On November 5th, 1995, a small yet ambitious group of hopeful business owners exchanged ideas to form a collaboration entitled Atlanta Retailers Association. With very limited funds and dreams which seemed out of reach at the time, they sat for countless hours to create a set of By-Laws to govern the association and began a campaign to encourage other small business owners to join ARA. In May of 1996, ARA signed its very first deal with the beverage giant, Coca-Cola. This collaboration with Coca-Cola truly symbolized the beginning of ARA’s growing position in the competitive market of Atlanta convenience stores.
Over the years, ARA has grown to form business relations with vendors such as Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Red Bull etc. In addition, ARA has been a key player in forming other business entities such as Apex Health Clinic, Platinum Federal Credit Union, and National Alliance of Trade Associations. Since 1995 Atlanta Retailers Association has established itself as one of the largest retail association in Georgia with over 1,000 retail stores not only in C-store industry but also dry cleaners, fast-food restaurants, jewelry stores and other retail businesses totaling well over 10,000 employees.
Also, over the years, ARA has formed a very strong relationship with NACS, the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing as well as GACS, the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores. GACS has seen our growing power and definitely holds ARA in high regards to the convenience store industry. In fact, in a 2006 Atlanta Business Chronicle article about ARA, Jim Tudor, the President of GACS stated, “I suspect a large number of non chain convenience stores, a group that is greater than 90 percent of all convenience stores, are members of the ARA.”