Salon, jeweler vie for award

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

D.B. Bowles Jewelers is in the running for the Retailer of the Year award from the Retail Alliance.

Two Suffolk businesses are in the running for Retailer of the Year, an award given annually by the Retail Alliance.

Array 700 and D.B. Bowles Jewelers have been nominated in the Portsmouth/Suffolk category. They will compete against each other and several Portsmouth businesses for the award. The winner then will compete against other winners in the region for the region-wide award.

The Retailer of the Year awards presentation will be held Saturday in Norfolk.

Array 700 was nominated for the Retailer of the Year award.

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Dawn White, owner of Array 700, said she was proud to be nominated. The salon operates in the same building where her mother’s salon, The Lion and Lioness, was located for 39 years.

“It’s like I’ve come back home,” White said. Her mother eventually sold the business but still owns the building, which sat vacant for about a year until White decided to open Array 700.

She had gone to school for merchandising but could not find a job in her field locally.

“I never thought about doing this,” she said. “This was Mom’s business. I didn’t hate it; it was just what she did, not what I did.”

But on Jan. 1, 2010, she decided to open Array 700. After less than three months of preparation, it opened on March 23.

The business offers hair, nail and massage services and also holds a small gift shop.

Across town, Bruce Bowles, owner of D.B. Bowles Jewelers, said he believes he was nominated because of his community involvement.

“I’m big on community,” he said. “We help out a whole lot of charities around town, everything from Relay for Life to Mutt Strut.”
The jewelry business started out as a hobby for Bowles, who was — and still is — a registered nurse. But it turned into a business in 1991, and he opened the brick-and-mortar store in 1994.

“We try to offer an honest, quality service, and we’ve managed to continue well in the economy,” Bowles said.

The business has adjusted in the midst of the depressed economy to offer more affordable products, as well as engraving services so patrons can customize their gifts.

“We’ve maintained, and we’ve made changes,” Bowles said.

Nominees for the award must show excellence in creativity, business acumen, retail success and ability to thrive in any economy. Judges make their selection based on business growth, community involvement, financial stability and other factors.

For more information, visit www.retail-alliance.com.