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Offered January 14, 2003
Commending the Retail Alliance on its 100th anniversary.

Patrons-- Drake, Alexander, Barlow, Bloxom, Christian, Cosgrove, Councill, Crittenden, Gear, Hamilton, Joannou, McDonnell, Melvin, Oder, Pollard, Purkey, Putney, Rapp, Sears, Spruill, Suit, Tata, Wardrup and Welch; Senators: Blevins, Lucas, Maxwell, Miller, Y.B., Norment, Quayle, Rerras, Stolle, Wagner and Williams

WHEREAS, the year 2003 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Retail Alliance, the Retail Merchants Association of Tidewater; and

WHEREAS, in 1903, the Retail Merchants Association of Norfolk elected officers and started meeting in the Chamber of Commerce headquarters on Granby Street in Norfolk; and

WHEREAS, in 1906, the association organized a Bureau of Credit and moved to its own space in the Bureau of Trade; and

WHEREAS, in 1957, the association expanded its services by adding a Recovery Department for collections of past due accounts; and

WHEREAS, in 1978, the Retail Merchants Association of Norfolk merged with the Retail Merchants Association of Portsmouth and reorganized as The Retail Merchants Association of Tidewater, Virginia, Inc.; and

WHEREAS, in 1979, the association moved into a new building on Poplar Hall Drive in the burgeoning Military Highway district of Norfolk in an effort to become easily accessible to consumers throughout Hampton Roads; and

WHEREAS, in 1981, the credit bureau became an affiliate of Equifax, then CBI, one of the three national credit reporting organizations in the country; and

WHEREAS, in 1986, the association acquired the Credit Bureau of Suffolk and expanded its services to Franklin and Isle of Wight County; and

WHEREAS, in 1998, the association expanded to offer a Retail Services division, providing training, library resources, marketing and government relations services, and meeting room space for local retailers; and

WHEREAS, in 2001, the credit reporting files of Retail Alliance were acquired by Equifax, and Equifax expanded the Retail Alliance sales and marketing area, more than doubling the Retail Alliance sales territory; and

WHEREAS, the Retail Alliance now employs approximately 50 people and offers 50 business service products including credit and mortgage reports, pre-employment screening tools, collection services and, for customers who use these services, the company provides workshops to update businesses on government rulings and changes in the credit industry; and

WHEREAS, approximately 2,100 Hampton Roads businesses are now partners or customers of Retail Alliance; and

WHEREAS, association employees and managers volunteer more than 1,000 hours of community service annually to approximately 35 agencies, nonprofit programs, and charitable events throughout Hampton Roads; and

WHEREAS, in 2001, the company received an award from the American Red Cross for sponsoring internal blood drives six times a year, the only company in South Hampton Roads to achieve this service; and

WHEREAS, the company has established the Robert W. Peck Memorial Scholarship Fund at Virginia Wesleyan College, which finances the education of two business majors annually; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly congratulate the Retail Alliance on the occasion of its 100th anniversary; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the president of the Retail Alliance as an expression of the congratulations and continued best wishes of the General Assembly of Virginia.

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