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Winners of DMC's Next Big Give Named

DALLAS - Dallas Market Center (DMC) has named the two winners for The Next Big Give. The Next Big Give, which is now in its third year, is a national search for specialty retailers that make a difference in their communities through volunteering, raising funds or donating goods.

The winners are: Journeys of Life, a gifts and accessories store in Pittsburgh, PA, and Leon & Lulu, a furniture, gifts and accessories store in Clawson, MI.

Journeys of Life owner Jean Haller and her store have participated in countless efforts benefiting the community for more than 20 years. In 2011, a fire destroyed the store's entire inventory. The community rallied and helped reopen the store through vendors sending product, neighbors pricing merchandise and volunteers coming to help bring Journeys back to life. Although the store and its contents were declared a total loss, Jean approached the insurance company togive customers the opportunity to purchase the almost destroyed treasures at a reduced rate with all proceeds benefiting charities. In one week, the Fire Fund earnings were $3,500; each day benefited a different local charity. The Fire Fund sales continue with more than $8,000 raised to date.

"Giving back to the community has always been at the forefront of our store's calling," said Haller. "It's because of the community where I live and work that Journeys grew to be the service-oriented business that it is. Neither the community nor I was ready to see Journeys disappear. That is evident from the support that brought the store back from the ashes."

Leon & Lulu's co-owner Mary Liz Curtin holds true to a community-focused marketing plan in her furniture, gifts and accessories store, which includes more than 60 charity events annually. One of many events includes the store hosting local artists and crafts people for a two-day market to introduce the community to a range of exceptional handcrafted items made in Michigan. The event benefits Cass Community Social Services, a Detroit agency committed to fighting poverty and creating opportunities by providing food, medical, mental health, vocational, youth and homeless services. Other events throughout the year promote literacy, donating blood, diabetes and breast cancer research.

"Any business can support the local community," said Curtin. "Whether it is a gift of product, providing space for a fundraiser, donating a percentage of sales or just writing a check - all of us can make a difference. We have a commitment to our community and to help others; our strategy has been the perfect blend for us. We've found new customers through our charity outreach while helping many groups both large and small through our events program."

The winners will receive a complimentary trip to the March 21-24, 2013 Market in Dallas and will be recognized during The Inspired Event on Thursday, March 21.

For additional information on the contest, visit www.dallasmarketcenter.com/give

 

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