By Sharon Aron Baron
Organizers of the South Florida Independent Retailer Awards need the public’s help to identify locally owned retail shops and restaurants worthy of consideration this year.
The Academy Award-style event, now in its third year, will be held on Nov 4 in Davie, with more than 400 business owners and shopping center landlords expected to attend.
With the pandemic creating stress and uncertainty for many independent retailers, this year’s program takes on a more significant meaning.
“During the pandemic, retail tenants and landlords collaborated in ways hardly seen before for the mutual benefit of survival,” said Beth Azor, co-founder of the awards program and member of the organizing committee. “The businesses that made it through deserve to be recognized and thanked now more than ever.” Azor continued: “ We are so grateful and appreciative of the response from sponsors this year, including Blue Waters Development Group that will be the major underwriting sponsor for this year’s awards.”
Anyone who knows a candidate that should be considered for an SFIRA can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations are due by Oct 8.
The only requirements are that businesses must be independent (non-franchise or corporate), have at least two locations in the tri-county area, and are in expansion mode. There will be at least ten categories with three finalists in each.
The winner will be selected during real-time voting by the live audience of retailers and shopping center owners.
In 2021, SFIRA is introducing a new category called the Icon Award. Any independent retailer or restaurateur that has been in business for more than 35 years will be recognized at the event and receive a special plaque to commemorate their longevity and service to the region.
“We are looking for those iconic businesses that are household names and have been serving local communities for more than a quarter-century,” Azor said. “We know a bunch of them but would still like to hear from the public about those that might be under the radar.”
A much-anticipated segment of the awards program is the Retail “Shark Tank.” This is where a local business that intends to open a new location sits on stage face-to-face with three shopping center landlords, pitting one against the other to flush out the best lease deal. The Retail Shark Tank is how Vicky Bakery landed its newest location on Las Olas Blvd in 2019.
“This is definitely one of the highlights of the day,” said Azor. “It’s so fun to watch these property owners go head-to-head and give it their best shot to entice a new occupant to one of their properties.”
The South Florida Independent Retailer Awards sponsored by Blue Waters Development Group will be held on Nov 4. at the Signature Grand in Davie from 8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. For information on tickets and sponsorship information, visit www.tsfira.com. All net proceeds will benefit a local charity.
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- Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2011 to provide News for the residents of Tamarac and is the #1 News Source for Residents.