Retail Alliance’s Center for Retail Excellence partners with Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust

Retail Alliance’s educational arm, the Center for Retail Excellence, has partnered with Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust to launch a Certificate in Retail Operations, available to all retailers in Gloucester and surrounding areas.

“We are excited that our partnership with Retail Alliance helps our Main Street retailers develop the skills and knowledge necessary in achieving long-term success in their entrepreneurial and retail career journey,” said Jennifer E Crittenden, Executive Director of Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust.

“The Main Street Preservation Trust is offering scholarships to their existing business owners who take the Certificate in Retail Operations program as a whole (seven classes offered throughout the year) as well as for those who wish to take individual classes,” Crittenden said.

“The scholarships are on a first come, first reserved basis and can cover up to 50 percent of the costs. We encourage the entire curriculum but want to offer the flexibility as well where needed. This is a great opportunity for our existing business owners to take a closer look at an expansion plan or just hone their skills in certain areas. We also wish to spur new entrepreneurial pursuits on Main Street and that begins with vetting a concept fully and learning how to run a business. This program is perfect for that person who is ready to fully explore a business idea.”

For those new entrepreneurs who take the entire curriculum and decide to move forward and open a business identified as a need on Main Street, scholarships will be available to them as well. For information on reserving a space for a scholarship, please call Executive Director, Jenny Crittenden at (804) 824-9614 or email to

“When we launched the Certificate for Retail Excellence in 2016, we had seen the need for a competency-based training for aspiring and existing retailers that didn’t exist in Hampton Roads,” added Ray Mattes, President/CEO of Retail Alliance.

“People coming out of the military and the corporate world may have previous specialized experience but, no matter how much passion they have, unfortunately they may not have all the tools required to open and run a successful business. There are also many existing retailers that are struggling to stay afloat with the ever-changing retail environment and challenges such as online shopping and national competition. Our aim is to give a leg-up to those smaller retailers to level the playing field.”

Commencing in late 2017 and continuing through 2018 in Gloucester, the Certificate offers training in seven key must-haves for operating a retail business, ranging from business planning and financial management, to merchandising and marketing. The program is taught partly online, for convenience and accessibility, and partly face-to-face, for networking, mentorship and support. The first class of the Certificate in Retail Operations, Run with It!, will begin Monday, October 16, 2017. The opening session, called First Night, runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and will be held in the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust training room (6882 Main Street, Suite G, Gloucester, 23510.) For more information concerning the Certificate or the individual classes, please contact Susan Moore at or by phone at (757) 455-9319.


About Retail Alliance

Retail Alliance is a non-profit trade association serving the interests of local retailers in Hampton Roads. The organization promotes and supports the healthy growth of retail businesses and trade through education, networking, advocacy, discounts, local first program, and other benefits.

About Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust

The Main Street Preservation Trust (MSPT) administers Main Street Center and other Trust assets for the benefit of the community of Gloucester, Virginia. Funds generated by the Trust’s assets are intended to be used to attract new and additional business to Main Street in Gloucester by enhancing the economic and business environment, preserving historical landmarks in the Gloucester Court House Village area, and promoting civic and cultural activities. The Main Street Preservation Trust works with the Cook Foundation and is a supporter of the Gloucester Main Street Association. The Main Street Preservation Trust is a 501c4 organization, and as such donations are not tax deductible.

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