Mountain View, Arkansas-based Hipp Modern Builders Supply, the 2014 HBSDealer Independent Retailer of the Year, made it all the way to the finals of the latest Indie Awards contest – organized by Independent We Stand.
In the end, however, the award – and prizes valued at about $10,000, including $5,000 in cash -- went to a Massachusetts scrapbook store.
Out of some 200 nominations, 10 semi-finalists were selected on the basis of online votes, and the ultimate winner was chosen by a panel of contest judges. Gentry Hipp, manager of Hipp Modern Builders Supply, said the experience in itself was rewarding.
“The interaction we had with the customers was very positive,” he said. “We saw an outpouring of support and received good words in the store and online, and you don’t hear enough of those sometimes.”
Hipp Modern Builders Supply, a Do it Best dealer, was the lone hardware store among the contest finalists. The top 10 also included Artsy Fartsy, an art gallery in Carson City, Nevada; and the Fuzzy Goat, a yarn shop in Thomasville, Georgia.
Mountain View, Arkansas, has a population of about 2,700. To thrive in a such small town requires local customer loyalty, Hipp says.
“We’re grateful for the great customer base that we have,” he said. “Business is good. It could always be better, but we’re on track.”
The Indie Award program is run by Independent We Stand, which describes itself as "a movement of independent business owners across the country to inform their communities about the importance of “Buying Local” and how these efforts bolster their local economy. This movement supports all local and national causes committed to boosting local economic development projects. The Independent We Stand movement is co-sponsored by Stihl Inc. and FCA US LLC."