RECYCLING IS NOT JUST A TREND – IT’S ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY: SEA BAGS NAMED 2015 RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Augusta, Maine — October 27, 2015 —The board of directors of the Retail Association of Maine announced today that Sea Bags, headquartered at Custom House Wharf in Portland, Maine, has been named the 2015 Retailer of the Year. The award will be presented at the Retail Association of Maine’s 82nd annual meeting on Thursday, November 5th at the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa.
The Retailer of the Year Award has three main criteria: continued growth in employees or sales; commitment of company resources to community projects; and creation of a positive work environment for all employees. This year had a competitive field of nominations and Sea Bags was chosen for its eco-friendly practices, innovative product line, advancements in customer communication and commitment to the community. Sea Bags’ values align perfectly with the award criteria and they were unanimously selected as this year’s recipient.
“We’re delighted to be selected as the Maine Retailer of the Year. To be recognized for the core values Sea Bags was founded upon and the mission we work to live up to daily is humbling and empowering,”
said Don Oakes, CEO of Sea Bags. “On behalf of the entire company, we’re grateful for this recognition and feel fortunate that we can call Maine home.”
Sea Bags is a Maine-based company that designs, manufactures and sells bags and accessories from used sails. They are committed to staying green in product and practice; keeping production in Maine; and being involved in the community; and they attribute much of their success to this business model. Sea Bags has developed several approaches to making the most of retired sails; last year alone, they saved more than 2,800 sails from going into a landfill and estimates recycling over 500 tons of sails since the company started. This year’s award winner is committed to employing Maine people by internally cultivating its own workforce and has worked hard to remain a small manufacturing company and employer that offers healthcare and career paths. And as a socially responsible company, they partner with the American Cancer Society to donate proceeds from their ‘Cure’ collection, and SailMaine via the Sea Bags Scholarship Fund, which contributes dollars to help interested yet underprivileged children learn to sail.
The Retail Association of Maine’s board, comprised of fellow retail businesses owners and experts, was impressed with Sea Bags’ authenticity and its ability to become an iconic Maine-made item. Retail Association of Maine, Executive Director Curtis Picard stated, “This is a prestigious award and Sea Bags is a very deserving company; their pledge to continue production in Maine, sourcing materials locally, and sustainability are honorable values worthy of recognition.”
The Retail Association of Maine has presented the annual Retailer of the Year Award since 1980. Other winners include Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream (2014), Mexicali Blues (2013), Wild Oats Bakery & Café (2012), Cool As A Moose (2011), and The Beadin’ Path (2010).
About the Retail Association of Maine
The Retail Association of Maine is a statewide, non-profit trade association representing over 400 businesses in the state, from large chains to small independent retailers. Formed in 1933, the Retail Association of Maine serves as the voice of retailers in Maine and concentrates on preserving the state's strong retail climate. For more information on the Retail Association of Maine, please visit the website at www.retailmaine.org or call the Retail Association of Maine offices at 207-623-1149.
About Sea Bags
Sea Bags designs and manufactures bags and accessories from used sails, which are sold at five Sea Bags retail stores, online at www.seabags.com and through more than 900 retailers across the country. Founded in 1999, Sea Bags started by making fun, functional and stylish totes. During the past nine years, the company has grown from 3 to almost 50 employees and from making 75 bags a year to over 75,000 in a diverse assortment of totes, bags, and home goods. Follow Sea Bags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.