Ellington. Family-owned Kloter Farms specializes in durable outdoor structures and patio furniture, and in heirloom-quality home furniture.
CRMA Board member Abby Jewett, Director of External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T, presents the 2018 CRMA Retailer of the Year Award to owner/president Brian Knies of Tile America. Tile America – with seven Connecticut locations, in Brookfield, Fairfield, Manchester, New Haven, New London, Stamford and West Hartford – is a 50-year-old Connecticut-based family business, specializing in tile and stone.
CRMA Board member Jessica Stram, Director of Advocacy-Northeast, Target Corporation, presents the CRMA presents the 2018 CRMA National Retailer Award to Greg Schmidt │Lead Manager, Workforce Initiatives CVS Health. CVS Health, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S., including a sizable Connecticut presence, with more retail locations than Connecticut has towns.  Beyond its substantial retail presence, CVS has been engaged in an effort to purchase Aetna, headquartered in Hartford since 1853, and has announced plans to keep Aetna’s headquarters in Hartford for the next decade.
Independent gubernatorial candidate Oz Griebel address retailers from throughout Connecticut prior to the CRMA Annual Awards Luncheon.
Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for Governor, talks with Connecticut retailers just prior to the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association’s Annual Awards Luncheon. The three leading candidates in the gubernatorial race came to speak with retail business leaders.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont discuss issues facing Connecticut retailers at an exclusive candidates forum prior to the CRMA Annual Awards Luncheon, held at The Bushnell on October 17.