Best Places to Work 2023

We recognize 15 of the region’s workplaces where employees say they love their jobs

by Beth Hester

What characteristics define a healthy and vibrant workplace culture? What qualities keep turnover low and inspire employees to do their best work?

We asked local employees and CoVa BIZ readers to nominate deserving businesses for our 2023 Best Places to Work contest. From generous benefits packages to employee recognition programs, plenty of paid leave to hybrid work schedules, fun office events to community service opportunities, they answered the call.

Nominations were reviewed by CoVa BIZ staff and selected based on the overall strength of the nomination form/s and how the information provided by the nominator/s reflected a positive and desirable work environment for current and future employees.

Included here* are our 15 selected honorees for CoVa BIZ’s 2023 Best Places to Work. Congratulations to all.


armada hofflerArmada Hoffler
Leading Through Engagement and Service

Employees say: “Armada Hoffler stands alone when it comes to corporate culture, employee engagement and community service. We’re proud to be part of an organization that cares so much and does so much good.”

Armada Hoffler is a well-respected industry leader with more than four decades of experience in building, acquiring and managing high-quality properties across the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. From the beginning, community involvement has been an integral part of the company’s culture, and employees appreciate the wide range of meaningful volunteer and outreach opportunities that generate high levels of participation and collaboration. Recent enhancements to an already generous benefits package include fully paid parental leave, hybrid work schedules and an immediate eligibility tuition reimbursement program. These new benefits are the direct result of company-wide initiatives to generate and welcome employee feedback, and they reflect leadership’s understanding that the company’s success is dependent upon team members who feel engaged, valued and heard.
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Atlantic Shores Retirement CommunityAtlantic Shores Retirement Community
Positivity and Purpose

Employees say: “We strive to provide a neighborly environment where people want to live and work. A common observation from those new to our campus is that everyone is so friendly, and that our community feels different— in a good way. Our employees know they are making a difference in the lives of our residents and that they are a part of a community where they are valued.”

Located in a scenic area along the shores of Lake Redwing, this upscale retirement community offers a wide range of customizable living options for older adults at every stage of life. Fostering a welcoming, neighborhood-like atmosphere for employees and residents is a priority. And the leadership team promotes a work environment where innovation, open communication, personal accountability and mutual respect are key. Employees are offered opportunities for professional development, so they’ll have the tools necessary to advance within the company, and they express that feelings of positivity and purpose make them look forward to coming in to work every day.
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Chef by Design Catering Co.Chef by Design Catering Co.
Team Work on the Menu

Employees say: “We work hard and regularly celebrate each other’s accomplishments. It’s a supportive, positive environment. From the owners to the individual team members, someone is always available to lend a hand, or share a smile. We invest in one another and in the company’s success.”

For more than 15 years, this award-winning Norfolk-based catering company has wowed clients with delicious, seasonally inspired menus, comprehensive event planning expertise, impeccable service and inspired displays. Staff enjoy flexible schedules, a strong benefits package and opportunities for professional development in an industry that’s fast-paced and cutting edge. Producing picture-perfect weddings and gala affairs is no small responsibility, but employees say that there’s a special sense of camaraderie, excitement and mutual support within the organization that make it a great place to work. One employee touted the ability to advance within the company: “I began my journey here as a server; now I’m the COO.”
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Cooper Hurley Injury LawyersCooper Hurley Injury Lawyers
Making the Case for Professional Growth

Employees say: “Every day we try to do small things that make a big impact. It’s a team-oriented workplace where we are respected and there’s ample room for advancement. To successfully win a verdict or settlement for our clients, we have to rely on nearly everyone in the office. We’re excited about the work we do to help clients who find themselves in difficult situations.”

Though the firm has expanded over the years, the organization is committed to maintaining a work environment that is caring and responsive. Team members enjoy annual salary raises, regular bonuses, a profit-sharing 401(k) and firm-wide teaching and training sessions. Staff are appreciative of the monthly luncheons, volunteer opportunities, and the flexible scheduling that helps them maintain a healthy work-life balance. Memberships in professional organizations, conference attendance and educational webinar participation are fully paid for by the firm. This focus on continuing education and career advancement is a hallmark of the organization.
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Cosmo’s Corner Doggie Daycare and BoardingCosmo’s Corner Doggie Daycare and Boarding
Cute Pups and Plenty of Perks

Employees say: “We’re a ‘drama free’ workplace and we all have a true passion for what we do. Our staff is very respectful and we’re always rooting for one another to advance and learn new things. The facility is set up in a way that provides a safe space for the pups and a stress-free work environment for the humans; it’s a perfect balance.”

The staff at Cosmo’s Corner is on a mission to provide beloved fur persons with a safe, cozy and enriching daycare and boarding experience. Perks of employment include an affordable medical benefits package, a salary raise after one month, advanced training courses and, perhaps best of all, when “life happens,” team members can bring their own pups in to daycare at no cost during the workday. Employees also receive a substantial discount on dog food, treats and other necessities. Managers cultivate an uplifting and supportive workplace where employees know that their contributions are recognized and where peers cheer one another on.
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Creed RealtyCreed Realty
Client-Focused, Agent-Owned

Employees say: “We are presented with numerous professional growth opportunities that keep us operating on the cutting edge of our industry. Working in an atmosphere of competency and trust where we can learn from, and work alongside talented market leaders sets us up for success.”

Though Creed’s real estate agents are independent contractors, they’re regarded as team members who conduct business around a shared set of principles and are willing to mentor others so that everyone can succeed. Agents and staff alike appreciate the fact that the growing organization fosters a welcoming and diverse community-like work environment where continuing education is valued and adherence to high ethical standards puts the client first. Creed offers agents multiple tiers of professional programs and support, from 24-hour training access to virtual office options and support staff.
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Eastern Data, Inc.Eastern Data, Inc.
Pursuing Passions, Advancing Careers

Employees say: “At Eastern Data, everyone from the part-time bench technician to the full-time field engineers are recognized for their accomplishments. There’s a family feel to the culture that make the hard days easier and the good days even better. The heart of this company is its people, and that heart is beating strong.”

In business for over 35 years, Eastern Data, Inc. offers top-quality, friendly and expert IT services to multiple industries throughout Virginia and Eastern North Carolina. Leadership strives to immerse team members in a culture where they feel valued, supported and aligned with organizational goals. Employees enjoy a competitive benefits package, generous annual paid time off, yearly bonuses, volunteer opportunities and a variety of social activities like kickball, movie and game nights, and special events that recognize employee contributions. With dogs in the office, cookouts and company go-cart racing, fun is a value that’s prioritized.
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First Atlantic RestorationFirst Atlantic Restoration
Powered by People

Employees say: “We know that we’re making a big difference in the lives of our customers when catastrophic disaster strikes. As we help them through some of the worst moments of their lives, we strive to do the work with a smile. There’s a sense of comradery at First Atlantic, and there’s an emphasis on respect for one another. We have each other’s back, on and off the job. And we’re fun. We have a parrot.”

Locally owned First Atlantic Restoration provides high quality, award-winning disaster cleanup, mitigation and restoration services for commercial and residential properties. The company’s strong slate of employee benefits includes 100% paid health care premiums, maternity and paternity leave, first time home buyer support, well-maintained company vehicles for field associates and gym membership reimbursement. But the ample benefits package isn’t the only draw for team members; it’s the people. Employees share that that there’s an atmosphere of mutual respect, common courtesy and caring that makes them look forward to coming into work every day.
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Genesis Counseling CenterGenesis Counseling Center
Touching Lives, Inspiring Life

Employees say: “Although our work is serious and stressful at times, we work hard to have fun too. Our culture supports a good work-life balance, and we’re encouraged in everything we do by a great leadership team. There’s support at every level.”

Genesis Counseling Center is a dynamic group of behavioral health professionals serving the local community. Associates express that their work is satisfying, that they feel valued and that they are guided by a deep sense of purpose and compassion. They also share that the collegial environment is “energizing,” and that leadership’s emphasis on professional development helps to set them up for success. Importantly, associates enjoy the ability to manage their own schedules and case loads, and the variety of available benefits makes it easy to create individually tailored packages.
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Hope House FoundationHope House Foundation
Kindness. Inclusion. Empowerment.

Employees say: “Our organization models participatory management and all staff are provided with opportunities to become involved in the decision-making process.

As a values-driven workplace we hold innovation, creativity, community and leadership in high regard.”

Serving the region for over 50 years, Hope House Foundation provides comprehensive support to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Though full-time employees have standardized schedules and generous benefits that include 39 days of annual paid leave, Direct Support team members can take advantage of flexible shifts of varying lengths to accommodate their lifestyles. This enables the part-timers to attend school, raise families or supplement their income. Staff love the casual work attire policy, and the team activities and retreats where employees are paid to have fun. The organization prioritizes promoting from within and often creates innovative roles that take full advantage of employee strengths.
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Melone Hatley, P.C.Melone Hatley, P.C.
Big Business Benefits, Small Business Rewards

Employees say: “We’re always given the tools we need to provide unparalleled customer service. Everyone is treated equally from the attorneys and paralegals to the receptionists. We appreciate the fact that it’s an environment where we’re treated with respect and not micromanaged, and where there are opportunities to cross-train and learn new skills.”

Melone Hatley, P.C. is a top-rated, woman-owned, family law firm advising clients in Virginia and North Carolina. Nothing kills an employee’s joy like hovering, micromanaging leadership. But associates at Melone Hatley relate that they’re given the tools they need to do their best work, and then they’re trusted to work independently. Associates tout above market compensation and benefits, and they appreciate the boutique firm’s small business feel, where everyone from the receptionist and billing specialist to the paralegals and attorneys are valued for their individual roles and contributions.
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Old Point National BankOld Point National Bank
Where “Local” Matters

Employees say: “Many people come to Old Point looking for a job, and they end up finding a career. The organization is committed to fostering an equitable and inclusive workplace that reflects the communities we serve.”

For this venerable full-service community banking institution, employees are not simply offered opportunities to advance, they’re actively encouraged to take advantage of progressive training programs and initiatives designed to create clear pathways for advancement. Committed to community service, team members proudly represent Old Point by supporting myriad charitable organizations. A flexible benefits package supports a healthy work-life balance, and team members enjoy free checking, free credit monitoring, free safety deposit box and reduced rates on employee credit cards. Leadership believes that employees are more successful when they feel valued, respected and included. Attrition is low, and many employees have reached 20, 25 and 30-year milestones.
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Rocket Title Inc.Rocket Title Inc.
An Atmosphere That’s Out of This World

Employees say: “The culture is unmatched. The compensation and benefits are generous, and colleagues are extremely helpful. The company goes above and beyond to make employees feel appreciated.”

Employees at this top-rated title agency can’t seem to say enough about the characteristics that make it such a great place to work. Like many companies, Rocket Title offers competitive benefits, bonuses and other perks, but staff members attribute their high morale to an atmosphere that’s welcoming, energetic, supportive and healthy. One employee described the workplace as “decidedly non-toxic.” Another team member shared: “I was nervous about getting back into the workforce after years of being a stay-at-home mom. Rocket Title is a truly different organization. I feel like my contributions and those of my coworkers are celebrated. We work hard, but we have fun!”
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Tidewater Communications, LLCTidewater Communications, LLC
The Soundtrack of Success

Employees say: “Here, no one works alone. There may be times when I’m by myself in a particular job, but help is always available. Manager Wayne Leyland doesn’t just delegate someone else to lend a hand, he offers himself. That’s the kind of selfless act that earns respect.”

Tidewater Communications, LLC is the parent company of beloved local radio stations 106.9 The Fox and WNOR FM99. Employees enjoy ample benefits and opportunities to advance in their careers, but it’s the camaraderie and teamwork mentality that they find both inspiring and motivating. One employee said: “Management recognizes everyone for their accomplishments, and it’s a place where no one works alone. I feel happy to be a part of such a solid organization where it’s a pleasure to come into work every day.”
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Civic Pride and Positive Vibes

Employees say: “The vibe here isn’t that we have to work together; it’s that we get to work together, and we all play a part in making work seem less like work. Another rewarding aspect of the job is understanding and appreciating the economic impact that our organization has on other businesses and people within our city.”

VisitNorfolk is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the city’s exceptional attractions, experiences and amenities to residents and visitors alike. In addition to the standard employee benefits, VisitNorfolk offers hybrid schedules, flexible spending accounts, short-term disability coverage, free downtown parking passes and a generous amount of paid time off. Employees are provided with varied opportunities to socialize and relax outside of work, and the downtown office location makes it easy for staff to take full advantage of the everyday experiences that help make Norfolk such an exceptional place to work and play.
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