TUSCUMBIA, Ala. — The Shoppes at Coldwater owners Ashley Morrow, Skip Nichols and Josh Kelley were all smiles Tuesday morning, as well they should. The Alabama Retail Association in Montgomery has named the business Emerging Retailer of the Year for 2021.
“It’s so humbling and it’s so surprising, but then I think about my team and I think about the customers that rallied around us and I just feel incredibly lucky that not only we survived 2020, we thrived in 2020 and we’re continuing that tradition in 2021,” Morrow said.
The Emerging Retailer of the Year Award began in 2012 and The Shoppes at Coldwater in Tuscumbia is the first business in The Shoals to ever receive it.
An award judge applauded how the owners adapted to face challenges during the pandemic and also, how they helped other businesses survive.
“We opened up our private coaching classes to really, businesses around the country, anybody that needed help,” Morrow said. “We did one-on-one coaching, we offered help; a lot of businesses weren’t really leveraged for digital and so when quarantine happened and digital was all you had, a lot of them had a hard time navigating that.
Morrow said the coaching classes were offered free of charge to lighten an already heavy burden.
“What better time to say, ‘hey, let’s forget that and make sure these small businesses survive,’ because small businesses are really like the lifeblood of a local community,” Morrow said.
In addition to helping other businesses during the pandemic, Morrow said her store’s own sales were up 73 percent in 2020 over 2019.
Because of projected supply chain disruptions this holiday shopping season, Morrow announced The Shoppes at Coldwater is offering an “Orange Friday” sale on October 8 to help customers avoid the frustrations that come with shopping on Black Friday.