WHAT: Annual Luncheon of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and 2019 Retailer of the Year Award Ceremony


WHEN: October 2, 2019
11:30 Reception
Noon Luncheon & Program


WHERE: Palmer House
17 E Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603



2019 Illinois Retailer of the Year

Members of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), industry members, community members and elected officials will once again gather to recognize the successes and challenges of the Illinois Retail community during the 62nd Annual Luncheon on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Chicago.

Last year, IRMA honored the 2018 Illinois Retailer of the Year to Saputo’s Italian Restaurant in Springfield, IL.

Saputo’s Restaurant has a long tradition of serving fine Italian food and has grown into a favorite destination for tourists, dignitaries, celebrities, and locals alike. Owned and operated by third and fourth generation family members, Saputo’s is known for its Old World family recipes that maintain a high standard of excellence in both food and service.

What started with Frank and Florine Saputo’s love of Southern Italian cooking turned into a family business in 1948. Joined by Frank’s twin brother, Joe and wife Edda, they grew the restaurant into the beloved “everybody knows your name” restaurant that it is today.

Saputo’s is a gleaming representation of what it means to be an Illinois retailer, thriving for the past 70 years due to good old fashioned hard work and perseverance. While Saputo’s has been inventive throughout the years, being a leader in the pizza delivery industry in the early 1950s, the family-run restaurant has always remained true to its value of customer service. Springfield residents and traveling guests alike stop by Saputo’s for the well-known reputation but stay for the delicious food and welcoming atmosphere. With countless Springfield families who consider Saputo’s their second home, guests are always visiting to celebrate life’s most cherished moments or to enjoy a family dinner. The Saputo family has truly created valued memories not only for themselves but for families near and far.

Currently operated by Frank and Florine’s daughter, Sandy (Saputo) Coffey, her husband Mike, and their son Mike. Jr., the restaurant is proudly celebrating their 70th year of serving the Springfield community. As a literal cornerstone of Springfield, IRMA is honored to present the 2018 Illinois Retailer of the Year award to Saputo’s Restaurant.

The 2019 Retailer of the Year will be announced at the Annual Luncheon on October 2nd. We hope to see you there!

Keynote Speaker

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Founder & Publisher, RetailMinded.com

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder and Publisher of RetailMinded.com, a well-respected industry publication that has been recognized worldwide for its leading retail insight since 2007. With a core concentration on independent retailers, small businesses and how the various touch points of commerce influence modern merchants, Reyhle is a frequent guest and contributor to various media outlets that include The Today Show, Forbes, Entreprenuer.com and countless B2B publications. Additionally, Reyhle has been the spokesperson for American Express’ Small Business Saturday since 2014 and is the Author of the book “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business” from McGraw-Hill. Recognized within the top 10 of 100 worldwide retail thought leaders since 2015 and a retail “futurist” for IBM, Reyhle also is proud to have grown up in Libertyville, Illinois and attended Columbia College in Chicago. Finally, Reyhle is also the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference. Learn more about Reyhle at RetailMinded.com.


To register for this event as a participant, or to become a sponsor, please complete the registration form and return it to Debbie Cole at dcole@irma.org.

Registration deadline is September 20, 2019.

If overnight accommodations are needed, there is a room block available at the Palmer House. Please note that you are attending the Illinois Retail Merchants Association Annual Meeting to receive discounted pricing. Room block reservations must be secured by September 3, 2019.