Retail has a great story to tell in Minnesota!

2015 Board Chair, Pawn America's Chuck Armstrong, Outlines Priorities

New chair bring strong relationship with law enforcement to the table

The Minnesota Retailers Association is pleased to welcome Chuck Armstrong, chief legislative officer at Burnsville-based Pawn America, as its 2015 Board chair. In his volunteer role Armstrong leads a group of 27 Board members from across the state and a staff focused on growing Minnesota’s retail economy and jobs.

Armstrong lives in Woodbury and has worked in the retail sector since 2010, before that holding several key staff positions at nonprofit associations including the Minnesota High Tech Association and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Retailers are an essential part of the state’s economy and I am excited to lead a Board and staff committed to the growth of retail throughout Minnesota’s neighborhoods and communities. There are many opportunities for retailers today given changes occurring in consumer spending, retail innovation, and technology. At the same time challenges exist, like rising organized criminal activity. I am pleased to play a role in an association dedicated to protecting and enhancing the 788,000 Minnesota jobs that depend on the success of retailers,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong succeeds Best Buy’s senior director of government affairs, Mike Hiltner, as chair of the Board.

Armstrong's priorities for 2015 include:

  1. Educate and inform MnRA's membership on potential threats and challenges to businesses resulting from every changing and improving technology, criminal activity and fraudulent acts.
  2. Demonstrate the clear value and expertise of the organization to members, potential members, policy makers and the media.
  3. Grow MnRA's membership and grass roots network.

“2014 was a great year for the Minnesota Retailers Association under the leadership of Mike Hiltner. Mike continues to be a strong advocate for the retail industry in Minnesota as he enters his eighth year of service on the Board. In addition, he will continue to serve on the board’s Executive Committee,” said association president Bruce Nustad.  “With increased organized retail crime as seen over the past holiday season, we are excited about Chuck’s leadership in 2015, especially given the relationships he has fostered with the law enforcement community.

Meet MnRA's Government Relations Director, Brian Carr

Carr joins MnRA just in time for the 2015 legislative session

Brian Carr joined the Minnesota Retailers Association in January, 2015, after having worked in government and politics in Washington D.C. with the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Brian leads our legislative advocacy program which serves to enhance the Minnesota retail industry. Utilizing his legislative experience and policy background, Brian brings a diverse set of skills and knowledge in representing the members of the retailers association at the State Capitol.

Brian is a 2014 graduate of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Brian can be reached at (651) 227-6631 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Minnesota Retailers Are Optimistic About Holiday Spending After Sales & Traffic Met Expectations Thanksgiving Weekend

Trends lead retailers to be optomistic about shopper spending this holiday season

Minnesota's retailers are optimistic about shopper spending this holiday season following a Thanksgiving weekend that mostly met or exceeded sales expectations.  The Minnesota Retailers Association solicited feedback from retailers around the state through an informal, non-scientific survey last week.

In that survey, 50 percent of respondents expect this holiday season to be better than last year, with the balance generally anticipating this season to be about the same as 2013. Those responses correlate with 44 percent of retailers reporting stronger than expected sales, foot traffic as anticipated, and slightly elevated online visits for the Thanksgiving weekend.

What might be fueling consumer spending this holiday season? Several retailers cited low gasoline prices as a factor in boosting the potential that consumers will spend more this year.  Other factors mentioned include timely Winter weather to get consumers a gift-giving mood.

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