Who is RMA?
Lynchburg Retail Merchants Association is dedicated to promoting locally owned retail establishments and service providers. It helps fuel the local economy and preserve the unique character of our area. Many studies have been conducted about the importance of buying local and supporting your neighbors. Local businesses are the largest source of new jobs across the country and help keep money circulating locally.
Excellent Customer Service
How good do you feel when you walk into a store and the employees welcome you and call you by your name? Want something that isn’t in stock? Quite frequently it can be ordered and in the store within days.
Is your non-profit hosting an event and you need sponsorships? When you approach a local business, you go right to the source. No need to place a request and wait for corporate headquarters to review it and make a decision.
Should You or Shouldn’t You?
We are not against nationally owned stores. They also add to a community, supplying jobs, hiring local people, and paying taxes. We are only asking our consumers to be aware of their spending habits, and make a conscious effort to shift a portion of their normal spending to locally owned businesses.
It won’t take long before you find yourself looking for the independent businesses that make our community truly unique. You’ll be amazed at the resources you find.
Partner with RMA to enhance your visibility and to preserve the life, vitality, and uniqueness of our community.
Debbie Montgomery – Managing Director
A native of Virginia, Debbie Montgomery has lived in Lynchburg for over 30 years and has been involved with the Retail Merchants Association (RMA) of Lynchburg since October 2006. She has been a great asset to this organization and was instrumental in revitalizing this well-known trade association with improvements in technology, office automation and current membership services beneficial to the business community.
In January 2014, Debbie started her own company, Offsite Office Essentials, LLC, in which she offers administrative and management services to other companies and non-profits. She is currently working part-time with RMA, managing the business of the organization through her own company, while also devoting time to other clients.
Prior to providing management services to RMA, for 9 years Debbie served as the Executive Director for both the Association and the Retail Merchants Foundation, a 501(c)3 Charitable Foundation. She continues to bring not only professionalism but compassion to both branches. Formerly the Director of Administration for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Central Virginia for nine years, she is well aware of the needs of the non-profit organizations that our foundation has served over the years.
Heather Alto – Director of Marketing and Membership
Effective January 2, 2018, Heather Also became the Director of Marketing & Membership, coming to RMA with over 9 years of experience working in the Membership Development and Marketing fields. She worked for 5 years as the Director of Membership and Marketing for the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, and most recently worked as an Account Executive for Vista Graphics handling a number of publications throughout our region.
Heather, having served as a GEMS (Volunteer) Team member, comes to use extremely knowledgeable about the organization and our mission. She is committed to helping you build and grow relationships with other local businesses and consumers in our region through networking and other opportunities to connect.
Heather resides in Bedford County with her husband of 12 years Christopher Alto and has 3 children; Autumn, Hunter, and Ryleigh, and has recently acquired a new Hound puppy named Maddie. Heather is President of the Sports Booster program at her children’s high school and loves sports of any kind. She is a huge UVA Fan and loves to read and cook.
RMA Board of Directors
Marc A. Schewel
Rayner V. Snead
David M. Somers
W. Bradley Weaver
Owner of Western Ways, Pet Craze and Ladies Lovin Life