A matter of weeks after having a trailer that housed a significant portion of her mobile fitness studio inside it stolen, Sabrina Feggans was on the receiving end of some better news.
Feggans, alongside chef Antwon Brinson, have been recognized by the Minority Business Alliance of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The two were named winners of the 2023 John F. Bell Sr. Vanguard Award which, according to a chamber statement, “recognizes an outstanding minority business person or individual who actively supports and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion within the business community in the Greater Charlottesville area.”
Feggans’ trailer effectively served as a mobile gym for her business Beyond Fitness with Sabrina. It still has not been recovered. She said that the honor was welcome news after everything she had been through.
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“I’m beyond excited,” she told The Daily Progress. “I know everything I lost I’ll definitely get back 10 times more, and this is just evidence of it.”
The honor was especially surprising to Feggans because she said she had actually nominated another person for the same award.
Andrea Copeland, the chamber’s chief operating officer, said that the committee was so impressed by both Feggans and Brinson that it decided to honor them both with the award.
“While all nominees were exceptional for this year’s Vanguard Award, Antwon and Sabrina rose to the top as finalists,” Copeland said in a statement.
Brinson was the first executive chef of the Common House social club on the Downtown Mall and the founder of Culinary Concepts AB, which seeks to help people in underserved communities attain a career in hospitality.
“By creating a more inclusive training model and by teaching life skills in addition to occupational skills, Culinary Concepts AB opens opportunities for many who may never have been able to access a career in the culinary arts,” its website reads.
In his effort to help people build careers in the culinary industry, Brinson has worked with the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and the Virginia Equity Center’s Starr Hill Pathways program helping children explore future career path.
Last year, he was one of 10 chefs featured in the HBO Max series “The Big Brunch” hosted by “Schitt’s Creek” star Dan Levy.
Brinson could not be reached for comment by press time.
Feggans has used her business to encourage fitness and healthy lifestyles, heavily engaging with the community along the way.
She also founded the annual Women’s Empowerment Day event, “a day dedicated to empowering women, displaying talents, and highlighting small women owned businesses,” according to the chamber statement.
The two winners know each other very well.
“I know all the work he does in the community and to rise to the top with him was an honor in itself,” Feggans said of Brinson.
The Minority Business Alliance’s Vanguard Award is named in honor of John F. Bell Sr., founder of J.F. Bell Funeral Home, Charlottesville’s oldest Black-owned business.
Jason Armesto (717) 599-8470
@rmest0 on Twitter