Thursday, May 30, 2019, Norfolk, VA – Retail Alliance announced the winners for this year’s Retailer of the Year Awards (ROTYs) at their celebration on Thursday, May 30 at NOAH’s Event Venue in Chesapeake.

“Retailer of the Year is our annual awards event that celebrates the retail industry in Hampton Roads,” said Kylie Ross Sibert, VP of Communications at Retail Alliance. “As a retail merchants association, we understand the struggles of small businesses, in particular, retailers.

This event gives us a chance to recognize and congratulate those who are demonstrating the passion to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of retail. And when we define retail, that could mean any business that is the last hand-off of any product or service to the end user.”

“The overall winner for ROTY 2019 is a title for the best in retail in Hampton Roads,” Ross Sibert continued. “We are thrilled Gloucester’s Kelsick Specialty Market earned the title for this year. The decision was based on independent judging of their superior customer service and visual merchandising, as well as inviting aesthetics, product knowledge, cleanliness and neatness of store, signage, and more.”

[Previous winners of the Overall Retailer of the Year award are: 2018: Curvaceous Boutique; 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]

This year 12 awards were given out over the course of the evening. The Retail and Service nominees were thoroughly and diligently reviewed by impartial judges. Winners were chosen based on scores from independent mystery shops (both in-person and digital) that judged on specific criteria including web presence, consumer reviews, signage, customer service, product knowledge, visual merchandising, community involvement, overall customer experience, aesthetics, etc.

Restaurant nominees were voted on by consumers during March and April, 2019 (1 vote per IP address). The LOVEVA Buy Local award is also a consumer voted award. They vote for their favorite local businesses listed on the LOVEVA app – the free app rewards consumer for shopping at local businesses.

Winners for 2019 are as follows:

Kelsick Specialty Market Overall Retailer of the Year Award Winner (the winner is the highest scorer from retail category  across the region)
Hummingbird Macarons Restaurant Award Winner – Southside
Alkaline Restaurant Award Winner – Up & Comer
Viking Burger Restaurant Award Winner – Peninsula
Mom & Me Boutique Retail Award Winner – Southside
Hickory Trading Company Retail Award Winner – Up & Comer
Smith’s Florist & Gift Shoppe Retail Award Winner – Peninsula
East Beach Urgent Care Service Award Winner – Up & Comer
Beach Gold Assay Service Award Winner – Southside
Williamsburg Salt Spa Service Award Winner – Peninsula
Perfectly Natural Soap LOVEVA* Award Winner
Norma Dorey (Changes City Spa/Jake’s Place) Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Click here to view the ROTY photos!

Meet the winners!

Kelsick Specialty Market

For more than two decades, Kelsick Specialty Market on Main Street in the Gloucester Village area has been Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck connection to fine wines, gourmet foods, elegant gifts and wonderful meals. Kelsick Specialty Market is an independent retailer offering a wide variety of gourmet products and ingredients, kitchen accessories and prepared foods.

Hummingbird Macarons

Hummingbird Macarons is a boutique bakery and dessert caterer located in Norfolk. To create sweet treats for life’s magnificent occasions, everything is made from scratch with the finest quality and organic ingredients.


Alkaline began their journey back in 2013 as a tiny pop-up restaurant. Within four months of inception, Alkaline was listed as top four ramen spot in Hampton Roads from The Virginian Pilot. In 2014, they graduated to a brick and mortar location in Norfolk. Alkaline has always been and will continue to be community minded.

Viking Burger

Located in Newport News, Viking Burger was established in 2014 and is the culmination of experience, life lessons, and love of burgers! As stated in one of their customer reviews, they have the best customer service, the best burger, the best fry, the best staff and the best customers.

Mom & Me Boutique

Mom & Me Boutique is the one stop shop for maternity and baby needs, located in Hilltop Shopping Center in Virginia Beach. It is designed to create an unforgettable pregnancy experience by providing products and services that are high-quality and uniquely crafted for parents and their little one.

Hickory Trading Company

Hickory Trading Company is a beautiful, rustic, artisan gift and coffee house located in the heart of Great Bridge in Chesapeake. Their mission is to support their non-profit, The Hitching Post Educational Center that serves those with special needs. The older students job coach and learn life skills by working in Hickory Trading Company alongside specially trained job coaches and educators.

Smith’s Florist & Gift Shoppe

Smith’s Florist & Gift Shoppe is family owned and operated and has been proudly serving Gloucester since 1964. They are committed to offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, backed by professional service that is friendly and prompt.

East Beach Urgent Care

East Beach Urgent Care, located in Norfolk’s Ocean View, is a new concept designed to be Virginia’s premier Urgent Care Center, offering ambulatory acute and urgent medical care. They provide an extensive array of general medical services in addition to occupational/industrial health care services. ​

Beach Gold Assay

Beach Gold Assay in Virginia Beach provides an experience like no other when it comes to buying and selling precious metal items such as jewelry, coins, and bullion. This husband and wife team educates customers to make informed decisions and to only sell when ready. Customer service and satisfaction is their primary goal.

Williamsburg Salt Spa

Williamsburg Salt Spa is extremely unique in both the services they provide and the customer service experienced during every interaction. Their philosophy begins and ends with salt. Their “salty” journey began in 2008, when they drew on their Polish heritage to build a one-of-a-kind salt spa, the first on the East Coast.

Perfectly Natural Soap

Perfectly Natural Soap started as a hobby but became a business in 2013 with their first retail location opening in Smithfield in 2016, followed by Williamsburg in 2018. Their journey began by trying to create safer, more natural products to use on their childrens’ skin and has grown into the development of a variety of skincare products.

Norma Dorey (Changes City Spa / Jake’s Place)

Norma Dorey was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019. Norma Dorey has been a local entrepreneur for more than three decades. She employs a staff of 65-70 people at Changes City Spa, and Jake’s Place, all located in the heart of Ghent in Norfolk.

Norma encapsulates all the elements that Retail Alliance looks for in their Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Norma’s dedication and loyalty to her business, her staff, her guests, and the community are just a few of the reasons she deserved this award. She is a strong advocate for the community and local businesses. She has served on several local boards and received numerous awards through the years, always believing her purpose in life was to serve others and to give back to those who shared their knowledge with her.

Changes City Spa has enjoyed an amazing 30+ years thanks to loyal guests and community support. City Spa evolved from a children’s salon to a full-service hair salon serving the needs of the entire family.  In 2001, Changes celebrated the addition of City Spa, which offers guests an hourly retreat or a daycation. Jake’s Place is a Men’s Barbering Lounge and Spa catering exclusively to gentlemen. Jake’s Place offers a private setting for complete men’s salon and spa services, including barbering and grooming, hand and foot detailing, skin treatments, and massage. Jake’s Place is equipped with locker rooms, steam room and private grooming booths.
Complimentary healthy snacks and beverages are always available and customers can sit back and enjoy football or ESPN on their 42″ plasma TV screen.


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 to recognize and congratulate those who have demonstrated the passion to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of retail and who have experienced success in doing so.