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Belmont Peanuts wins business honor

Belmont Peanuts of Southampton Inc. was recently named 2021 Small Business of the Year for the Western Hampton Roads area by the Hampton Roads Chamber.

Patsy Marks, president of Belmont Peanuts and co-founder with her husband Robert Marks III, said the company was honored to receive the award.

“Our family owned and operated company is so proud of the recognition — we have come so far from our humble beginnings in the basement of our home,” she said. “As I reflect upon our business, Bob and I are grateful and honored that our three children have a major role in the company and its success.”

Located on Highway 58 between Courtland and Emporia, Belmont Peanuts has a manufacturing side to its business, and the Belmont Deli now adds a positive outlet for the company’s team and the community.

“March 27, 2020, was our first meal ticket,” Marks said. “We introduced the deli to the community with curbside service, and from there our deli has become a thriving addition for our company.”

She said as customers stop in for a delicious meal, they get to “experience a taste of our farming atmosphere as we are actually located on one of our family farms.”

“In addition to the deli’s great menu selections, our retail area allows us to showcase Belmont’s vast selection of gourmet, hand-cooked Virginia peanuts,” she said.

Marks affirmed the Hampton Roads Chamber award was made even more special by the fact that Belmont Peanuts received the honor for its performance during a year in which it was faced with a global pandemic.

“Our company was faced with many obstacles that were a result of the pandemic — however, we were able to adapt the business model by shifting marketing and operational dollars into direct-to-consumer sales,” she said.

She noted that she believes the key quality helping earn Belmont Peanuts the Small Business of the Year honor was its ability to adapt its business model during the pandemic. 

“The creative side of our team went to work, and with the help of the (Paycheck Protection Program) Loan, we were able to keep our employees and staff on board — this was critical as they are the heartbeat of our company,” she said. “At year’s end, we far exceeded all expectations for our path of recovery.”

The Hampton Roads Chamber presented 2021 Small Business of the Year awards to businesses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Western Hampton Roads.

In an email, the chamber stated that one of these small businesses will be named the 2021 Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year on May 6 at the Chesapeake Conference Center. 

The chamber also stated that small businesses are the backbone of the local and national economies, representing more than 95% of all employers, creating three-fourths of all new jobs and accounting for more than one-half of the nation’s gross domestic product.