VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Independent businesses are the foundation of thriving cities and towns. For a sixth year, Independent We Stand invites the public to helpIndependent We Stand draw attention to the importance and strong economic benefits of “buying local” by nominating locally-owned businesses that exceed customer service expectations for the independent small business award — The Indie. The web-driven contest gives consumers the opportunity to acknowledge businesses that impact their communities and grow their local economies.

Independent We Stand asks consumers and small businesses to be vocal about “buying local” simply by going online starting September 12, to nominate favorite small businesses. Voting begins as soon as a business is nominated. Keep in mind, the public can only vote once every 24 hours. Any locally-owned and operated business in the U.S. is eligible to enter the contest. Nominate and vote at

“The Indie Award gives consumers a voice for their communities,” says Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “Year after year, we see nominees that go out of the way to make their customers happy and their communities better places. This contest gives those customers a way to recognize and thank them for it!”

The winner of the 2016 Indie Award will receive a prize package valued at $10,000, which includes:

  • $5,000 grand prize
  • $1,000 STIHL equipment certificate. STIHL products are sold exclusively through local, independent servicing dealers and support more than 9,000 STIHL dealers in communities nationwide.
  • “Small Business Web Starter Package” from independent web design firm – The Meridian Group
  • Three days/two nights stay at an independent beach resort in Virginia Beach, Va. (valued at $1,000)
  • Plaque to display at winner’s business
  • Public relations and social media recognition
  • Quarter and Semifinalists will receive a Premium Membership from Independent We Stand

Nominations and quarterfinalist voting run from Sept. 12 through Nov. 13. Semifinalist voting begins Nov. 21 and ends on Dec. 11. The announcement of The Indie winner comes on Dec. 14, 2016.

Previous winners include A.Dodson’s, a retail and gift shop with three locations in Virginia which features a round-up program for charities of its customers’ choosing and Trio Hardware, a hardware and paint shop located in New York, which proudly sponsors local sports teams and a high school robotics team.

To nominate and vote for your favorite small business, visit

About Independent We Stand

Independent We Stand is a movement of independent business owners across the country dedicated to informing 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