The Dallas Market Center  (DMC) recently announced the finalists of its first Next Big Give  contest, including one lighting showroom. Winners of the contest, which is meant to honor retailers doing good in their communities, will receive a complimentary trip to the March 24-27, 2011, Market in Dallas.
The Dallas Market Center received over 50 nominations for the contest, says Michaela Webb, DMC’s Public Relations Specialist, with some retailers nominating themselves, and others being nominated by showrooms or employees. The 10 finalists were chosen by a judging panel consisting of industry experts and DMC employees, the same panel that will now be responsible for choosing the winners.
"We’re just looking for original ideas and something that’s really home-grown," Webb says. "It should be something the retailer took on themselves and really made a difference through their store."
One of the ten finalists, Barre Electric and Lighting , in Berlin, VT, was nominated for its Lights On To Help Others program, which donates half the proceeds from selected items to a charity of the customer’s choice.
Christine Murphy, Showroom Buyer for Barre, says the program has benefited a large number of charities, but the focus has mostly been on local organizations.
"People are just really enthused about the program, because they get to choose who to donate to,” she says. “We’ve really been trying to support local charities, so while we have donated to larger organizations like the American Cancer Society, we’ve also done a lot for our local library and the local chapter of the Humane Society."
Originally, when the program started a year ago, it was meant to last for only a short time, Murphy says, but the store has kept it going because of enthusiastic customer response.
Other finalists include:
• Brown , Houston
• Gigi’s Fabulous Kids’ Fashions & Toys , Rosemary Beach, FL
• Grigsby’s Boutique , San Angelo, TX
• Island Breeze , Sunset Beach, NC
• Leon & Lulu , Clawson, MI
• Morgan Fitzgerald’s , Bryan, TX
• SimplySoles , Washington, D.C.
• Stuff , Kansas City, MO
• Tea & Magnolias , Tulsa, OK
The two winners will be announced on Feb. 14, 2011, and will receive a complimentary trip to the March Dallas Market, including round-trip airfare and three nights hotel stay. During the Market, the winners will be honored during The Inspired Event, a cocktail party and silent auction for a charitable cause.