Darby’s wins bronze; J.R.’s takes silver in annual Retailer of Year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 24, 2014


VESTAVIA HILLS — David Darby and Joe Richburg were quite excited to have their businesses honored at the 15th annual Retailer of the Year Awards luncheon on Tuesday at Vestavia Hills Country Club.

Darby, who with his wife, Laura, owns Darby’s Village Pharmacy and Medical Center Pharmacy, earned the Bronze Retailer of the Year Award in the annual $5-$20 million sales category.

Richburg, the owner of J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop in Opp, earned the Silver Retailer of the Year Award in the annual $1-$5 million sales category.

“I’m just blessed,” Richburg said. “It’s just an honor. I’m just excited.”

Darby said the award wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the people in the community who have made the pharmacies what they are today.

“It’s the community,” Darby said. “We moved to Andalusia 31 years ago and the community has been so supportive to us in everything we’ve ever done. Even before we got the second store.”

The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, recognized the 13 honorees who came from a pool of almost 70 nominees.

Each winner was selected based on their annual earnings category. Categories are listed for businesses who make less than $1 million, from $1-$5 million, from $5-$20 million and more than $20 million.

Richburg said a lot of the credit for his success came from three things — hard work, dedication and never giving up.

“We just always work hard at it,” Richburg said. “No. 1 would be God. I always put him first.

“Every meeting we have, I say you run by two people here. God (is first) and I fall in second.”

J.R.’s Lawnmower shop started out as a repair business in the Richburg family’s backyard. Richburg now sells outdoor and handheld power equipment, parts, four-wheelers, golf carts, utility trailers, indestructible ice coolers and metal structures.

The Darbys recently expanded into more traditional retail when they opened their Medical Center Pharmacy, which carries a large selection of game day attire, kids’ clothing, and has a bridal registry, as well as traditional items found in a pharmacy.

Before opening the local pharmacies, David Darby managed the “front end” for Harco pharmacies, customizing the retail portions for many locations.

A judge’s panel chose the winners.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley presented the keynote address at the luncheon.

Bentley spoke on the need of small businesses in the state.

“You create a lot of jobs in this state,” Bentley said to a packed ball room. “Since I’ve been governor, the economy has been slow across the country and that’s beginning to change.”

Bentley also signed a statewide proclamation declaring Sept. 23 as Alabama Retail Day.