Leaving MRA but still cheering on Michigan retailers

By MEEGAN HOLLAND, MRA Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Friday, Dec. 4, is my last day at MRA. I’m seeking more flexibility, so I’m moving on from the Monday-Friday workaday world. I don’t know what awaits me in the winter of a pandemic, but I’m not alone. I’ve heard of many people retiring, moving or altering their lifestyle in some drastic way.

There’s no doubt that a pandemic changes your priorities professionally and personally. Still, I will miss my colleagues and so many aspects about my job at Michigan Retailers Association. It’s my first one in the trade association world and it was an eye-opening ride for my 3.5 years here – in a good way!

I’m going out during a fascinating, if not tumultuous, time. All of a sudden last spring, MRA was in the New York Times, Inside Edition and every major news outlet in the state. I went from focusing on our Buy Nearby campaign, the Retailer and marketing pieces to becoming a busy spokesperson, almost overnight.

The fact that the media was so hungry for MRA’s perspective just goes to show how vitally important retail is to their readers.

At MRA, we understood that already. Retail is the heart of our communities. You help set your town apart. You provide expertise and donate items to local charities. You have many loyal customers, perhaps the most precious currency of any store.

Of course, I worry for all the wonderful retailers and community builders I’ve met, as we face an uncertain 2021. I am in awe of your work to make your communities and businesses better.

But I know MRA will be there for you, and I hope this pandemic convinced you that your membership is worth every penny. I’ve seen first-hand how MRA went to bat for retailers with the Governor’s office and Legislature and answered scores of your questions during these confusing times.

That will continue. And this magazine, the Buy Nearby campaign and other MRA projects will be left in the capable hands of my replacement, Jennifer Rook.

Maybe I’ll get antsy and write a story or two. For now, I’m wondering how to spend time that seems more precious. Thank you for letting me into your world these past few years. It’s been life-changing. And now life changes again.