SERVING RETAILERS SINCE 1906

In 1906, nine downtown Richmond retailers founded the Retail Merchants Association of Richmond so that their combined voices would be heard on retail issues. These nine companies included the following: Berry-Burk & Co. (clothiers), Greentree’s (clothiers), Hofheimer’s Shoes, E.T. Long & Co. (lumber), Miller & Rhoads (department store), Richmond Art Co. (fine art and home furnishings), Schwartzchild’s, Sydnor & Hundley (furniture and home furnishings), and Thalhimers (department store).

RMA’s First President
W. A. Clarke, Jr., 1906-1930

1906

Retail Merchants Association was formed and successfully petitioned the Richmond City Council to approve a sum of $20,000 to sprinkle the streets with water, in order to stop dust from coming into retailers’ stores.

1907

RMA established the Credit Bureau of Richmond to gather financial histories and personal information for all customers buying on credit from member stores.

1910

One of the first public relations campaigns spearheaded by RMA was “Richmond Days,” designed to get people downtown to shop for Christmas.

1930

George C. Robinson became RMA’s second president.

1958

RMA established a collections department which grew into the largest automated collection operation in Virginia, serving the entire state.

1966

RMA established the “Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award.” The first recipient of this award was William B. Thalhimer, Jr.

1967

Jeff D. Smith, Jr. became RMA’s third president.

1971

The RMA logo, designed by Creative Services of Richmond Newspapers, won both state and national awards. The logo signifies two pairs of helping hands, working together.

1972

RMA established a $5,000 Reward Program for use by Richmond area police departments in connection with crimes against retailers.

1980

RMA was instrumental in changing Virginia law to permit not-for-profit debt counseling services. It organized the Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

1982

RMA enhanced its member educational programs to include topics like human resources, loss prevention, customer service, sales training, marketing and personal leadership.

1984

RMA started Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers, making it one of the oldest Crime Stopper organizations in the country.

1986

RMA purchased its current headquarters at 5101 Monument Avenue and moved in on May 15, 1987.

1988

The Credit Bureau, Collection Department and Commonwealth Check Systems were sold to Equifax.

1989

RMA organized The 100 Club of Metro Richmond, a citizens’ membership organization which provides a financial “safety net” for the families of area law enforcement officers and firefighters.

1993

William H. Baxter became RMA’s fourth president.

1997

The U. S. Attorney’s Office launched Project Exile, a cooperative effort between federal and local law enforcement agencies to get illegal guns off the streets of Richmond. Retail Merchants Association provided the initial funds for the first major anti-gun advertising campaign, along with Ukrop’s and Fas-Mart.

1998

Retail Merchants Association continued to identify and support programs that would increase tourism, economic opportunity and public safety including the Sports Backers Stadium, Greater Richmond Convention Center and Richmond Region Tourism.

2006

On its 100th anniversary, the Association legally changed its name to “Retail Merchants Association” and expanded its membership to accommodate a greater geographic footprint.

2007

RMA partnered with Retail Alliance® of Hampton Roads to create the Virginia Retail Federation, a joint advocacy group representing retail issues at local, state and federal levels.

2009

Nancy C. Thomas became RMA’s fifth president.

2009

RMA launched the Think. Shop. Buy. Local® campaign. This campaign aims to improve the economic health of our communities by encouraging consumers to think before they shop and buy locally whenever possible.

2014

RMA celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Annual Valor Awards Ceremony with record attendance.

2015

RMA and Richmond 2015 helped prep retailers for the 2015 UCI World Championships with workshops, merchandising tips, and traffic flow communication.

RMA also launched a new series in the Think. Shop. Buy. Local® program, Loyal to Local.

2016

Retail Merchants continues to focus on serving our members as the ultimate resource for retailers.