Shelby County Chamber names 5 Small Business of the Year winners

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

The Shelby County Chamber held their annual Small Business of the Year Awards Luncheon on June 3 which honored 27 local businesses that were nominated by members of the community.

The Chamber hosted the event the Grande Hall at Old Mill Square in Columbiana in conjunction with Calera Main Street, Chelsea Business Alliance, the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce and Montevallo Main Street.

Prior to the event the organizations asked for nominations in five categories for those who should receive the awards. The categories were divided based on the number of employees and time that each business was open.

Before the winners were announce Shelby County Chamber Chair-elect Brian Massey welcomed each of the guests to the event and introduced guest speakers for the opening ceremonies. Massey then discussed the impact that small businesses have on the economy and why it is important to honor them in this way.

“Our primary purpose in hosting this annual small business celebration is to recognize the tremendous economic impact small businesses have on our county,” Massey said. “Let me be clear, that impact is very real. Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees, generate roughly 70 percent of new jobs annually, pays 44 percent of the U.S. private payroll, account for one of every 13 U.S. workers, in the state of Alabama 96.8 percent of all employers are small business owners and across the country entrepreneurs start or expand some 650,000 small businesses every year.”

To emphasize the importance of recognizing small businesses Traci Fox a former recipient of one of the awards was invited to speak. Fox is the owner of T. Fox SalonSpa and the founder of cancer charity organization Fox Box.

Fox emphasized the key values that she believes are important for a successful business. Fox explained that her organization strives to provide the highest level of service possible to her clients. They have a focus on education, innovation, technology, quality, attention to detail, integrity and respect.

Finally, she emphasized the importance of having a unified team, which she noted with two thoughts.

“Grow where you are planted,” she said. “Everyone matters. Everything matters.”

Chamber President and CEO Kirk Mancer welcomed all of the local business representatives to the event and call each of the 27 that were nominated for the awards.

“Congratulations to each of our outstanding nominees. Your efforts and investment in our community and sincerely appreciated,” Mancer said. “Let me explain that our nominees were reviewed by an independent panel of judges. The panel, which met in May, evaluated these small businesses based upon the following criteria submitted in packets by the nominees: staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales and/or unit volume, response to adversity and evidence of contributions to the community.”

The Category 1 winner was CPC Office Technologies who opened in a new Pelham office back in September of 2020. CPC saw a 203 percent sales volume growth in 2020 and 210 percent through the first quarter of this year. Mancer noted that the business works with nonprofit organizations, helped local restaurants with printing needs during the pandemic and their commitment to working with local governments and schools for assistance.

The Category 2 winner was Sawyer Solutions, LLC, a family-owned technology provider that was started in 2011. Mancer noted their steady growth and commitment to their customer’s needs. They have participated in volunteer engagement with organizations like Crosscreek Baptist Church, local chambers and others.

In Category 3, Montevallo Family Dentistry, represented by Dr. Bobby Shunnarah, was selected as the winner.

“Over the past three years, Dr. Shunnarah has more than doubled the size of his staff and increased his sales volume in double digits during that same period,” Mancer said. “In addition to his successful dental practice, which started in 2004, Dr. Shunnarah is determined to improve the Montevallo community where he is able. Those efforts include an investment in a section of Montevallo that had been abandoned and desolate for several years. That area has been restored and is now known as Village on Valley.”

Janitorial services provider Charles Dixon Industries, Inc. took the prize in Category 4. CDI was recognized for their 34 years providing commercial services in the area. They were also recognized for their commitment to community efforts such as working with groups like Grace Klein Community, Hands in Paw and former and current high school students on things like scholarships and admissions.

“What’s more, while their family was not impacted by the recent tornado that came through Eagle Point, they helped with the recovery effort for that neighborhood by turning the clubhouse into a command center for donations, delivering supplies and organizing donated meals for those affected,” Mancer said.

In Category 5, which honors new small businesses, Creations Galore and Moore was selected as the recipient of the award.

The business, which opened in in October of 2020, was recognized for overcoming the odds that were presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and pushing for a successful year.

“Despite doubting whether Creations Galore and Moore was ever going to happen, the owner realized if she didn’t move forward, their goal of being a cornerstone for the community and providing employment opportunities for the people wouldn’t be possible,” Mancer said. “Since opening, their custom cakes, cupcakes, sweet treats and ice cream have received rave reviews.”

They were also noted for their involvement in the community with things like mentoring young adults through Project Search, in-kind donations to Shelby County Foster Children and financial support to the Calera Dance Academy and other local organizations.

The Shelby County Chamber received sponsorship for the awards from Regions Bank, presenting sponsor, and the UPS Store.