History of RMA Megan Way
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
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.
RMA established the Credit Bureau of Richmond to gather financial histories and personal information for all customers buying on credit from member stores.
One of the first public relations campaigns spearheaded by RMA was “Richmond Days,” designed to get people downtown to shop for Christmas.
George C. Robinson became RMA’s second president.
RMA established a collections department which grew into the largest automated collection operation in Virginia, serving the entire state.
RMA established the “Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award.” The first recipient of this award was William B. Thalhimer, Jr.
Jeff D. Smith, Jr. became RMA’s third president.
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.
RMA established a $5,000 Reward Program for use by Richmond area police departments in connection with crimes against retailers.
RMA was instrumental in changing Virginia law to permit not-for-profit debt counseling services. It organized the Consumer Credit Counseling Services.
RMA enhanced its member educational programs to include topics like human resources, loss prevention, customer service, sales training, marketing and personal leadership.
RMA started Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers, making it one of the oldest Crime Stopper organizations in the country.
RMA purchased its current headquarters at 5101 Monument Avenue and moved in on May 15, 1987.
The Credit Bureau, Collection Department and Commonwealth Check Systems were sold to Equifax.
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.
William H. Baxter became RMA’s fourth president.
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.
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.
On its 100th anniversary, the Association legally changed its name to “Retail Merchants Association” and expanded its membership to accommodate a greater geographic footprint.
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.
Nancy C. Thomas became RMA’s fifth president.
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.
RMA celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Annual Valor Awards Ceremony with record attendance.
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.
Retail Merchants continues to focus on serving our members as the ultimate resource for retailers.