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The National Grocers Association has honored Newport Ave. Market co-owner Debbie Dory with its Woman of the Year Award.
The award was established in 1996 by the Women Grocers of America board to give visible support and recognition to women in the industry. Judging criteria for the Woman of the Year Award is based on the candidate's leadership contributing to the success of her company; being a member of the NGA and other industry organizations whose participation and involvement contributes to the overall well-being of the industry; and being a community-focused citizen committed to serving the needs of her neighbors, associates and customers through involvement in community and civic affairs.
The face of Newport Ave. Market from the beginning has been Dory’s husband, Rudy Dory. However, Rudy is always the first to say that the vision, enthusiasm, determination and design of Newport Ave. Market should copiously be credited to Debbie.
A the age of 20, Dory bought Donner Flower Shop, which is the oldest (since 1911) continually women-owned business in Newport Ave. Market’s headquarter town of Bend, Oregon. Soon after selling the flower shop in 1989, Debbie joined Rudy's Markets Inc., DBA Newport Ave. Market IGA, as a company director overseeing the development of the Bakery and Deli Departments. Her experience and knowledge of dealing with perishable items, production, manufacturing, sanitation and merchandising became invaluable. In 1991, after an extensive remodel of Newport Ave. Market, she created the vision and implemented the design that turned the newly remodeled store from a traditional grocery store into the award-winning store it is today.
According to NGA, her stance against the city sign code, and the award-winning mural she commissioned to effectively solve their signage needs, was nothing short of brilliant. Dory said that she “was willing to go to jail over this” -- proof of her determination to do the right thing. She was also the driving force behind creating equal pay between deli staff (mostly women) and the meat department staff (mostly men).
Not only does this co-owner hold her own in the male-dominated grocery industry, she was instrumental in hiring an advertising agency for a single store operation, which most independent grocers are afraid to even consider. Debbie’s philosophy toward marketing is to have fun, involve your customers, and “don't take yourself too seriously.” Today, when most grocery sales are down, Dory has led the charge to be positive and create extraordinary customer service, which has culminated in a 12 percent sales increase during the 2012 fiscal year.
She is the co-founder of the Hunger Prevention Coalition in Central Oregon today. In addition, she insisted that the United Way of Deschutes County have a mechanism to distribute donated funds for a program she wanted to implement. Newport was the pilot store for the Help Fill Empty Plates Program developed by the Coalition. To date, Newport Ave. Market has raised over $429,000 for the coalition through this program.
Family-owned since 1976, Newport Avenue Market has become a popular grocery and specialty food destination for residents and tourists alike. It is well known for its “live locally, eat globally” attitude and strong commitment to providing top quality products and customer-focused services in an environment that is unique, inviting and fun to shop in. The store has been voted “Best of Central Oregon” 14 times by The Source Weekly and awarded “Top 50 Retailer” by The Gourmet Retailer, “Leadership in Composting Award” by the Oregon Refuse & Recycling Association, “Deli of Distinction” by Boar’s Head, and “Business of the Year” by the Bend Chamber of Commerce.