Riverdale business owner April Hodges beamed while holding a replica of a check for a $25,000 business grant presented to her from her neighbor across the street, Sheetz, as one of five recipients of Sheetz’ Time Back Initiative.
Excited, surprised and overwhelmed, Hodges said Thursday describing the entire experience.
Tim, her husband and business partner, also is overwhelmed, according to Hodges, who was notified of the honor in person by a Sheetz representative on April 1.
Hodges received a $25,000 business grant for her business, Alexia’s Closet, which has suffered through several floods in recent years, including one coming when the remnants of Hurricane Michael passed through South Boston in October.
Hodges was awarded an Atlas Volkswagen SUV and an Airstream camper, as well as a $5,000 donation to the American Heart Association in honor of her son, Bryson, who was born with an incurable heart defect.
“I first thought it was an April Fool’s joke,” Hodges recalled, when a Sheetz media representative visited her on April 1 to tell her the news.
Hodges has been part of an “insider’s program” with Sheetz for about a year, where Sheetz selects people from different areas as a sounding board for different products.
Through that program, Sheetz found out about Hodges and her trips to the University of Virginia to get treatment for Bryson.
Hodges is receiving her vehicles within a month, and the family already is planning to vacation across the country.
“We’ve been looking at campsites ever since then, places where we’ve never been,” said Hodges. “I’ve always been on short, little trips, and I want to go out west, go south, go north and just travel everywhere.”
The Hodges children, Bryson and 10-year-old Aidan, also are anxious to see the world.
Aidan said he’d like to go anywhere where there is water, and Bryson said he’d like to go visit the redwood forest in California.
April Hodges never knew that by just filling out the bottom of a receipt talking about her experiences at Sheetz would lead to this.
They said they’re running a promotion and want to come by and do a video, and they said they’d give me a little gift, recalled Hodges.