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Tennessee Small Business Development Center Presents 2013 Small Business Leader Awards

Star Staff ReportsRS3_2256a

DYERSBURG — The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) of Dyersburg State Community College recently held the third annual celebration of small business owners and entrepreneurship of the Northwest Tennessee region.
The Third Annual Rising Star Small Business Gala and Awards Banquet was held Nov. 15 in the Baptist Memorial Health Care Academic Building Commons of Dyersburg State Community College Jimmy Naifeh Center at Tipton County in Covington, Tennessee.
In an Academy Awards style event sponsored by First Citizens National Bank, First State Bank, and the Tennessee Small Business Development Lead Center, complete with red carpet arrivals and paparazzi, guests enjoyed a delicious catered meal, followed by a program of awards and networking. During the program, guests enjoyed an entertaining and educational keynote address provided by a true West Tennessee success story, Kathleen Armour Walker. Walker, the only female Master Pewtersmith in the United States and the youngest by more than 30 years, is the owner and artist of Tennessee Pewter.
Tennessee Pewter, located in Somerville, manufactures pewter products that have been adorning homes all across the nation for decades. Under Walker’s ownership and design artistry it has now expanded into a thriving gift line as well. Walker’s designs can also be seen in the hands of many award recipients at various prestigious awards programs, such as the recent Memphis Music Awards. She and her company have been featured in numerous magazine and journal articles, as well as the popular television show, Tennessee Crossroads. Walker resides in Brownsville with her husband Dan and their two Golden Pyrenees. At the conclusion of her presentation, Maleia Evans, Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center of Dyersburg State Community College and host of the event, surprised Walker and the Tennessee Pewter staff with a presentation and announcement of Tennessee Pewter’s induction into the Tennessee Small Business Development Center Hall of Fame.
The Rising Star Award is presented each year to an entrepreneur who followed the proven strategies and prescriptions for their business and successfully reached new benchmarks in their company’s success. The 2013 Rising Star Award was presented to HYDRATREK, Inc., located in Covington.
Allan Rose, co-owner, and Kevin Gay, President, worked diligently on strengthening their operations and increasing their market share by focusing on customer service, quality product training, and employee relations.
Their efforts have resulted in increased sales revenues which provided the company the strength they needed to sustain each of the existing jobs they provide and paves the way for the creation of new jobs on the horizon.
The 2013 New Start-Up Small Business of the Year was presented to Noel Howe, owner of CrossKick Gym, located in Atoka. This year’s award recipient successfully started a business in early 2013 with better-than-projected sales and net profits. This new business also created several new jobs in South Tipton County. CrossKick Gym is a model of best practices within the TSBDC network of clients.
Each year the TSBDC recognizes a minority- or woman-owned business that has successfully set themselves apart from their competition, found innovative ways to sustain and grow their business and has persevered in their efforts to become successful entrepreneurs. The 2013 Women in Business Champion of the Year was awarded to Debbie Apfel of The Freckled Frog Children’s Boutique. Along with her daughter, Kendra Parr, Apfel is building a legacy of women becoming successful business owners through hard work, dedication to their employees, and putting customers’ needs first. This business philosophy makes The Freckled Frog a business to be modeled after.
The TSBDC unveiled the name of the small business owner and company who will be nominated by the Center for the 2014 United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Award. Each year, the TSBDC of Dyersburg State Community College nominates a client who has excelled in the five pillars of business success; people, service, quality, growth and finance.
The nomination can be made in a variety of categories. Recently expanding store-front locations and embarking on a strong online product base, Felecia Bella Boutiques, founded in Rutherford, is moving forward with improving their operations, increasing sales, and most importantly creating jobs. The TSBDC is pleased to announce the nomination of Felecia Teddleton, owner of Felecia Bella Boutiques, for the 2014 SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year award. Winners, both State and National level, will be announced by the United States SBA during National Small Business Week in May 2014.
Receiving high honors at the Gala and Awards and being announced as the 2013 TSBDC Featured Success Story of the Year is McCurdy Sod Farms of Dyer. Bob and Suzanne McCurdy, owners and successful turf grass farmers, have a long history of putting customers’ needs first by providing a quality product produced by loyal and happy employees. Their reputation for giving back to the community is unsurpassed by any of their competition.
Their willingness to move the company in a forward direction through innovation and technology earned them the honor of being featured in the 2013 TSBDC Annual Summary Report as the Small Business Success Story of the Year. The Annual Summary is a premier report which is reviewed by leading entrepreneurs and investors across the nation, as well as being hand-delivered by TSBDC Director, Maleia Evans, to each Congressional Representative of TN in Washington, D.C. each spring. Being featured in the TSBDC Annual Summary earns the featured business national exposure for their proven success and best practices.
The assistance of resource partners enables the Tennessee Small Business Development Centers to further their efforts in fulfilling their mission of entrepreneurship education, training, and advocacy. Each year, a valuable resource partner is recognized for their contributions to furthering the message of the availability of TSBDC free services and advocating for small businesses to pursue success through TSBDC assistance. The Crockett County Chamber of Commerce took top honors as the 2013 TSBDC Resource Partner of the Year.
Other awards presented during the 2013 TSBDC Rising Star Gala and Awards Banquet included: Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year, Lieutenant General John G. Castellaw, USMC (Ret); Niche Business of the Year, Wings Fitness (Chas and Jennifer Weems of Trenton); Lender of the Year, Jan Phillips (Patriot Bank); Financial Institution of the Year, First State Bank (Danny Watson, Community Bank President, Dyersburg); and Media Champion of the Year, Vanessa Cain (State Gazette of Dyersburg).

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