Commerce Lexington has announced this year’s finalists for its recognition of Small Business of the Year, Minority Business of the Year and Independent Professional of the Year, which will be named at its 23rd annual Small Business Celebration Awards Dinner on Thursday, September 25.
Finalists and award winners for the honors are judged based on their excellence in several areas, including staying power, response to adversity, community involvement, company products and services, and growth. This year’s celebration dinner, which features Joseph-Beth Group owner and CEO Neil Van Uum as its keynote speaker, will highlight both old and new aspects of some of today’s thriving local small businesses, including their significant contributions to the local economy and their ability to stand the test of time.
The dinner will be held on Thursday, September 25, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort & Spa. The cost to attend is $45 per person, or $450 per table of ten. For more information, check Commerce Lexington’s Web site at www.commercelexington.com.
2008 SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS:
Smiley Pete Publishing
Smiley Pete Publishing began in 1997 with two guys fresh out of college, a borrowed basement, computer and telephone line, and $200. More than ten years later, publishers Chuck Creacy and Chris Eddie have transformed it into a multi-million dollar company with three publications, four Web sites, 13 full-time employees, a couple of interns and hundreds of freelance writers. Smiley Pete Publishing specializes in content that is locally focused and locally generated. Its family of publications includes Business Lexington, Chevy Chaser Magazine, and Southsider Magazine. Chevy Chaser Magazine, which celebrates its eleventh year this October, is the longest-running neighborhood-based publication distributed in Lexington. Smiley Pete Publishing has certainly adapted to changing technology, becoming a true multi-media company through multiple forms of communication: print, web, podcasting, e-mail, and television with the recent launch of Business Lexington TV. This is the second consecutive year that Smiley Pete Publishing has been named a Finalist for Small Business of the Year.
Holifield Photography, Inc.
The studio that began in 1974 as a part-time wedding photography business is now the largest photography studio in Central Kentucky, with 6,000-square feet of space, four camera rooms, and six full time photographers. Jim Holifield bought his first 35mm camera in 1972, and by 1978, he turned his passion for photography into a full-time endeavor when he left his job at the Juvenile Detention Center in Fayette County to launch Holifield Photography. About a year later, he asked his wife Theresa to leave her job at the University of Kentucky to become the office manager. In the early days, Jim and Theresa never turned down a photography job, and Jim often went door-to-door to daycare centers offering to take school pictures. Today, they provide photography services for a multitude of subjects: children, high school seniors and other area schools, families, weddings, executives and businesses, and youth recognition programs. Like most small businesses, Holifield Photography has had to adapt to changing technology with the advent of digital photography. Although most of Jim’s work over the years has involved people during the “happy times” in their lives, he never forgot the troubled youth with whom he worked in the past, and set out to create a variety of recognition programs for kids who were doing good things in their lives.
United Way of the Bluegrass
Three words easily come to mind when describing the United Way of the Bluegrass – impact, community and longevity. For more than 86 years, United Way of the Bluegrass has been raising and investing community dollars in worthy efforts to meet the most basic needs of the citizens of Central Kentucky. Through its core mission of improving our community, the locally incorporated 501(c)3 organization invests more than $150 million and currently funds 83 partner agencies representing 145 programs. Over time, United Way of the Bluegrass has shifted its focus from crisis and emergency situations to one that mobilizes financial resources and invests in community solutions that are long-lasting and transformational. In 2008, the organization adopted this new strategic approach – advancing the common good by focusing on the basic things we all need for a good life: education, income and health. Some of the local initiatives you may recognize include United Way 2-1-1, an information and referral service, a volunteer center that connects people with volunteer opportunities, and Success By 6, which helps ensure that young children are born healthy remain healthy, are nurtured and ready to enter school by age six.
2008 MINORITY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS: