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Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year Awards 2020 Cover
Small Business of the Year
Small Business of the Year

A panel of judges selects a Small Business of the Year from every Southside city.  The business with the highest cumulative score will be announced as the Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year at the event. Thank you to Southern Bank, our Small Business of the Year Awards Presenting Sponsor.

The Small Business of the Year awards coincides with National Small Business Week which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Small businesses account for approximately 85% of the Hampton Roads Chamber’s total membership and we do everything possible to ensure their success. The Small Business of the Year Awards is one of many ways we support our small business members. The Hampton Roads Chamber is the premier pro-business organization serving as an Impactful Advocate, Powerful Economic Partner, and Inspiring Ignitor in order to set the conditions for other businesses to be successful, large and small. 


2020 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year

2020 Small Business of the Year: Hubbard Peanut Company

And the winner is… The Hubbard Peanut Company!  The Hampton Roads Chamber announced the 2020 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year winner at a ceremony on July 16.  Lynn Rabil said "These are daunting times.  There are a lot of distractions that can pull you.  If you are able to lean together with an organization like the Chamber, what seems to be a mountain is a hill."  Her son, Marshall Rabil, accepted the award on stage.

The judging committee was impressed with this strong family-owned company's growth.  Based in Sedley, Virginia, The Hubbard Peanut Company (Hubs Peanuts) was named the Small Business of the Year for Western Hampton Roads. This year, they are expanding their operations to a retail-based community hub in Franklin's former Farm Fresh building.

2020 Suffolk Small Business of the Year

The Suffolk Small Business of the Year is Music Makes You Happy Entertainment. What started as a DJ company in Suffolk with one employee has grown to include offices in Richmond and Coastal Virginia and currently employs ten people.  From 2011 to today, Chris Rice and his team have been bringing the party to Virginia events.

2020 Norfolk Small Business of the Year

The Norfolk Small Business of the Year is Phillips and Peters, PLLC.  Kim Phillips and her partner Corrynn Peters established their family law practice ten years ago.  They intentionally set out to create an environment of teamwork amongst their attorneys and staff to best serve their clients.  Their motto is "Helping you move forward."

The Hampton Roads Chamber also honored Kim Phillips with the Leadership Award for her significant impact on workplace culture, commitment to the community, and leadership. "It’s easy to lead during good times.  Now we have to make tough decisions every day."

2020 Virginia Beach Small Business of the Year

The Virginia Beach Small Business of the Year is Inter-Op.  Bruce Hacker started the company in 2004 as a software development firm. As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served as a Navy supply and logistics officer before entering civilian life, he knew how to pivot. His creative team was able to shift to new ventures after the economic recession of 2009.  By reworking the business model, they emerged a more robust and better company than before.  Inter-Op now has 65 employees who work across five states.

2020 Portsmouth Small Business of the Year

The Portsmouth Small Business of the Year is Warrant Realty.  Michael Steverson and Richard Barbee met 30 years ago while serving in the Coast Guard.  In 2013, they used all their military training to create Warrant Realty.  Seven years later, they have grown to nine agents and are operating in two local cities. The core values of the US Coast Guard are Warrant Realty:  Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.

2020 Chesapeake Small Business of the Year

The Chesapeake Small Business of the Year is Array Digital.  This award-winning website design and digital marketing agency generates awareness for companies throughout Hampton Roads. Formed in 2017 with the merger of two companies, both partners wanted to control their lives and create magic for their customers.

Top-to-Watch for 2020

The Hampton Roads Chamber recognized three young companies as Top-to-Watch for 2020.  Congratulations to:  OneSpace Design StudiosPale Horse Coffee, and Taxus Street Coffee.

2020 Non-Profit of the Year

Mercy Chefs of Portsmouth is the 2020 Non-Profit of the Year. The judges were impressed with their passion for serving meals for victims, volunteers, and first responders.

2020 Entrepreneur of the Year

Caroline Taylor of Taylor Made Diagnostics is the 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year.  The judges cited her growth in helping industrial and commercial customers meet their compliance needs by developing a mobile health service to keep employees at work.  “My words of encouragement to those on the cusp, apply discipline and consistency. Fall down 7 times and get up 8.  Pray every day.


2020 Award Nominations

Hampton Roads is home to an abundance of top notch small businesses, young entrepreneurs, flourishing startups and small business leaders working every day to strengthen our small business community.


Deadline for all nominations was January 10, 2020

Application deadline for all nominees was February 3, 2020

  Apply Online


Award Requirements:

Small Business of the Year Award

  • Fewer than 250 employees

  • Gross revenues of less than $10 million in 2019

  • In business for more than 3 years

  • Eligible applicants will be judged on:

    • Financial performance and business history

    • Staff training and motivation

    • Community involvement

    • Customer service

    • Business plan or strategies and goals


2019 Small Business of the Year: The Dirty Buffalo

2019 Small Business of the Year Winner

Pictured left: 2019 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year - The Dirty Buffalo

2018 Small Business of the Year: SimIS, Inc.

SimIs, Inc.: 2018 Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year

Pictured here: Taylor Harrell, President Southern Bank & Trust Company; Congressman Bobby Scott;  Mayor John Rowe, City of Portsmouth:  Johnny Garcia of SimIS Inc.; Bryan Stephens, CEO & President of the Hampton Roads Chamber;  and Mike Herron, Publisher, Inside Business.
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