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Dallas Market Center announces The Next Big Give winners

A. Dodson's and Brookshire's Food & Pharmacy honored

Dallas Market Center has announced the two winners of its The Next Big Give competition, a national search for specialty retailers that give back to their communities: A. Dodson's, an apparel, gift and home décor store located in Suffolk, Va., and Brookshire's Food & Pharmacy located in Tyler, Texas.

The winners were selected from more than 50 retailers that are involved in their communities through volunteering, raising funds or donating goods.

"Congratulations to The Next Big Give winners," said Bill Winsor, president and CEO, Dallas Market Center. "Both winners are great examples of how retailers can give back in big and small ways. Their work is truly inspiring."

A. Dodson's Owner Alison Dodson Anderson learned the spirit of giving directly from her parents. During her childhood, Alison's father, a local dentist in her hometown, often exchanged his services with patients who could only afford to pay him with a livestock chicken or free yard work. Spurred by the pride and appreciation for her father's generosity, Alison began giving back through her store immediately following its opening seven years ago. A. Dodson's supports numerous causes including blood drives and toy and school supply drives, also donating $12,000 to Taylor Bend YMCA to assist in building a new facility.

Even after giving back in a variety of ways, Alison wanted a means to focus her store's giving efforts. Her search led to the development of The A. Dodson's Round Up, a program allowing customers to round up the cost of each purchase to the nearest dollar and have the extra cents donated to charity. A. Dodson's publishes a poll on its Facebook page in order for customers to choose the cause the Round Up funds will be donated to at the end of each month. Charities can easily apply by simply emailing their name, contact information, and confirmation of their 501c3 status to roundup@adodsons.com. In 2011, A. Dodson's gave more than $2,500 to various charity organizations.

"This January we were able to donate hundreds of dollars to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund through The A. Dodson's Round Up," said Kim Glover, director of marketing, A. Dodson's. "Through the program, we are able to donate to charities near and dear to our hearts as well as expose our customers to organizations that they in turn volunteer for. It's incredibly rewarding."

Originally operating under the name "Brookshire Brothers," Brookshire's Food & Pharmacy was founded in 1928 by Wood T. Brookshire in Tyler, Texas. Since its inception, Brookshire's has grown to 150 stores spanning three states - Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Wood founded the company with a foremost concern for the well-being of others, which continues to influence the company today.

Brookshire's has been giving back to the communities in which it operates since its founding. In 2008, the Community Connections program was founded to enable Brookshire's employees to assist with the causes important to each store's local community. Employees form teams by store or non-retail department and gather to volunteer an average of four times per year with the cause of their choice.

Last year, Brookshire's donated more than 28,000 documented volunteer hours and more than $1.5 million to various charitable causes. One notable effort was its World War II Heroes Flight in May 2011 in which Brookshire's sent 33 World War II veterans to Washington, District of Columbia - with all expenses paid - where they visited several war memorials and the U.S. Capitol building.

"Giving back is an important part of our company culture and something we expect to continue," said Sam Anderson, community involvement manager, Brookshire's Food & Pharmacy. "We believe it's important to support the communities that support us. Being actively involved in the schools and other aspects of the community helps us to stay in touch with our customers and be better prepared to serve their wants and needs. But, most importantly, helping others is the right thing to do."

After receiving more than 50 applications, the entries were narrowed down to 10 finalists and then two winners by a panel of industry experts and Dallas Market Center representatives. The winners will receive a complimentary trip to the March 22-25, 2012 Dallas market including round-trip airfare and a three-night hotel stay.

While at market, The Next Big Give winners will be recognized on Thursday, March 22 during The Inspired Event, a cocktail party benefiting charitable causes.

For additional information on the contest visit www.dallasmarketcenter.com/contests/give or email thenextbiggive@mcmcmail.com.

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