Washington—While it won’t get the attention or millions of votes that “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars” does, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has opened up the lines (so to speak) on its “This is Retail” competition.
Now fellow retailers–and the public–can vote for their favorites in quarterfinal match-ups.
After asking its retail members to send in videos that describe retail’s importance to the economy, community and consumers, the NRF announced the top 20 finalists, determined from scoring by prominent retail executives.
The finalists range from small business owners to vice presidents at national retail chains, and from wine shops to sporting goods retailers. Each submitted a video using one of these themes: “How retail powers America’s Economy,” “How Retail Is Main Street,” “How Retail Drives Innovation,” “How Retail Strengthens Consumers,” or “How Retail Creates Opportunity.”
“The incredible stories we heard from small business owners and employees through this contest serve as a reminder that retail is at the heart of every community,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president/ceo. “While each of these finalists has their own story, they collectively demonstrate the opportunities in and power of retail, which supports 42 million U.S. jobs.”
Now: Head-to-Head Match Ups
Although the 20 finalists made it thus far, the stakes have been raised. Now the selection process continues through April as the top 20 videos go head-to-head in a bracket-style tournament, each week being narrowed down to the top 10, five and finally the top three.
Anyone can cast a vote for their favorite videos through NRF’s Retail Means Jobs website, voting up to 10 times a day per matchup. The videos with the most votes before the end of each six-day period will move on to the next round. The contest’s top three finalists will be announced on May 1, and will be flown to NRF’s Washington Leadership Conference for the announcement of the contest rankings on May 16. The first place winner will receive $25,000 with $15,000 for second place and $10,000 for third place.
To view and vote for the Top 20 videos click on: retailmeansjobs.com/vote.
Here are the top 20 finalists in alphabetical order:
1. Jim Adams, Baltimore Running, Baltimore,
2. Tanna Dang, Eden in Love, Honolulu
3. Kelly Delaney, Cakes for Occasions, Danvers, MA
4. Carina Donoso, Alex and Ani, Providence
5. Steve Elkins, WEBS Yarn Store, Northampton, MA
6. Jennifer Gunderson, My Garden Nursery, Mill Creek, WA
7. Robert Houston, Anna and Eve, Oak Brook, IL
8. Susan Kaufman, Market Alley Wines, Monmouth, IL
9. Harrison Kressler, Bookmans, Tucson, AZ
10. Amy Kule, Macy’s New York City
11. Jakki Liberman, Zoolikins, Scottsdale, AZ
12. Jeremy Litchfield, Atayne, Brunswick, ME
13. Shawn Outler, Macy’s, New York City
14. Mark Plessinger, Frame of Mind, Columbia, SC
15. Carla Santiago, Brighton Collectibles, Los Angeles
16. Deirdre Shaw, Monkee’s, Wilmington, NC
17. Ronald Smith, The Root Cellar, Louisville, KY
18. Miguel Urias, Password Athletics, Granada Hills, CA
19. Kim Williams, The Polka Dot Press, Tallahassee, FL
20. Julie Wurr, Heart ‘n Home, Laurens, IA
The judges, who visited NRF’s office on March 27 to view the top 40 submissions, scored videos based on multiple categories including visual appeal and effectiveness of the use of the key video contest themes. Judges who took part in the selection process included:
• Bill Brand, executive vice president, programming, marketing and business development, HSN
• Jennifer Lassiter, vice president, internal communication, The Neiman Marcus Group
• Jessica Leseky, director of enterprise sales, Barnes & Noble
• Dave Ratner, owner, Dave’s Soda and Pet City
• Jamie T. Richardson, vice president, government and shareholder relations, White Castle
• John Rogers, vice president/GM, global e-commerce, Under Armour
NRF’s “This is Retail” video contest is a part of the association’s multi-faceted Retail Means Jobs campaign. The contest, officially announced in January at Retail’s BIG Show, was designed to promote retail as a career and demonstrate the multitude of career choices available within the retail industry. www.nrf.com