Michigan Retailers Association exists to serve its members who represent many different retail categories. MRA has a long history of adding and partnering with different retail categories through affiliations and divisions. The association now speaks as one voice for all retailers but celebrates the diverse history and different interests of our members. The following is a list of the still-recognized and active divisions.
The Michigan Grocers Association was founded under the name of the Michigan Business Men’s Association at its first annual convention in Detroit on August 23-24, 1898. On September 16, 1903, a resolution was adopted to change the name of the organization to the Retail Grocers and General Merchants Association of Michigan. Incorporated on January 17, 1917, the group worked to encourage improvements in business methods and to advance the interest of retail grocers and general merchants. The Michigan Grocers Association became a division of MRA on January 1, 2018.
The division has an active advisory board made up of the following members: Craig Diepenhorst, H.T. Hackney Co.; Jim Gohsman, SpartanNash; William J. Hallan, Michigan Retailers Association; John Leppink, Leppink’s Food Centers; Rachel Hurst, Kroger; Nick Lenzi, Lipari Foods; Bryan Neiman, Neiman’s Family Markets; DJ Oleson, Oleson’s Food Stores; and Thom Welch, Hollywood Markets.
Michigan Retail Hardware
With the philosophy, “in union there is strength”, twenty Michigan hardware retailers convened in Detroit on July 9, 1895, and organized the Michigan Retail Hardware Association. The group was incorporated in 1914 and worked toward the enactment of state and national legislation on behalf of the retail, wholesale and manufacturing trades. The first success was the passage in 1897 of a state mechanics lien law. The Michigan Retail Hardware Association became a division of MRA on July 1, 2017.
The Michigan Jewelers Association was founded by Max Jennings of St. Clair, Michigan in 1905. It is believed that Michigan was the first state jewelers association to be organized. That same year the first annual convention and trade show was held. The convention and trade show continued until 2003. The Michigan Jewelers Association became a division of MRA in November 1956. Becky Beauchine Kulka, Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, serves as the current chair of the division.
Michigan Shoe Dealers
Michigan was the first state association of the retail shoe trade to be organized. The Michigan Retail Shoe Dealers’ Association held its first organizational meeting in 1905 with seventy charter members each paying dues of one dollar. Its second annual meeting was held at the Light Guard Armory in Detroit, September 4-6, 1906. The Michigan Shoe Association became a division of MRA in November 1956. Shoe division members are also members of the National Shoe Retailers Association.
Michigan Floor Covering
The Floorcovering Association of Michigan became affiliated with MRA in 1959. The name was changed to the Michigan Floor Covering Association and it officially became a division of MRA in April 1998.
Michigan Tire and Vehicle Services
Originally joining MRA as the Michigan Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association Division in 1968, the division was renamed the Michigan Tire and Vehicle Services Association Division in 1986. The division is active with national tire and vehicle repair groups like the Auto Care Association.