A local store has been named Independent Small Business of the Year in a nationwide contest, and a local shelter for women and children will benefit as a result.
A. Dodson’s, a clothing, home decor and gift store based in Suffolk with locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, won the competition from Independent We Stand, an initiative sponsored by STIHL and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The program is intended to educate consumers and businesses about the economic benefits of shopping local.
Finalists in the contest were chosen by online voting. During that process, A. Dodson’s owner Alison Dodson Anderson promoted her nomination by promising to donate the contest’s $5,000 cash prize to a charity selected by her customers. They chose the H.E.R. Shelter, a Portsmouth shelter that serves women and children dealing with domestic violence and homelessness.
A. Dodson’s will present its $5,000 contest check to the shelter on Monday at the store’s Norfolk location, according to a release.
Anderson didn’t stop there with her giving. She also will donate the “small business web starter package” that came with her award to a co-finalist in the competition: Coco’s Cottage, a women’s clothing store from Jasper, Ga.
“Giving back to the community is phenomenal,” Anderson said in a release. “But to inspire other small businesses is an even greater joy and Independent We Stand has given us a platform to do that. It’s about taking less and giving more. That’s been our motto for a while now, and it’s how we’re helping to change the face of retail.”
After online votes selected the finalists, a panel of judges selected the winner.
Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand, said in a release that A. Dodson’s stood out with its mission to serve their customers and their community by giving shoppers a way to pay-it-forward through their “Round Up” program. The program lets customers round up their totals at checkout for a charity, the company matches the donation, and then customers vote monthly on what organization to help with the money.