Amazing Women identified by specialty retailer

A lot of retailers hold contests, but few discover winners as worthy of recognition as the difference-makers who participated in specialty retailer Christopher & Banks inaugural Amazing Women contest.

The operator of 543 stores recently named the winners of its Amazing Women contest that was launched in April in conjunction with Mother’s Day. More than 1,700 nominations were received in the contest that sought to celebrate the women who raise, cheer on, care for and support future generations.

No one fit that bill better than grand prize recipient Michelle Johnson of Springfield, Mo. She was nominated by her friend Lynn Boone for her role as a foster parent to more than 300 children over the years.

"Michelle takes in the children no one else can handle, and she makes a difference in their lives," Boone said. "She has always done without, so children will have what they need – and more. She never buys anything for herself, and I would love to see her get something for a change."

"When we told Michelle she not only had been nominated, but that she had won, she was shocked to find people consider what she does inspiring," said LuAnn Via, Christopher & Banks president and CEO. "Women like Michelle – and so many others – believe the remarkable and inspirational things they do are ordinary. We know that every day, women do amazing things and that is exactly why we wanted to hear women's stories and celebrate the difference they make in our lives and our communities."

As the grand prize winner, Johnson will receive a $500 Christopher & Banks/CJ Banks gift card, a $500 donation to a charity and a trip the retailer’s Minnesota headquarters. While there, she will go on a personalized shopping experience at the Christopher & Banks/CJ Banks flagship store at the Mall of America, receive a spa experience and professional photo shoot. She has also been invited to serve as a Christopher & Banks/CJ Banks Amazing Women Brand Ambassador.

Others women recognized in the contest included runners up Andrea Lea Berdine of Hollister, Mo., and Ellen Adcock of Greenville, Ill. First runner up Berdine was nominated by her friend Tabby Meadows for dedicating herself to serving the homeless and others in need.

Berdine was first inspired to help the homeless when she witnessed a homeless man turned away from a thrift store when he couldn't afford a coat on a cold and rainy day. After helping him, she started Selfless Blessings, a nonprofit thrift store where everything is free. Second runner up Ellen Adcock was nominated by her husband Daniel Adcock for her devotion to their two autistic sons and her dedication to autism advocacy. Adcock played a major role in creating an adult day program for adults with autism who had no place to go, where they could learn how to keep up on daily living and socializing skills.

The retailer is looking to take the Amazing Women recognition program to a new level with additional contests focused on professions such as teachers and nurses.

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