Retailer of the Year
Don Wilson with daugher in-law Cindy Wilson and grandaughter Emily Wilson.
Wilson Farm, in business since 1884, has taken the farm stand to a whole new level. They start with growing their own produce, but they certainly do not stop there. The store offers produce grown at the farm as well as a Meat and Fish Department, a Cheese Shop, top-notch decorated cakes in the bakery, a fresh flower department and a large assortment of scrumptious prepared foods formulated with their home grown produce.
Wilson Farm also offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share program, where customers can purchase fresh produce in twenty week intervals. Each week, customers stop by to pick up their “share” and are delighted by the variety of fresh produce. Recipes, to coincide with the produce, are posted online to entice customers to try different and creative ways to use produce that they may not typically buy. “Shares” are also offered for fish and flowers. Wilson’s also offers farm tours for children and adults, hayrides, and will even teach you how to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
When you walk into Wilson Farm, you become part of the family. Their entire staff is friendly and helpful, often going above and beyond to make every customer happy.
Union Oyster House
Restaurant of the Year
The Union Oyster House, located on the Freedom Trail, is not only Boston’s oldest restaurant – opening in 1826 – its continuous service for almost 200 years gives it the unique distinction of being the country’s oldest restaurant as well. The building, a historical landmark, built around 1636 was originally the home of Capen’s Dry Goods Store. In 1826, Atwood’s Oyster House replaced Capen’s with a menu of oysters, clams, and scallops (when in season). In 1913, after 87 years in business the Attwood family sold the business to the Fitzgerald’s. It was in 1916 the establishment became known simply as the Union Oyster House.
The restaurant itself expanded in 1933 when a second floor dining room seating 50 persons opened. In 1941, the oyster house opened three new dining rooms on the second floor and installed a new kitchen and bakery with all new cooking and dishwashing equipment. The Greaves sold the restaurant in 1970 to Joseph Milano, whose family continues to run the renowned restaurant today.
The stalls and oyster bar where Daniel Webster was a regular customer are in their original positions. Today's politicians, celebrities and tourists still come in to enjoy the food.
Best Shopping District
Rinus Oosthoek, Chamber Executive Director and Mayor Kimberley Driscoll
The hip new magic of Salem: eclectic eateries and charming boutiques. More than 60 new downtown businesses have opened in the last three years alone. A bustling farmers market often attracts thousands of customers weekly, and Salem’s restaurant scene is booming. The Salem Chamber has over 600 members. Salem is known worldwide as a historical and cultural tourist destination, and is the heart of the tourist community in the North of Boston region. One of the top 20 art museums, (soon one of the top 10!) in the U.S., the Peabody Essex Museum, is located in downtown Salem, as is the Salem Witch Museum. The Salem Chamber of Commerce, Salem Main Streets and the City’s Planning Department work closely together to assist and help new businesses to develop, grow and prosper.
Salem Film Festival (all documentary), Spring and Fall Restaurant Week, Salem Jazz & Soul Festival, Salem Gay Pride Parade, Salem First Friday, Salem Maritime Festival, Haunted Happenings (Salem’s fifth season), Mass Poetry Festival, and Salem Art Festival , Salem’s So Sweet Ice Sculpture Festival are just some of the many reasons to visit Salem!
Harvard Book Store
Advertising & Promotion
Rachel Cass and Jeffrey Mayersohn
Located in Harvard Square, Harvard Book Store is a landmark independent bookseller, known for its extraordinary selection of new, used, and bargain books, popular author event series, and a history of innovation.
In today’s retail environment where an online presence is essential for success, Harvard Book Store’s state of the art website offers a virtual shopping experience that is second to none. Online visitors window shop through an interactive replica of the business’s store front, perusing nearly 60,000 titles located on its online shelves.
In the store, a prominent sign reading, “FIND IT HERE, BUY IT HERE, KEEP US HERE” is more than just an appeal for business, it importantly encapsulates the sentiment of brick-and-mortar retailers across the commonwealth who compete everyday with on-line only sellers. Similarly, the store’s “Don’t be an IPhoney” YouTube video, produced and filmed at the store, serves to bring awareness to the growing trend of consumers using retail locations as showrooms before purchasing online.
Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs
Karin Cooney, Christen Stumpf, Nicole Eithier, Stan Shotkus, Linda Evans Shotkus and Rick Segel.
Lyn Evans is a specialty women's boutique providing unique clothing & accessories options for women of all ages. For over 33 years, these dedicated stylists have been in the business of dressing women "for all your lifestyles."
Based out of Wellesley, MA, Lyn Evans currently has eight stores in separate locations across Massachusetts & Connecticut. Their mission is to not only serve their customers but also to serve the communities in which they reside. Lyn and her busy staff give back to the community through a combination of fundraisers, fashion shows, and other charity events throughout the year.
In addition, Lyn Evans also provides a wide variety of custom services, from personal shopping appointments in the store, to in-home closet consultations and personal shopping parties. They aim to make your shopping experience as personalized and convenient as possible!
The Concord Cheese Shop
Peter Lovis accepting award from RAMAE Chairman Rick Segel
The Creative Concepts in Retailing Award represents retailers that are proactive about retailing and understand that word of mouth advertising builds businesses. That is if the retailer gives people something to talk about. Peter Lovis at The Concord Cheese Shop does just that. When you have the main street in downtown Concord partially closed and a draw a substantial crowd of people to see a 400 pound Round of cheese from one of the finest Italian cheese makers delivered and Rolled down Main Street, that’s creative. Then you make a You Tube Video for the world to see and share. That is a Creative Concept in retailing. They celebrated the delivery of a product. They made the mundane memorable. As Peter says again and again, “we just have fun.” Their ideas are innovative, the products are unique, they are experts in their field, and masters of likeability and fun. They are the essence of successful retailing today.
Dave’s Soda and Pet City
Retail Hall of Fame
Dave’s Soda and Pet City had its modest beginnings in Springfield in the bay of an empty gas station. Owner Dave Ratner recalls, "I started the soda company, Dave’s Soda City, in 1975. About three years later, I was in a supermarket, and noticed that they had more pet food than soda. I thought, Hey, What a great idea for a store." Today, Dave's Soda and Pet City has grown into a mini chain of now 6 superstores with more than 100 employees!
Part of Dave’s success comes directly from Dave’s house brand of premium pet foods, Dave’s Pet Food. Dave has eliminated the middle man and excessive marketing costs that inflate pricing, so he is able to deliver a top quality holistic product at a drastically reduced price. Those huge savings have been passed along to Dave’s customers for years. Dave’s has some pretty sophisticated customers -- “they know good food and they appreciate good value.”
Dave's has become synonymous with pet supplies and awesome, doggone great customer service! So much so that Dave's won the 2012 Reader Raves and 2012 Advocate Best of the Valley award! Dave’s employees are Pet- Friendly, knowledgeable, experienced and can help you find exactly what you need. In further recognition of Dave’s importance to the retail industry, Dave was elected to the board of directors of the National Retail Federation for a three year term.