Regional Small Business of the Year is The Dirty Buffalo of Norfolk! The Hampton Roads Chamber presents this annual award based upon judges votes after an in-depth application process. Russell Gilbert, owner of the Dirty Buffalo thanked his team for their relentless efforts to run a restaurant. “The whole thing has been a learning experience, we teach each other and we are a family who push each other every day,” said Gilbert. The judges chose The Dirty Buffalo as the overall winner out of seven exceptional businesses throughout the region because of their controlled growth in the unstable restaurant market.
Small businesses are hugely responsible for the economic success and community inclusiveness that defines Hampton Roads. The judges noted that through cultivating a bustling business environment since 2012, The Dirty Buffalo has proven itself a pillar in the community and serves as a perfect example of the Small Business of the Year Award winner. The company plans to open its third location this year and will continue to locally distribute their products, including their delicious sauces.
Individual city winners were announced to the community in mid-March and highlighted again during the ceremony with short videos about each business. The Virginia Beach Small Business of the Year is The Language Group. The video displayed a diverse group of multilanguage speaking individuals that make up the Language Group, which services the community in communication.
RFK Solutionz Corporation is the Small Business of the Year Award winner for Chesapeake. The video highlighted the past year for RFK and the creation of the Cyber Academy, which will teach and equip students and children with cyber tools at an early age.
Portsmouth Small Business of the Year winner is Special Events Virginia. Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe awarded the accomplishment to Special Events Virginia during the ceremony. The video outlined the growth of the company and the large-scale events that happen thanks to the attention to detail from the business. The 31-year-old entrepreneur has found a way to make a seasonal business thrive year-round. Watch the video here.
Relay Electric, LLC. won the Small Business of the Year for Suffolk. The video showed the business’s dedication to involving family in the company while tirelessly servicing the community. One of the ways Relay Electric services the community is by encouraging the hiring of homeless veterans and imploring other companies to do the same.
In Western Hampton Roads, Highground Services, Inc. won Small Business of the Year. Franklin Mayor Frank Rabil presented the award to Highground Services, Inc. The video gave an overview of the large variety of services that are provided from the business as well as highlighted their overall growth over the past few years. The business grew out of a group of former International Paper employees coming together.
Representing the Peninsula, Total Hardware won Small Business of the Year. The video outlined the importance of working on managed growth within a business in order to deliver quality products and exceptional customer service. Their niche business is doors.
The Hampton Roads Chamber awarded the 2019 Leadership Award to Suzy Kelly CEO of Jo-Kell Inc. Kelly received this award for her dedicated leadership qualities and community involvement while simultaneously running a successful woman-owned small business.
The 2019 Entrepreneur Award was presented to Dr. Johnny Garcia, CEO, SimIS Inc. for continuing to create and encourage small businesses during this past year after winning Small Business of the year in 2018. Garcia reiterated that entrepreneurs drive our economy and country. He left the audience with a chance to consider the employment and housing status of veterans and encouraged woman’s equality in the workplace.
The 2019 Top To Watch Awards went to three deserving businesses, Kinship Vacations LLC, Medical Aesthetics of Virginia, and Prime 3 Software. The Top to Watch awards highlight and encompass companies that have been in operation for less than three years. Each company was recognized for their growth, accomplishments, and establishing successful businesses in our region. The winners of the 2019 Top to Watch Awards were decided by community voters and the judging panel.
The Hampton Roads Chamber eagerly anticipates the Small Business of the Year Awards to commemorate the dedication it takes to run a small business and celebrate the companies that help the region thrive. The award ceremony serves as a faultless source of reinforcement of the Chamber’s ideals to be an Inspiring Ignitor, Powerful Economic Partner and Impactful Advocate throughout the community, which would not be possible without the accomplishments of our small businesses.
Thank you to our sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Southern Bank, Workforce Development Sponsor: Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Media Sponsor: Inside Business, Emcee Sponsor: Music Makes You Happy Entertainment, Video Production Sponsor: Neptune Video Creations, Award Sponsor: G&W Gifts and Awards of Distinction, Legacy Sponsor: Electronic Systems Inc., Sign Sponsor: SpeedPro Imaging, AV Sponsor: Productive AV, Host Sponsor: Chesapeake Conference Center.