Retail Alliance Announces 2018 Retailer of the Year Winners

Curvaceous Boutique in Norfolk wins Overall Retailer of the Year

Retail Alliance announced the winners for this year’s Retailer of the Year Awards (ROTYs) at their awards celebration on Thursday night (May 24) at Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton.

Established in 2007, Norfolk-based small business, Curvaceous Boutique, received the Overall Retailer of the Year award. They were selected from 157 nominees from across the Greater Hampton Roads region.

“The Overall winner for ROTY 2018 is judged the best in retail in Hampton Roads,” said Raymond J. Mattes III, President/CEO of Retail Alliance. “Curvaceous Boutique earned the title based on superior customer service and visual merchandising, as well as inviting aesthetics, knowledge of products, cleanliness and neatness of store, and more.”

Originally, Cassandra Savage Ellis opened Curvaceous Boutique in 2007 on Newtown Rd in Virginia Beach but since moved to N. Military Hwy in Norfolk. Curvaceous Boutique offers plus size trendy clothing for curvy women. It is a source for unique and head turning fashions and concentrates on women’s wear sizes 12-24.

Back in 2012, the Pilot ran a Retailer Highlight article about Curvaceous Boutique, and asked Cassandra what she wanted her future customers to know about her or her boutique.  She answered: “All curvy women need to know that they can be confident, curvy and fabulous. You should not allow your size to limit you. I always tell my customers don’t focus on the size you wear but instead how you look and feel in your body. To me it’s not just about the sales, but it’s about making sure my customers feel beautiful in their skin.”

[Editor’s Reference:]

[Previous winners of the Overall Retailer of the Year award are: 2017: BedCrafters by Michelle; 2016: Yolanda’s; 2015: Fairfield Flowers; 2014: Serendip; 2013: Simply Selma’s; 2012: Carolina Cupcakery; 2011: Green Gates Gifts; 2010: The Royal Chocolate; 2009: Taste; 2008: Rowena’s]

In 2018, 12 awards were given out over the course of the evening. The winners were chosen based on specific criteria such as web presence and consumer reviews, signage, customer service, visual merchandising, community involvement, etc.  

All retail and service nominees were thoroughly and diligently reviewed by impartial judges. Restaurant and LOVEVA winners were voted online by consumers from January through April.


Curvaceous Boutique                            Overall Retailer of the Year Award Winner

Willis Furniture                                       Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Cafe Europa                                             Restaurant Award Winner – Southside

757 Poke’                                                  Restaurant Award Winner – Up & Comer

Scratch Bakery                                        Restaurant Award Winner – Peninsula

Tidewater Diamond                               Retail Award Winner – Southside

Great Outdoor Provision Co.               Retail Award Winner – Up & Comer

Yolanda’s                                                 Retail Award Winner – Peninsula

Escape Room                                          Service Award Winner – Up & Comer

TechArk Solutions, LLC                        Service Award Winner – Southside

Chase Roofing, LLC                               Service Award Winner – Peninsula

The Royal Chocolate                              LOVEVA* Award Winner

*Consumers vote for their favorite local business listed on the LOVEVA app – the free app rewards consumers for shopping at local businesses.

About Retail Alliance

Retail Alliance is a non-profit trade association serving the interests of local retailers in Hampton Roads. The organization promotes and supports the healthy growth of retail businesses and trade through education, networking, advocacy, discounts, local first program, and other benefits.

About Retailer of the Year

The Retailer of the Year special annual event is a celebration of the retail industry in Hampton Roads. It is an event we recognize and congratulate those who have demonstrated the passion to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of retail.