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Dallas names finalists for The Next Big Give

DALLAS - Dallas Market Center has announced the 10 finalists for The Next Big Give contest, a third annual national search for specialty retailers that make a difference in their communities through volunteering, raising funds or donating goods. The 10 finalists were previously announced during a filmed video broadcast.

The Next Big Give 2013 finalists are:

Best Buddies Dog Boutique and Bakery - St. Pete Beach, Fla.

With the belief of reinforcing the bond between human and dog, Alan Ronay of Best Buddies focuses on the positive things that bring people and dogs together. The boutique works with local pet shelters to raise awareness of the many neglected pets that desperately need homes, as well as donating food to the shelters and spreading awareness about their good work. The store also gives a free bag of premium pet food to all adopted pets to help get them started on the right "paw" to good health. Most recently, Best Buddies also participated in an event that paired war vets with shelter dogs.

C and J's Gifts and Home Décor - Jacksonville, Ark.

Carletta Wilson and her family always had a love for rescue dogs. After her daughter suggested the store help the local animal shelter, C and J's decided to hold an annual "Canine Cutie Pageant," collaborating with the Jacksonville Animal Shelter, Community Center and Chamber of Commerce. Every dog wins a participation prize and is judged on best stage personality, most likely to be cuddled, prettiest hair, most photogenic, best smile, cutest eyes and best attire. Shelter dogs are paraded for the audience to view and adopt, and the shelter receives the proceeds from the event.

Calico Cat - Greenville, Texas

Calico Cat's owner, Janeen Cunningham, has led countless charity efforts through her gift and apparel store the past 40 years. Bras for the Cause (BFTC) is the most remarkable of its recent projects, inspired by the idea of decorated bras raising money for breast cancer causes. Anyone can enter a bra, and after decorating, they're displayed along a three-block area in downtown Greenville for one October night. The public is invited to purchase a ballot to cast votes on their favorites. More than $125,000 has been raised in just four events since its inception. The proceeds of BFTC benefit a local hospital to establish a program providing wigs, mastectomy bras, prostheses, compression garments and other necessities for cancer patients unable to afford them.

Dedrick's Pharmacy & Gifts - New Paltz, N.Y.

Michelle Harris of Dedrick's believes in the foundation and partnership between a community and a small business, and that giving back to its community is natural. The pharmacy and gift store gives away approximately $12,000 each year to charity in addition to staff volunteer work. A recent event included partnering with a locally-based community organization, "Family of Woodstock" to supply cleaning supplies, bedding, new toys, new coats, clothing and jewelry for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The pharmacy inspired its customers to drop off new merchandise for the women and children in need, and in turn, they received a discount off of a purchase of their choice.

Holiday Divine - Tualatin, Ore.

Noticing a need to cheer the spirits of the residents at a local nursing home, Matthew Preston and the staff at the holiday and gift store decided to design, purchase and decorate several full-size Christmas trees at nursing homes in the Northwest. Each year, an event is made of the decorating complete with cookies, apple cider, music and even teaching the residents new crafts and techniques. The residents look forward to it as the holiday season draws near each year.

Journeys of Life - Pittsburgh, Pa.

The mission of Journeys of Life for the past 23 years has been to serve people on their journey - where they have been, where they are, and where they would like to go. Because of this mission, owner Jean Haller and her store have participated in countless efforts benefiting the community. In 2011, a fire destroyed Journeys' entire inventory. The community rallied and helped reopen the store through vendors sending product, neighbors pricing merchandise and volunteers coming to help bring the store back from the ashes. Although the store and its contents were declared a total loss, Jean approached the insurance company and gave the customers the opportunity to purchase the almost destroyed treasures with a reduced rate with all proceeds benefiting charities. In one week, the Fire Fund earnings were $3,500; each day benefited a different local charity. The Fire Fund sales continue with more than $8,000 raised to date.

Leon & Lulu - Clawson, Mich.

Mary Liz Curtin holds true to a community-focused marketing plan in her furniture, gifts and accessories store, which includes more than 60 charity events annually. One of many events includes the store hosting local artists and crafts people for a two-day market to introduce the community to a range of exceptional handcrafted items made in Michigan. The event benefits Cass Community Social Services, a Detroit agency committed to fighting poverty and creating opportunities by providing food, medical, mental health, vocational, youth and homeless services. Other events throughout the year promote literacy, donating blood, diabetes and breast cancer.

LoveShopGive - Tustin, Calif.

LoveShopGive is a family philanthropic business that was designed to give back to the community. By partnering with local, national and international nonprofits, as well as socially responsible brands, LoveShopGive gives 20 percent of all sales to the charity of the buyer's choice, and shares the brand and charity stories that help consumers make an educated "Purchase with a Purpose." The store works alongside its charitable partners to create online and in-store events where they can share with supporters how to get involved, volunteer opportunities and other charitable news. By connecting consumers with the brands and charities that are creating positive change in the world, LoveShopGive believes it's creating good they call, "Full Circle Giving."

Stanley Korshak - Dallas

As an independent Dallas business owner, giving back to the community has always been a top priority for Stanley Korshak owner Crawford Brock. For more than 25 years, Brock has been instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for numerous charities at both the local and national level including the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Texas Ballet Theater, Crystal Charity, Jewel Charity, The Suicide and Crisis Center of Dallas and many more. He implemented a "Random Acts of Kindness" program to commemorate the store's 25th anniversary, initiating a series of activities with the employees including: greeting U.S. troops returning home from war, delivering cookies to fire houses on Sept. 11, serving ice cream sundaes to Ronald McDonald families, creating Easter baskets for Community Partners of Dallas, sponsoring a Salvation Army Angel Tree and hosting a canned food drive for The North Texas Food Bank.

The Kitchen Store - Conway, Ark.

Mike Smyers, the late owner of The Kitchen Store, had the idea to help families through the perinatal loss grieving process after his daughter and her husband suffered a miscarriage. Mike and his wife, Jeanne helped to establish and became the primary business supporter of the Perinatal Bereavement Program at Conway Regional Medical Center, which offers support services to families who have experienced the perinatal loss of a child. Each year, the store holds a holiday fundraising event giving away 100 percent of the proceeds to the program. In less than 10 years, The Kitchen Store has contributed nearly $82,000 to the Perinatal Bereavement Program through the annual shopping event.

Two winners will be announced Feb. 14 and receive a complimentary trip to the March 21-24 market in Dallas, including round-trip airfare from anywhere in the continental U.S. and two nights hotel stay.

While at market, The Next Big Give winners will be recognized during The Inspired Event. The winners will share their stories of giving back in hopes to inspire others to do the same.

Retailers either nominated themselves or were nominated by a manufacturer, a sales representative, buyer or customer. The finalists were selected by a panel of industry experts and Dallas Market Center representatives.

 

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