And the 2015 Independent Small Business of the Year is...

And the 2015 Independent Small Business of the Year is...

Your votes helped select A. Dodson’s as the recipient of the 2015 Independent We Stand, Independent Small Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by STIHL Inc and FCA US LLC. A. Dodson’s, is an apparel, home decor and gift shop, with locations in Suffolk, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va. Daily, the staff at the independently-owned shops provide customers with personal shoppers to help fill their clothing, décor and gifting needs. They also make philanthropy an integral part of their sales model to make an impact in the community.

From September to December, local communities, from towns across the country, came together to nominate and vote for their favorite businesses. “The excitement and community support across the country was unmatched once again during this year’s nomination and voting phases,” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “A. Dodson’s rose to the top with a mission to serve their customers and their community by providing a way for shoppers to pay-it-forward with each purchase through their "Round Up" program. The program allows customers to round up their totals at checkout for charity, the company then matches the donation. They also let their customers vote monthly on what organization benefits from the round up.”

Owner Alison Dodson Anderson took her giving approach a step further by promoting A. Dodson’s Indie Award nomination on Facebook and promising a donation of the cash prize winnings to the charity of her customers’ choice. After the vote tally, H.E.R. Shelter was the clear winner. The private, non-profit shelter provides resources to women and children dealing with domestic violence and homelessness.

A. Dodson’s is also a mentor and supporter of other small businesses and prides itself on drawing attention to some of its favorites through a “Small Business Spotlight” on its Facebook page and website. As an extension of that, A. Dodson’s is donating even more of its Indie Award winnings to another top ten finalist, Coco’s Cottage, giving the specialty women’s clothing store the “Small Business Web Starter Package.”

“Giving back to the community is phenomenal,” said Anderson. “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.”

As the 2015 Independent Small Business of the Year, A. Dodson’s will receive prizes with a combined value of more than $10,000. Prizes include a $5,000 check, to be donated to H.E.R Shelter, a $1,000 STIHL equipment certificate, redeemable at more than 9,000 independent servicing dealers nationwide, a “Small Business Web Starter Package,” from independent web design firm The Meridian Group, to be gifted to fellow semifinalist: CoCo's Cottage, and a three day/two night stay at an independent beach resort hotel in Virginia Beach Va. The Indie Award winner will also receive a plaque to display at their business; as well as, public relations and social media recognition.

The 10 submissions that received the highest number of public votes online were deemed finalists. The winner of “The Indie” was chosen by a panel of contest judges.

Both the quarter and semi-finalists for this year’s Indie Award will each receive an Independent We Stand Premium Membership.

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