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Joiner-Anderson named Small Business of the Year
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Chris Mitchell of Pladd Dot Music entertains the crowd as well as wife Ashlee, right, while accepting the award for Entrepreneur of the Year during Wednesday's Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Small Business and Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Luncheon at R.J.'s Seafood & Steaks. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    With a graphics design business, music studio and lessons classroom, retail music equipment and more under one roof, it’s no wonder Pladd Dot Music was honored as the 2009 Entrepreneur Wednesday at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce Small Business & Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Luncheon, held at RJ’s Steaks & Seafood.
    This year is the first time the Entrepreneur of the Year award was given. Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home was named the Small Business of the Year, and is the 16th local business since 1994 to receive the honor.
    Pladd Dot Music and Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home were chosen from a fleet of local, successful businesses, said Russell Rosengart, chairman of the Chamber’s Small Business Committee.
     Those businesses included 180 Fitness, Dabbs-Williams General Contractors, Free Spirit Pottery, Gnat’s Landing, Pope Construction, Split Ends and Valli’s Precision Collision Center.
    Mary Beth Bass of the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center (CRDC) spoke during the meeting, informing those attending how the agency is dedicated to helping promote economic development. Bass congratulated the owners of businesses nominated for the awards.
    “It takes a lot of courage to do what you do ... and you are the backbone of the community,” she said.
    Only 31 percent of small businesses survive, and the CRDC offers resources to help those businesses succeed, she said. “We really try to keep in touch with your needs through our board.”
    The CRDC works with governmental agencies  and offers administrative services, aging services, planning and government services, and mapping/government services, she said.
    “We provide a host of services and usually you see us in the government realm,” she said.
    Jack Connor, owner of Coldwell Banker/Tanner Realty, recipient of the 2008 Small Business of the Year Award, presented the awards.
    He began with a tale of how Tracy Joiner started “right out of high school”  and joined partner Mark Anderson a few years later, entering a field where most funeral homes were being bought by conglomerates.
    “Given the current economic climate, not only to survive, but to succeed, speaks volumes,” he said, praising Joiner and Anderson as well as others for  keeping the businesses local and family oriented.
    Joiner and Anderson both accepted the award, and Joiner spoke.
    “Thank you very much,” he said. “Thanks to Peggy (Chapman, Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce president) and the Chamber for everything y’all do for the small businesses in Bulloch County. We’ve been very blessed and I thank the God Lord for all we’ve done.
    “This business is seven days a week, 24 hours a day and ( their families) have had to learn to live with that,” he said. He also praised his employees, calling them “the backbone of our business.”
    Rosengart, who is also owner of Statesboro’s Sonic Drive-In restaurants,  presented Chris Mitchell, owner of Pladd Dot Music, with the inaugural Entrepreneur Award.
    He spoke about how Mitchell began his business with a graphics design company in 196, and how it grew when he added private music lessons later that year and expanded to sell retail music equipment in 2005, and later, began installing professional sound equipment in 2008.
    As if that weren’t enough, Mitchell has developed his own guitar design which will be sold this summer, he said.
    As he accepted the award, Mitchell appeared overwhelmed.
    “Wow,” he said. “It’s very much an honor to be here. There were a lot of really good candidates on the docket.”
     Mitchell said when he was 15 years old, “I asked God for two things — to work with music for the rest of my life and I want $1 million. He’s halfway  there.”
    He said his job is a blessing. “I love what I do when I go to my job every day, and I don’t take that for granted.”

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