Six Outstanding Retailers Recognized by RAM

The 2017 Retailers Association of Massachusetts Awards of Excellence (RAMAE) were announced at RAM’s annual meeting and awards ceremony held on Thursday, November 16 at Bentley University and attended by Governor Charlie Baker.


Retailer of the Year: Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting 

This year’s top award, Retailer of the Year, was awarded to Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting, headquartered in Salem, with locations across the state. To celebrate the award and as a show of appreciation to its customers, Landry & Arcari announced they will be having a store-wide sale on all in-stock handmade rugs and carpeting, thru December 2, 2017.   ‚Äč

With their roots going back 80 years, Landry & Arcari has for the last four decades been the area leader in high quality carpets, and consumer trustworthy expertise on Oriental rugs and interior design.  It is a family business with a long history of leadership within the Oriental rug industry, and with the retail sector on the North Shore.  In addition to their Salem location, Landry & Arcari also operates stores in the Back Bay of Boston, and in Framingham.  In an industry where consumers need to be vigilant on seeking value and properly priced and cared for Oriental rugs, Landry & Arcari serves as the standard by which the industry should by measured on serving the customer.  Their commitment to consumer value and education keeps their customers returning and spreading the word on their integrity within the industry.  A long time commitment to the communities in which they operate, as well as their dedication to the weavers in remote villages in the East who supply their rugs are unparalleled.  The list of awards are numerous, including multiple wins by local publications for “Best of Boston Home, “ Best of the North Shore,” and “Reader’s Choice Awards,” as well as national recognition for being the National Rug Retailer of the Year from the Oriental Rug Retailers Association of America.   We are pleased to recognize Landry & Arcari as the 2017 Retailer of the Year.     

“On behalf of our valued customers, employees and partners, we are honored to receive this prestigious recognition. To be recognized this way means so very much to us.  We take intense pride in what we do, and we strive each day to provide a seamless and exceptional customer experience.  And it is especially rewarding at his time, given the extremely fast evolution of the world of retail.  It’s both scary and very exciting to be a retailer today. The challenges and areas of focus look completely different than just a few years ago.  It’s how we learn, grow and adapt to this new world that will set us apart in the future. Our sincere thanks to the RAM team for their continued support and advocacy on behalf of the retail community.” -- Julie Arcari Cook, CEO



 Rookie of the Year:  Eighteen Friend Street 

From humble beginnings working at a converted kitchen table, Wicked Cool Sea Glass signed a lease on a 350-square foot store in January 2016 in Amesbury.  Coleen Magowan, with the help of family and friends, opened a store that would focus on locally made, small business driven, non-profit based products; made only in the USA!!  In one year they were busting at the seams and needed to expand. Signing a lease next to them they tripled their space and updated the name to Eighteen Friend Street to recognize their allegiance to the downtown Main Streets of Amesbury.  Their marketing platform matches their business platform- no advertising. Word of mouth is all they have needed. They run a fundraiser every month and donate all of the money to a local cause that needs support. The artists, businesses, friends and of course family are truly what makes the store as successful as it is.  It is the heart of Eighteen Friend Street that brings them all together. 



Community Service: BookEnds 

Judy Manzo, owner of BookEnds in Winchester for over 25 years, sees community involvement as one of the keys to the success of her stand-alone, independently owned book store.  “I have tried to create the quintessential ‘corner bookstore’ where civility, community, and being good neighbors reigns.  All staff are encouraged  to learn about  community activities and organizations allowing us to foster a loyal customer base – where we greet them by name and have ongoing conversations about family or the issues of the day,” said Manzo.  The resulting relationships and trust within the community make a big difference in an industry as competitive as retail where people have a choice of where they go and how they want to spend their money.
These efforts also benefit the community as a whole.  According to state Representative Michael Day, who nominated the bookseller. “BookEnds leads by example and inspires others to serve the community.”  BookEnds supports hundreds of local causes through donations, gift certificates and ticket sales to fundraisers.   The store windows are covered with fliers and posters each month and the store hosts multiple free author events for adults and children.   “My team works very hard to make our store experience memorable and they all deserve recognition.  I’m just the conductor- they all make the actual music,” Manzo said.


Retail Innovator of the Year: ECi Stores 

ECi Stores, dba Cutie Patuties, CP & Company and Q (specializing in kids, teens and ladies wear) plus Cutiques (for home decor and furniture) is a nationally recognized, customer centric consignment brand that has served the community for nearly 20 years and has become an industry leader and the largest operation of its kind in the Northeast.  ECi is raising the bar in the resale industry and regularly mentor, consult, and coach international resale professionals and their businesses.  Neil and Cassandra Abramson present their strategy at national resale continuing education sessions semi-annually and have become industry experts.  “ECi has developed a unique assembly line system to process and photograph thousands of products a day. This has seamlessly allowed them to integrate their internet presence with their brick and mortar store while ensuring their product line remains fresh and current,” said the North Central Chamber of Commerce in their nomination.


Creative Concepts in Retailing: Springdale Barrel Room 

The Springdale Barrel Room is where the ancient alchemy between beer and oak works a slow magic. Hundreds of oak barrels sit behind a gigantic bar in the brewery, containing ales and lagers that are undergoing fermentation by a horde of yeast and bacteria. Blending these barrels into funky, complex and sometimes sour beer is an historical art form that is celebrated in this unique space in Framingham. 
More than a laboratory for beer production and experimentation, Springdale, by the makers of Jack’s Abby, is part event space, local art gallery, and game room. Patrons can bring their own food, partake in weekly Saturday morning beer yoga or nerd out during trivia nights. With a jam-packed calendar of events, Springdale brims with creativity, and we can’t wait to see what they do next with this exciting brand.


Restaurant of the Year: Sea Level

After nearly two decades of success, awards and customer loyalty at the gourmet Salem Pickering Wharf restaurant Finz Seafood and Grill, management decided to open a new seafood restaurant practically next door on the same wharf in Salem.  In 2015, Sea Level took over the location of the former Capt’s Waterfront Grill and transformed the two level restaurant into a more casual, oyster bar setting to complement the more upscale Finz.  With unmatched views, an affordable, high quality menu, expansive bar with an impressive number of choices of beers and oysters, Sea Level quickly became the new draw to Salem for dining and entertainment from across the region.  From a brisk lunch crowd, to late night entertainment customers, Sea Level is always popular.  The model has been so extremely successful, with extensive positive reviews and awards, that owner George Carey duplicated the model this year with a second Sea Level, this time in Newburyport.  Like the Salem location, an inviting décor and atmosphere, great views, local beers and a terrific menu are making this Sea Level an important draw in yet another seaside destination.  Like Finz, the awards and outstanding reviews and customer appreciation like Best of the Northshore are already numerous.  Support of community organizations, and participation with local chambers of commerce and the area employer community in seeking economic success for all has always been an important part of their operations. and