A fine example of generosity

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ever since the first location of the boutique retailer A. Dodson’s opened on Bridge Road in North Suffolk, the business has steadily gained a devoted following of folks looking for unusual items, eclectic artwork and fine women’s fashions.

But the company’s success — it now boasts locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, along with the flagship Suffolk store — owes as much to its owner’s pay-it-forward philosophy as it does to product selection.

A great example of that philosophy is the “Round Up” program that has resulted in thousands of dollars in donations to various nonprofit organizations since A. Dodson’s began it several years ago. Each month, employees choose a different beneficiary, and customers are encouraged to round up their bills at the cash register. Then, at the end of the month, the company matches its customers’ contributions and cuts a check for the selected nonprofit organization.

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Owner Alison Dodson took her philosophy a big step further this month, with her commitment to donate a $5,000 cash prize from Independent We Stand to the Help & Emergency Response Shelter in Portsmouth. The contribution, subsequently matched by Elizabeth River Crossings, will allow the HER Shelter, which provides housing for women and children who are homeless or victims of domestic abuse, to finally complete its plans to open a new shelter in Chesapeake.

Dodson had used her powerful social media presence to drum up votes in the online contest for the 2015 Independent Small Business of the Year Award and to solicit suggestions for a worthy cause to support if her business won the award.

Recognizing that her business’s online presence was already strong, Dodson also donated a $5,000 website development package that she won as part of the award, giving it to a Georgia boutique, Coco’s Cottage, one of the other semifinalists in the Indie Award competition.

In this season of giving, Dodson sets a fine example of generosity for businesses large and small.