The Retail Alliance recognized the region’s Retailer of the Year honorees at the Virginia Air & Space Science Center in Hampton on Sept. 22.
Village Bicycles in Newport News received the nonprofit trade association’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, in its 10th year, recognizes one retailer in Hampton Roads for its passion for customers, level of service, longevity, financial success and community service.
Village Bicycles owner Walt Gardner has a long history with the brand and the bike industry. He has been a driving force of the business’ endurance and success, Retail Alliance President and CEO Ray Mattes said.
“The part I really enjoy about the job is the people,” Gardner said. “You never know who you’re going to meet. I’m focused on the customers and making sure I’ve got the parts to repair the bikes. Every day is a new experience for me. And being a people person, the people that I meet most of the times, they start out as customers and become longtime friends.”
When it comes to giving back to the community, Village Bicycles is involved with local racing clubs, sponsoring races. The business also works with the Oyster Point Rotary Club on a charity every year where it gives away about 100 to 150 bikes at Christmas through the housing authority.
“Winning this award is a little overwhelming, in all honesty,” Gardner said. “I mean, it’s not something that I ever thought would happen in my lifetime. I’ve certainly tried to do the best job that I can be in a local neighborhood bike shop. So, being rewarded for something that you love to do is pretty awesome.”
The other Excellence in Retail Award winners are:
Retailer of the Year: Nothing Bundt Cakes, Newport News
Food and beverage: Alkalicious Cold Pressed Juice Bar, Chesapeake; The Virginia Beer Co., Williamsburg
Services and entertainment: Norfolk Tides; Langley Federal Credit Union, Newport News headquarters
Retail stores: McDonald Garden Center, Virginia Beach; Ace Peninsula Hardware, Peninsula
Rising stars: COVA Brewing Co., Norfolk; Ax Republic, New Town/James City County
The Peer Choice Award winners are:
Automotive: Eggleston Automotive Center, Norfolk; Dodd RV of the Peninsula, York County
Beverages: The Virginia Beer Co.; Alkalicious Cold Pressed Juice Bar; Cure Coffeehouse, Norfolk/Newport News/Smithfield/Portsmouth
Clothing/accessories: Philip Michael Fashion for Men; Once Upon a Child, Newport News
Entertainment/recreation: Norfolk Tides, Ax Republic, Jersey’s Cards & Comics, Village Bicycles
Financial services: TowneBank, Suffolk headquarters; Langley Federal Credit Union
Gifts and goods: Pawsnickety Pets, Norfolk; The Christmas Store, Smithfield
Business news for the Hampton Roads region
Health, fitness, personal care: Lackey Clinic, York County; Changes City Spa, Norfolk; Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios, Virginia Beach/Norfolk
Home and Garden: McDonald Garden Center; Ace Peninsula Hardware
Marketing and media: Cheryl Tan Media; Image360 Newport News
Nonprofit and business organizations: The King’s Daughters; Peninsula Women’s Network; York County Chamber of Commerce
Professional and other services: Eggleston Document Destruction and Conversion, Norfolk; Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home, Hampton
Real estate: Re/Max Alliance, South Hampton Roads; Bell Tower Real Estate Team, Peninsula
Restaurants and food: Nothing Bundt Cakes, Newport News; Taste