Two Hampton Roads businesses are among 25 quarterfinalists from across the country vying for online votes to win the title of Independent Small Business of the Year.
The contest is from Independent We Stand, an initiative founded by STIHL to educate consumers about the economic benefits of shopping local and to inspire locally owned businesses to promote themselves as such, said Tara Mazzarella, an account coordinator for the program.
STIHL, which is based in Virginia Beach, has an interest in promoting locally owned businesses because it distributes its products only through independent servicing dealers. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is a cosponsor of Independent We Stand.
The Independent Small Business of the Year contest began in 2011 and drew 315 nominations this year. Online voting through Dec. 13 will determine which 10 of the current crop of 25 quarterfinalists will move on to a panel of judges. That panel will look at the stories of the businesses from their nomination page, community support and customer service to determine a grand prize winner, Mazzarella said.
Prizes include $5,000, a certificate for $1,000 worth of STIHL equipment and a new website. The winner will be announced Dec. 16.