How can you thank veterans for their service? Of course, one way is to say “Thank you for your service” directly to a veteran.
Another way is by shopping at veteran-owned businesses. Seeking out veteran-owned businesses is a great way to support veterans, their businesses, and their employees.
Read on to find out how to find veteran-owned businesses near you or online, plus a list of awesome veteran-owned brands to check out.
How to Find Veteran-Owned Businesses in Your Community
Finding veteran-owned businesses has never been easier. Several websites and organizations maintain lists to help buyers find veteran-owned businesses.
The American Veteran Owned Business Association (AVOBA) lists over 37,000 veteran-owned businesses across the country. The listings let you search by state, county, and city to find veteran-owned businesses near you.
Buy Veteran is another prominent site that makes it easy for people to find veteran-owned businesses near them by product or service required.
Finally, some states maintain their own list of veteran-owned businesses on the state’s VA site, like Washington State. Look on your state’s VA website to see if it does the same.
8 Veteran-Owned or Founded ID.me Partners
- Shift.org – Shift is a career advancement company that helps current and former military members apply their military skills to civilian jobs. CEO Mike Slagh was a bomb disposal officer in the Navy and provided technical expertise to military units all over the world.
- Sperry – Paul A. Sperry founded Sperry Shoes. A Navy Reservist, he invented the world’s first boat shoe, the Top-Sider, in 1935.
- Walmart – Founder Sam Walton served in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps during World War II. He supervised security at aircraft plants and eventually reached the rank of captain.
- GoDaddy – Bob Parson, the founder of the domain name provider GoDaddy, served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.
- Nike – Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Co-founder Phil Knight also served in the Army. He was on active duty for a year and served seven years in the Army Reserve.
- Grunt Style – Founded in 2009 by a former Army drill sergeant, Grunt Style is more than an apparel company. They also have a charitable foundation dedicated to supporting service members and veterans with resources that improve mental health, transition, food insecurity, and homelessness.
- Randolph – The eyewear brand was founded by Former Royal Air Force navigator Jan Waszkiewicz and machinist Stanley Zaleski. In 1978, Randolph produced eyewear as a U.S. Military subcontractor.
- DEVIL-DOG Dungarees – Founder Louis Rosenstock launched DEVIL-DOG Dungarees in 1948. Rosenstock served in the U.S. Army from 1917-1918, and chose the name DEVIL-DOG to honor the U.S. Marines and all armed forces.
Is ID.me Veteran Owned?
ID.me is a veteran-owned digital identity platform co-founded by CEO Blake Hall, a former Army ranger and Iraq War veteran.
Blake led a battalion reconnaissance platoon in Iraq in 2006-2007. His leadership during a firefight against insurgents saved 20 American lives and earned him a Bronze Star with Valor, a medal awarded to military members for acts of heroism during armed combat against an enemy.
10 More Brands That Are Veteran-Owned
Here are a few more unique brands that identify as veteran-owned companies.
- Black Rifle Coffee Company – This veteran-owned-and-operated company sells coffee (ground, whole bean, and “rounds,” aka pods) as well as coffee subscriptions that bring coffee right to your door every month.
- Combat Flip Flops – Flip flops, men’s and women’s apparel, and accessories like jewelry and headwear can all be found at Combat Flip Flops.
- Flags of Valor – Find decorative wooden American flags and other patriotic products that are all handmade by veterans in the U.S.A.
- K9 Salute – This dog-loving company sells all-natural dog treats, and a portion of its proceeds goes to support K9s and to help veterans get service dogs.
- Mr. Bacon – Do you dream of bacon? Then Mr. Bacon is for you. This veteran-owned company pledges to “make your bacon dreams a reality!” with its large assortment of cooked bacon in a variety of flavors.
- RECON Rings – One of the company’s founders witnessed a friend lose a finger in Iraq when his wedding band got caught on a door. That was the inspiration for RECON Rings, which sells silicone bands for active people.
- Rumi Spice – Saffron, dill seed, and fennel seed are just a few of the fragrant spices and blends sourced directly from Afghanistan for sale at Rumi Spice.
- The Skirted Soldier – This female-veteran-owned company sells a selection of beautiful hand-blended, loose teas.
- Stubble + ‘Stache – Check out the selection of men’s skincare and beard care products from this indie brand.
- Teak and Twine – Teak and Twine is the place to go when you’re looking for the perfect gift, whether that’s for a friend’s birthday, your company’s employees, or your clients. This company sells curated gift boxes and works with corporate clients, too.
FAQs About Veteran-Owned Businesses
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about veteran-owned businesses in the U.S.
How Many Businesses Are Veteran-Owned?
The number of veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. is high: 2.51 million businesses in the U.S. are majority-owned by veterans, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Survey of Business Owners (2012). Of those, 442,485 have employees, while the other 2.08 million businesses are sole proprietors or self-employed.1
How Do You Classify a Business as Veteran-Owned?
Any business with one or more veterans as an owner may be considered “veteran-owned” by the general public. However, the government has specific criteria when it comes to classifying a business as “veteran-owned.”
For a business to qualify as a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), it must be at least 51% veteran-owned, the veteran(s) must have been honorably discharged after serving on active duty in one of the U.S. armed forces, and the veteran(s) must be actively involved in managing the company. The same requirements apply to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs), with the addition of proof of disability from the VA or the Department of Defense.
Many veterans seek out certification to verify their company’s status as veteran-owned, as this opens the doors to grants, contracting opportunities, support from the VA and the Small Business Administration (SBA), and more. The VA used to certify VOSBs and SDVOSBs, but that process has recently been taken over by the SBA.2
How Successful Are Veteran-Owned Businesses?
Veteran-owned businesses make up 9.1% of all businesses in the U.S., employ 5.03 million people, and bring in $1.14 trillion.3
All this to say, veteran-owned businesses are successful and make a significant contribution to U.S. commerce and economy.