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October 11, 2017

Loyal Biscuit named 2017 ‘Retailer of the Year’

Courtesy / U.S. Small Business Administration
Courtesy / U.S. Small Business Administration
Heidi Neal is the co-owner of Rockland-based Loyal Biscuit Co., which has been named 2017 Retailer of the Year by the Retail Association of Maine.

About the Retail Association of Maine

The Retail Association of Maine is a statewide, nonprofit trade association representing over 400 businesses in the state, from large chains to small independent retailers. Incorporated in 1937, the Retail Association of Maine serves as the voice of retailers in Maine and concentrates on preserving the state's strong retail climate.

The board of directors of the Retail Association of Maine has named Loyal Biscuit Co., headquartered in Rockland, as the nonprofit trade group's 2017 Retailer of the Year.

The award will be presented at the Retail Association of Maine's annual meeting on Nov. 2, at O'Maine Studios in Portland.

The Retailer of the Year Award has three main criteria:

  • Continued growth in employees or sales
  • Commitment of company resources to community projects
  • Creation of a positive work environment for all employees.

This year encompassed a competitive field of nominations and Loyal Biscuit was chosen for its reputation as a growing family business, impressive growth, social, ethical and environmental responsibility and staff development procedures.

Loyal Biscuit was unanimously selected as this year's recipient.

Substantial growth over seven years

In just seven years, Loyal Biscuit Co. has experienced substantial growth by staying true to its mission.

When Heidi and Joel Neal first purchased the company in 2010, it was a single, surviving retail location in Rockland and Heidi was the sole employee. By building trust with their customers in the products and knowledge they provide and working closely with the animal community, the company has thrived and expanded to four additional locations (Belfast in 2011, Camden in 2012, Waterville in 2014, and Brewer in 2017). Loyal Biscuit has 21 employees.

The Retail Association's board, comprised of fellow retail businesses owners, recognized the impressive growth and commitment to giving back to the community which supports them.

"This is a prestigious award and Loyal Biscuit Co. is a very deserving company," Retail Association of Maine President and CEO Curtis Picard said in a news release announcing the award. "Heidi is an amazing businesswoman and the growth of the business has been incredible. We were particularly impressed with how much they give back to the community."

Giving back

"It is a true honor for our company to be named as 'Retailer of the Year,'" said co-owner Heidi Neal. "We have come a long way in the last seven years. Our team works hard to make sure our customers receive the best products and knowledge and to ensure that we are able to give so much back to the communities that support us. Receiving this award is truly an honor and one that we share with our team and our communities."

The Neals currently have four dogs and one cat, four of which were adopted through the local humane societies that the company supports regularly throughout the year with various food and monetary donations.

Since 2011, Loyal Biscuit hosted 12 "Pints for Paws" fundraising events that raised more than $28,000 for the local shelters. In 2016 alone, Loyal Biscuit hosted over 30 fundraising events including raising funds for the Maine Pet Oxygen Mask Project, among many others.

The Retail Association of Maine has presented the annual Retailer of the Year Award since 1980. Other winners include Day's Jewelers (2016), Sea Bags (2015), Gifford's Famous Ice Cream (2014), Mexicali Blues (2013), Wild Oats Bakery & Café (2012), Cool As A Moose (2011).

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