The Washington Retail Board of Directors will meet this week in Bellevue, Washington, to elect incoming officers and plan for the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session as we tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our industry today.
Our 19-member Board of Directors represents an influential mix of retail representatives from Washington based and multi-state retailers around the country. The WR Board functions in 4 primary roles providing governance and fiduciary oversight, policy & position development, and visionary focus as we look to the future of the retail industry.
Our featured lunch speaker is Bellevue’s own, Kemper Freeman. Mr. Freeman is the fourth-generation principal and leader of Kemper Development Company, which has developed a 5.5 million square foot real estate portfolio called the Bellevue Collection.
Bellevue will always have a special place for me personally, as I began my career in retail approximately 35 years ago, working for several retail businesses in Bellevue Square. This year attendees will also help celebrate 17 years of Snowflake Lane – as we experience the wonder of falling snow, dazzling lights, and festive music at the nightly parade.
Along with the festivities and holiday magic, the board will tackle several critical issues that are front of mind for many retailers. Although this holiday season is projected to be one of the highest retail sales on record, the industry is still facing supply chain issues and inventory shortages as we work to find the workforce necessary to support seasonal and long-term hiring demands. Public safety and retail crime will be a priority as concerns continue to grow around law enforcement limitations necessary to apprehend criminals and lack of prosecution for these brazen crimes.
We also look forward to hearing from Representative Steve Kirby (D-29-Tacoma) and Republican leader, J.T. Wilcox (R-2-Roy,) who are joining our meeting to discuss their top priorities for the 2022 session.