The finalists for the 2011 Chamber Small Business and Entrepreneur of the Year:
Ellis Meat Market
Frazier's Flowers & Gifts
St. Andrews Builders
With my entrepreneurial days behind me, I do forget sometimes just how hard and stressful it can be to be a small business owner. You haven't lived until you have to make payroll, or let somebody go, not because of job performance, but because the work simply wasn't there. Or maybe your largest client doesn't, or can't pay you, and it ripples throughout your business.
While all of this is the negative side of running your own show, it can be one of the most rewarding, indescribable, almost addicting experiences as well, and that is why I salute anyone willing to put it all on the line.
May 26, the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce will announce the 2011 Small Business of the Year as well as the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year at a luncheon in the Quality Inn and Suites ballroom.
I have to admit that the reaction of Allen Fordham, co-owner of nominee Fordham's Farmhouse restaurant, was pleasantly surprising. Fordham was truly humbled by the nomination that his restaurant received.
"When my wife Suzy and I opened the restaurant seven years ago, we weren't sure if anyone would actually come," he said. "I remember looking through the front windows out into the parking lot on the first day that we opened, thinking to myself, 'what have we done'?"
The Fordhams made a good decision, as the restaurant has expanded and is a staple in the community.
"Whether we win or not, it is just great to be recognized," he said. "This is such a difficult job in that you have to wear so many hats. I don't have a bunch of executives at the home office helping me with marketing or purchasing, we have to do it all. Some days it can be overwhelming, but we love it."
Joe Davis, owner of Georgia Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Statesboro, is co-chairman of the small business committee responsible for selecting this year's winners.
"We are focusing on businesses with less than 50 employees, who are very involved in the community, and have a great reputation," he said. "These businesses are making an economic impact. We have some great nominees this year."
If you are interested in attending this year's luncheon, tickets are still available. Contact Courtney Mills at (912) 489-9119. She can also be reached by email: email@example.com.