Businesses from around the state gathered virtually on Dec. 4 in anticipation to see who would be named the 2020 Small Business of the Year Award winners. This award, presented annually by the Business Council of Alabama and the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, seeks to recognize our state’s top small businesses and the impact they have on their surrounding communities.
“Small business is the heartbeat of our communities. Each and every business nominated for the Small Business of the Year Awards provides innumerable contributions to the success of our state, ” said Katie Boyd Britt, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. “I am thrilled to recognize these incredible businesses and celebrate their many accomplishments.”
The 2020 Small Business of the Year Awards were held in conjunction with The Partnership’s Annual Meeting.
“We all know that small businesses provide the most jobs and make the most economic impact, especially in our state,” said Jeremy Arthur, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. “The Partnership is thrilled to highlight and showcase the ‘best of the best’ in small business across our great state.”
This year, 44 businesses were chosen as finalists for these prestigious awards. The finalists were reviewed by a panel of out-of-state judges in areas including community involvement, chamber participation, business success and overall deservedness. There were four award categories with three winners in each: Emerging Small Business for those in business for less than five years, businesses with one to 10 employees, businesses with 11 to 50 employees and businesses with 51 to 100 employees.
Emerging Small Business of the Year: Lucy’s
Lucy’s is a neighborhood eatery located in Auburn, and has quickly become a staple in the community. Their motto is, “Good Vibes Only,” and they strive to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all. “We at Lucy’s are absolutely thrilled to have won the Gold level award in the Emerging Small Business Category,” said Lisa van Der Reijden, owner of Lucy’s. “We are humbled and encouraged to continue to serve our community and guests from the heart.”
Lucy’s was nominated by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. “The Auburn Chamber was thrilled to see Lucy’s honored as the top emerging small business in our state,” said Lolly Steiner, president of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. “Lucy’s is a unique aspect of Auburn and we encourage you to stop by for an amazing experience whenever you are in town. Even through the unknowns of 2020, we watched the team at Lucy’s be resilient and creative. We celebrate this award with Lisa and her team!”
The other businesses recognized in this category were Bama in a Box of Troy, winning the Silver Award, and Market Shoppes of Wetumpka, taking home the Bronze Award. The remaining finalists were BC Fitness of Bay Minette, Coastal Alabama Insurance & Financial Services, LLC of Gulf Shores, Coles’s Ice Cream & Coffee of Monroeville, Family Home Furniture of Millbrook, Kids First Pediatric Urgent Care, LLC of Florence, River Towne Real Estate Group of Gadsden, Session Bar of Tuscaloosa, Stacey Little Media of Prattville, Trailwares of Sylacauga, and Wyndy of Birmingham.
1-10 Employee Small Business of the Year: Marble City Pharmacy
Marble City Pharmacy, located in the heart of Sylacauga, is a mainstay of the Sylacauga community. They provide knowledge, compassion, and friendliness that contributes to the success of their family owned business. “We are extremely thankful to receive the Small Business Gold Award. Serving our patients and our community is a joy to us. To be recognized in this way is gratifying,” said Jared Johnson, co-owner of Marble City Pharmacy. “There are many small businesses even in our city that deserve this type of recognition. We want to thank all of them for their service and wish them continued success in the future.”
Marble City Pharmacy was nominated by the Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce. “Small Business is the heartbeat of our community. Marble City Pharmacy, a family owned small business, is a true community partner sharing their servant’s heart beyond the walls of their business,” said Laura Strickland, Sylacauga Chamber Executive Director. “To see their accomplishments recognized by their peers is truly rewarding. They are the face of business in Sylacauga!”
The other businesses recognized in this category were John Emerald Distilling of Opelika, earning the Silver Award, and Alabama World Travel of Montgomery, winning the Bronze Award. The remaining finalists were Blooming Fabulous of Bay Minette, Dana’s Floral Design of Prattville, Eat My Beats of Tuscaloosa, Elite Flooring America of Decatur, Front Porch Grill of Millbrook, Hornsby Farms of Auburn, JJPR of Daphne, Rainbow International Restoration of Gadsden, Sarcor, LLC of Birmingham, Stastka Insurance Agency LLC of Robertsdale, The JReed Agency LLC of Opp, United Bank – Monroeville Branch, and WAQZX Radio Q94 Haynes Broadcasting of Greenville.
11-50 Employee Small Business of the Year: Calagaz Printing
Calagaz Printing of Mobile has grown over three generations into a full commercial print shop, serving both the local commercial printing market and creating support materials for the restaurant industry. From specific printing to signage and promotional item needs, Calagaz Printing understands and meets the needs of their local and regional customers. “It is an honor (and humbling) to have the company and the team recognized with such a prestigious award from such great organizations,” said Joe Calagaz, owner of Calagaz Printing. “We hope that we can continue to support our customers and communities in whatever way we can, so that all of us can come out stronger than we were.”
Calagaz Printing was nominated by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. “For three generations, Calagaz has been a cornerstone in the Mobile area. We are proud of their positive impact on our economy and their commitment to our community,” said Darrell Randle, vice president for small business development at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. “For example, when COVID-19 hit and PPE was hard to get, the company repurposed printing equipment to design and produce face shields for our hospitals. Calagaz and local small businesses like them have proven that they can quickly adapt to rapidly changing markets to make our community a better place to live, work, and play.”
The other businesses recognized in this category were JNJ Apparel of Tuscaloosa, taking home the Silver Award, and Induron Protective Coatings of Birmingham, earning the Bronze Award. The remaining finalists were BWS Technologies of Prattville, Campbell Development, LLC of Gadsden, Heritage South Credit Union of Sylacauga, R&R Construction of Monroeville, Tacorita of Auburn, and The Wash of Millbrook.
51-100 Employee Small Business of the Year: Chuck’s and Five
Chuck’s and Five are downtown Tuscaloosa sister restaurants that deliver top-notch dining experiences with wonderful food, stellar service, and great atmospheres. From fresh gulf seafood to naturally-raised cut-in-house beef, everything at Chuck’s and Five is locally prepared from scratch and offered at great value with excellent service. “We are tremendously honored to receive the Small Business of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce Association and the Business Council of Alabama,” said Erin Barfield, Chief Accounting Officer for Chuck’s Fish and Five Bar. “This award is a testament to our employees who have stayed strong through a challenging and unprecedented year. It is also a testament to the city of Tuscaloosa – a community that always rallies to support each other. We’re grateful to be a part of it.”
Chuck’s and Five was nominated by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. “Chuck’s and Five are excellent examples of the best of the best in small business,” said Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber. “Not only do they provide outstanding food, top-notch service, and an unmatched dining experience, they are exceptional corporate citizens. They give without being asked, and they truly understand the benefit of civic rent and supporting your community – both in good times and in times of need. We couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The other businesses recognized in this category were Niffer’s Place of Auburn, winning the Silver Award, and Airtek Construction of Troy, taking home the Bronze Award. The remaining finalists were Exchange Bank of Gadsden, Longhorn Steakhouse of Prattville, and Valley Rubber, LLC of Falkville
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan, statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.