The Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce will host its Small Business & Entrepreneur of the Year Luncheon this Thursday at RJ's Seafood and Steaks Restaurant. This will be the 17th consecutive year that the Chamber has recognized an outstanding small business in this area.
“This year’s ceremony is sort of bitter-sweet in a way,” said the Chamber’s Small Business Committee chairman Russell Rosengart. “It has been a very difficult couple of years for small businesses in this country. That is why I think it is very important to recognize small businesses and their contributions to their communities and to our country.”
Rosengart said that many small, local businesses have survived and thrived which is a testament to the individuals that run them and to Bulloch County itself.
“Many companies have had to learn new ways to operate their businesses, how to keep their cash flow positive when access to capital is so difficult,” he said. “We may be honoring small businesses today, but to our committee, they are big businesses.”
There are eleven nominees for the Small Business of the Year award including many first time nominees. One of those is Mal-Ad Promotions which was founded in 1982 by Michael Mallard and his father.
“I feel that it is a big honor to be nominated,” Mallard said. “This is a very big deal to us. My family and I have worked hard over the last 28 years to build a family business. To be on the list with a lot of impressive companies means a lot. It means that we must be doing something right.”
Mal-Ad has 15 employees and several independent sales representatives. “This recession has been very difficult on everyone,” Mallard said. “It seems to have affected industries across the board. This recognition was unexpected, but certainly very much appreciated.”
GBH Carrots in Clito was also nominated. “We think Statesboro is a growing, progressive community with a lot of aspects to it,” said Jamie Brannen, a partner in the company. “To be included with the other nominees is very humbling.”
Brannen attributes a great deal of the carrot production company’s success to his partner Dan Hall. “Dan is a huge part of this operation,” he said. “He is the carrot guru. Terry (Gerrald) and I are just the farmers that are following in his footsteps.”
Brannen said his company has 50 employees. Brannen and Gerrald also own and operate Gerrald's Sweet Vidalia Onions.