Rita Williams Honored by Professional Women in Building as ‘Woman of the Year’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Anyone who knows Rita Williams, founder and owner of Merchandising Plus, will never describe her as “speechless.”

But that is exactly what she was after being named “Woman of the Year” by Professional Women in Building during the Laurel Awards, sponsored by the Sales and Marketing Council (SMC) of the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA).

“Not expecting it at all. I was deeply moved and honored to be recognized by my peers, clients and members of the SMC,” said Williams. who works with builders and developers to create a one-of a kind WOW factor for their new homes and communities.

She’s is use to accolades and honors for her work and her role in the building industry. Williams was inducted into the Florida Housing Hall of Fame in 2003. She is a member, past senior officer and Life director of NEFBA and Florida Home Builders Association.

Merchandising Plus has showcased their creativity for clients by being honored multiple times during the design portion of the EXCEL and AURORA Awards in the interior merchandising categories at the Southeast Building Conference.
Since 2000 Merchandising Plus has been honored with over 160 industry design awards including Laurel, the Nationals and Best American Living Award recognition.

Merchandising Plus is a nationally acclaimed design firm that specializes in designing distinctive environments for builders, developers and owners.

“As a personal note of deep appreciation and respect for what Rita has done for NEFBA, and the interior design industry in Northeast Florida. I am always happy for her to be recognized by her peers because I know just what she means to all of us personally, and professionally. She is true industry royalty and we love her,” added NEFBA Executive Director Bill Garrison.

Working throughout the United States, Merchandising Plus takes a comprehensive approach to interior products, merchandising and properties.

“It’s signature Rita Williams when residents look at a game room, clubhouse or other amenity and they feel at home,” added Joe Passkiewicz, senior vice president of development, LandSouth Construction.

Williams grew up in Jacksonville, the daughter of a concrete contractor, and graduated from Landon High School. She got a degree from business school and worked part time in retail merchandising.

Like so many of today’s building industry movers and shakers, she started her full-time career with legendary Jacksonville developer Chester Stokes.

Her firm continues to create spaces that are visually appealing, timeless in design, functional and memorable for builders and developers to welcome all that enter.

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