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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; and

WHEREAS, the association organized a Bureau of Credit in 1906, 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, the Retail Merchants Association of Norfolk merged with the Retail Merchants Association of Portsmouth in 1978, 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, the credit bureau in 1981 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, the association expanded to offer a Retail Services division in 1998, 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 who expanded the Retail Alliance sales and marketing area, more than doubling its 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 blood drives six times a year, the only company in South Hampton Roads to perform 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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