Virginia Cafe finalist for US Chamber of Commerce awards | Virginie News

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By MATT WELCH, the star of Winchester

WINCHESTER, Virginia (AP) – Victoria Kidd said she was always humbled when she thought about the reputation her Hideaway Cafe has earned since opening its doors in downtown Winchester in 2015.

That reputation, she said, has always been one for inclusiveness and service. And that made Hideaway Cafe a finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Dream Big Awards in the LGBTQ-Owned Business category.

“It’s very humiliating. We were kind of the little rascals in the area, ”said Kidd, owner and general manager of Hideaway Cafe. “We’re a strange little company, but at the same time, we’re so invested in our community and giving people from all walks of life a place to be themselves and really feel taken care of in this environment. It validates a lot of the work we do here.

The Dream Big Awards program includes nine different Business Achievement Awards to recognize the excellence of leading companies in each of the following categories: community support and leadership, emerging, green / sustainable, minority-owned, LGBTQ-owned, to veterans, to women. property, young entrepreneur and small business of the year.

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The LGBTQ-Owned Business Award recognizes the success of a small business and honors its contributions to the growth and diversity of the American economy. This award recognizes an LGBTQ-owned small business that has achieved exceptional business achievement and illustrates the significant contributions made by LGBTQ-owned businesses in the country.

Over 1,000 applications have been submitted by small businesses across the country. The winners will be announced during the virtual Dream Big Awards program, part of the Big Week for Small Business event, at 5 p.m. on October 21.

Kidd said she had been applying for the Dream Big Awards for years, but knew something was a little different this year.

“One of the questions wanted to know what we did to pivot and get through COVID. So the narrative there was a little more interesting for us, ”she said. “It was a year like no other. In reality, it was about seeing what the state would allow us to do, what were the specifics of the capacity we might have and how we might serve, and then modify our operations to meet those restrictions. “

Kidd and the company built a recess in the front door for people to pick up orders, used curbside and delivery services, and continued to maintain high levels of customer service, which included dressing in costumes.

Through it all, however, Kidd said what she learned the most was how special the community is.

“I knew our community was amazing, but I wasn’t fully aware of the level of generosity until last year,” she said. “We had people who literally had reminders on their calendars to come in every week and shop. We’ve had people who took their stimulus checks, cashed them, put them in an envelope, and put it in our mailbox – and more than one. Without these people, it would have been very difficult to get by. “

On the other hand, serving the community is something Kidd and his staff are proud of.

Since opening in 2015, the cafe has raised and donated over $ 50,000 and continues to host events such as food drives. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kidd even led a team in the region that helped around 25,000 restaurant waiters get advice from a new app.

There are also countless other service possibilities.

“It’s part of who we are,” Kidd said of his help. “A regular at ours called us ‘the community cafe.’ We are humbled by this title and try to live up to it. This has allowed us to acquire a reputation as a place worth supporting. We’re not just going to say, “This is who we are and this is who we are. We will live up to this identity of being open and inclusive of everyone and finding opportunities to serve.

Kidd and his staff are also active in the LGBTQ community. She said she was thrilled to see how the communities embraced and came together to serve.

“Small towns like this have a reputation for not being very inclusive, but I haven’t found that to be the case at all here,” Kidd said. “Our community has, in equal parts, embraced the mission of serving underserved people and serving the community as a whole. We really walked out the door putting our money where our mouth is, saying, “Where can we serve? “”

Kidd said the cafe gets calls all the time from people telling them their son or daughter has just declared themselves gay and they don’t know what to do or someone is telling them they need to. a place to stay.

“There is no one else serving some of these people,” she said. “But it’s completely in our mission even if it’s not on the menu.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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