Texas has a robust, diverse and thriving retail industry which employs over 1.9 million Texans. These independent proprietors, as well as large multi-national corporations, comprise the membership of the Texas Retailers Association. Throughout our 90 year history, department stores, specialty shops, drugstores, grocery stores, discount stores, hardware stores, jewelry shops and many other retailers doing business in Texas have all become members of the Texas Retailers Association.
It all began in July of 1926, when more than one hundred Texas merchant’s met at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, and created the United Merchants of Texas. Years later, the group changed its name to the Texas Retail Dry Goods Association, and after several decades became the Council of Texas Retailers. In the late 1950’s the organization became the Texas Retail Federation and was based in Houston and in 1967, the Federation was relocated to Austin, and renamed the Texas Retailers Association with Michael R. “Mickey” Moore as Executive Director. In 1984, the Texas Food Marketing Association, which represented supermarkets, merged into TRA and the Texas Federation of Drug Stores (chain drug industry) and became members of TRA as well. After successfully leading Texas Retailers for 35 years, Mickey Moore retired in 2001.
Chuck Courtney became TRA President in 2001. During this time TRA created the Texas Retailers Education Foundation (TREF), a 501 ©3 charitable organization. The Foundation was founded to promote a better trained retail workforce and high school and college level programs with a focus on retail careers. Since 2001, TREF has awarded approximately $1.4 million to the Texas Grant Program. Additionally, in 2006 TRA took another giant leap forward with another merger. TRA joined forces with the Gulf Coast Retailers Association and the Gulf Coast Food Council, organizations which dated back to the 1930’s and were always valuable partners to TRA. This created the TRA of today, truly the voice of retail in Texas, representing retailers across Texas, ranging from Texas based companies to those with a significant presence in our state, and from independent operators to the household names you know and trust. In 2007, Ronnie Volkening became TRA’s President and CEO and led the association until mid-2015 and in November of 2015, George Kelemen was selected as the current President and CEO of TRA