Terri Stumpe was given the perfect way to celebrate her Royal Collection business’ 30th anniversary Thursday night at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year awards reception.
Royal Collection was selected over five other finalists as the chamber’s 2016 Small Business of the year, leaving Stumpe “looking forward to the next 30 years.”
“This is such an honor, it means the world to me,” Stumpe said after becoming the 16th recipient of the chamber honor. “When you own a small business, you don’t really have time to think about things like awards. You’re too busy just running the business.
“I have five employees, and I certainly couldn’t keep the business going without all of them. What a great way to celebrate 30 years in business.”
Bill and Candace Parks’ Southern Commercial Materials was selected as first runner-up by the chamber’s Small Business Resource Committee, and the father/son owners of Cycle World, Terry and Terrell Hoffman, accepted the chamber’s second runner-up award.
“Construction in our area really dried up during the recession of 2008-2009, so we had to reinvent ourselves,” Bill Parks said of Southern Commercial Materials’ strategy. “We decided to expand what we did, to go into areas we hadn’t been before. It was a very big job for us and our 16 employees; we had to find people to teach us about the new areas of business. But it paid off for us.”
The Hoffmans are the sole employees of Cycle World, which is celebrating 42 years in business, and Terry Hoffman said the chamber award goes a long way in validating their hard work.
“We’ve been here 42 years, and we still have people come in and say, ‘I didn’t know you were here,’” Hoffman said. “But we’ve managed to stay in business by giving the best customer service possible. That’s allowed us to move into the next generation of customers, the sons and daughters of people who’ve been loyal customers over the years.”
Other finalists for the chamber awards were Charlie’s Paint and Body, the Bread House & Granary, and Southern Point Staffing.
The owners of those businesses received plaques commemorating their selection as finalists.
“There were some amazing businesses nominated this year, and I think you can see by the three winners that it’s a very diverse group,” chamber Small Business Resource Committee Chairwoman Tammy McCary said. “And because of the process we use, a points system based on a number of criteria, the businesses that win know they earned the recognition. The system doesn’t allow for ‘buddy’ selections.”
McCrary understands the process well. The chamber volunteer’s ComNet Technical Services Inc. was named the 2015 Small Business of the year.
“That was amazing, it really got our name out there,” McCrary said. “We’ve said all along that we have the best employees in the world, and so many new customers got to see what we were talking about (after CTSI received the chamber honor). I feel like Miss America tonight, having to give back my ‘crown.’ But I’m happy that we’re honoring such amazing businesses tonight.”
Chamber Board Chairman Ed Newsome called small businesses like the ones honored by the chamber Thursday “the heart and soul of America’s free enterprise system.”
Interim Chamber President Barbara Rivera Holmes emphasized the group’s Think Local campaign by noting, “For every $100 spent at a small, locally-owned business, $68 stays in the local economy.”
Article courtesy of The Albany Herald
By Carlton Fletcher