During its annual award ceremony held Friday, December 7, Retail Merchants named Rick Hood, owner of Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, the Distinguished Retailer of the Year for 2018. The annual award ceremony dates back more than 50 years and has honored some of the city’s most legendary local retailers including Thalhimer’s, Miller & Rhoads, and Ukrop’s.

Established in 1966, the Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award celebrates a successful local retailer who is an industry leader while consistently giving back to the community through charitable community service efforts. There were 17 nominees for this year’s award.

Since first opening in 1989, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market has continued to grow both in size and in community efforts and involvement. The local grocery was originally envisioned as a market where people could buy local, organic produce and products. Today, they offer a full-service meat and seafood department, in-house bakery, coffee and juice bar, a made-to-order food station, plus a community-centric dining and event space aptly called, The Beet. Additionally, Ellwood Thompson’s opened a café inside VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Arts in 2018.

Indeed, Ellwood Thompson’s has served, and continues to serve, the greater Richmond community in more ways than food through an assortment of programs and initiatives. The store’s 5% Days donate 5% of the day’s proceeds to a local non-profit or organization one Sunday a month while the Wooden Nickel Program allows customers to donate their reusable bag savings to local organizations. Meanwhile, The Beet, the market’s special event space, provides Richmonders with a gathering place for community building, exchanging ideas, and inspiring change in a welcoming and inviting way.

“Richmond is home to an outstanding group of retailers that really contribute to the community in meaningful ways,” said Nancy Thomas, CEO and President of RMA. “These awards enable us to show our appreciation for all that they give back.”