SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

October 23, 2007 10:00 ET

2007 Michigan Retailers of the Year Announced

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - October 23, 2007) - Three retail businesses that make outstanding community involvement an integral part of their operations were honored today as 2007 Michigan Retailer of the Year.

Receiving honors at the 10th annual awards luncheon at the University Club of MSU:

--  Small Category (annual sales under $2 million): Saturn Booksellers,
--  Medium (annual sales of $2-20 million): Playmakers, Inc., Okemos
--  Large (annual sales above $20 million): Target Corporation,
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

"The Retailer of the Year Awards provide the opportunity to honor the best of the best," said Larry Meyer, chairman and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association, which founded the awards program and co-sponsors it with the Michigan Press Association. "The award recipients represent the thousands of retailers across the state who make a difference in their communities through their countless charitable and volunteer activities."

Recipients are selected by an independent panel of community leaders: Nancy Barker, retired vice president, Northwood University; Rick Blanchard, assistant business editor, The Detroit News; Jan Hayhow, former board chair of Michigan Retailers Association; Sandra Katt, Grand Haven manager of community affairs; Michael MacLaren, executive director, Michigan Press Association; Claude Martin, Winkelman Professor Emeritus of Retail Marketing, University of Michigan; David Scott, new media manager, CBS Radio's WVMV; Brenda Sternquist, professor of retailing, Michigan State University; and Dennis Toffolo, director, Oakland County Community and Economic Development.

The 2007 Michigan Retailer of the Year recipients:

Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord / Jill Miner, Owner

Saturn Booksellers is helping instill a love of books in the children of the Gaylord area and increasing literacy in the community. In addition to hosting many author events in the store itself, owner Jill Miner arranges for children's authors and illustrators to come to the area's elementary schools -- in Gaylord and the surrounding small communities of Mancelona and Vanderbilt. Miner brings children's authors to local schools each year and makes certain that the program will reach as many children as possible by bussing in children from nearby schools. Saturn Booksellers' author events get young people excited about reading, which is the foundation of a good education. In addition, the programs help young people learn to view writers and illustrators as real people with careers to which they, too, might aspire.

With the same belief in the transformative power of literacy, Saturn Booksellers donated $5,000 in books this year to "Books to Africa," an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of Africans through books and education.

In addition, the bookstore donates to numerous local community events and causes. It also serves as a ticket outlet, at no charge, for any group in town needing to sell tickets, from spaghetti suppers and pancake breakfasts to community theater, concerts and school events.

Playmakers, Inc., Okemos / Curt Munson, Owner

Playmakers, Inc. has been instrumental in bringing several national health and fitness-related programs to the Lansing area, including the Feelin' Good Mileage Club & Michigan Mile Walk/Run. For seven weeks each spring, children in kindergarten through sixth grade walk or run laps during lunch or recess, earning incentives for various milestones and learning the habit of physical activity as a way to feel good and stay healthy. Back in 1997 Playmakers collaborated with Sparrow Hospital to launch the program in Lansing. Today, schools in eight mid-Michigan counties are invited to participate. In 2007, 126 schools participated, making the program available to more than 40,000 kids at no cost to the parent or the school.

The program culminates in the Michigan Mile Run/Walk at Lugnuts Stadium. Funds raised from the Michigan Mile benefit the Children's Miracle Network. But the primary focus of the program is to increase the physical activity of children, by getting them walking or running on a regular basis.

In addition, through sponsorship of numerous run/walk events, Playmakers has helped raise money for Special Olympics Michigan Area 8, the Capital Area Humane Society, Ele's Place, the MSU Museum, Impression 5 Museum and other local and national nonprofits.

Target Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Target is renowned for its generous contributions to the communities where its stores are located. Since its inception in 1962, Target has made it part of its mission to contribute 5 percent of its annual income to programs that serve the community. In 2007 that means more than $3 million every week goes to education, arts, and family and social services initiatives. In addition, Target team members volunteer hundreds of thousands of hours of their time and talent in their communities.

In Michigan, Target's charitable commitment takes many forms, including Target Harmony in the Parks, Michigan Reads! and Take Charge of Education. For "Target Harmony in the Parks" the retailer has partnered with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Metropark system to offer many families an opportunity to explore the Metroparks system and see the DSO perform for free. The program has reached more than 150,000 people over the last three years. Target is also the sole sponsor of Michigan Reads! -- a program that promotes the benefits of reading early and often to preschoolers and increases awareness and usage of Michigan's public libraries. Take Charge of Education is Target's national program that supports schools by allowing Target shoppers to designate a school to which Target will donate 1 percent of every purchase. Schools in Detroit and its surrounding communities have received more than $6 million through the program over the past 10 years.

Target also has given generously to Michigan Retailers Foundation's scholarship program. To date, Target and Detroit District Team Leader Joe Swanson (an MRA board member) have contributed more than $30,000 and endowed three annual scholarships.

Through the marketing of its community activities, Target reaches out to its customers. It doesn't just encourage them to shop Target, it moves them to take ownership of the commitment to social responsibility, and it leads by example.

The Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of retailing in Michigan and the nation's largest state trade association of general merchandise retailers. MRA's nearly 5,500 retail business members operate more than 12,000 stores across the state.

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