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Manatee Chamber honors small businesses

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  • | 4:00 a.m. June 7, 2009
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The Manatee Chamber of Commerce recognized five small businesses during the 2009 Small Business of the Year Awards Luncheon June 4 at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium.

This program annually recognizes five small businesses for quality and excellence as exemplified by growth, productivity, customer service, job creation and overall contribution to the community.

The winners are as follows:

On A Shoestring, Steve and Sharon Litschauer
This smallest of the small companies illustrated a number of redeeming qualities that endeared them to  judges. With less than 10 employees and only in business for less than four years, this company has experienced phenomenal growth over the last three years — tripling in sales over that timeframe.

The business has a unique and progressive marketing effort that also serves the community. It provides many free seminars/clinics; is employee focused – empowering their executive team members to make their own decisions on products and services; and scored higher than most of the other categorical winners in community service (even though it the number of employees of a larger firm).

Campus Books, Mary Bennett
The second winner has fewer employees than the first. Its annual sales averaged more than 10% over the last three years. Doubling their advertising budget helped to make 2008 a bigger year.The business  continues to diversify  advertising methods. In the wake of today’s economic crisis and the green movement, this company recycles products within its customer base. Campus Books also looks to serve a larger geographical area in the future.

Suncoast Gem Lab, Thomas Seguin
Suncoast Gem Lab has enjoyed consistent sales in the last three years, thanks in large part to Seguin's commitment to a strong business plan, customer service, mission statement and community contributions. 

In light of a  difficult time six months ago with a 60% drop in sales, Suncoast Gem Lab focused on what sets them apart from others and what they do best.

Turner Tree & Landscape, Darrell Turner:
Turner Tree & Landscape is the recipient of the first annual Paul Bartley Community Award.

To compete in the down economy, Turner Tree & Landscape has gone to four 10-hour days, reduced its fleet, sold off excess equipment and provided second-year product warranties. Eighty percent of this $9 million business relies upon return customers.

In special recognition of the Paul Bartley Community Award, Jess Jewelers (downtown) presented a diamond laced, pearl face watch.

Coastal Orthopedics & Pain Management, Arthur Valadie, MD and James Needham
The largest category winner, topping out at the over $25 million amount, averaged more than a 15% increase in sales in the last three years.

Coastal Orthopedics & Pain Management has been in business longer than any of the other winners — more than 30 years. Expansion plans are expected the next three to five years.

Finalists for the 2009 Manatee Small Business of the Year
Aadvantage Displays & Graphics, Inc.
Dorothy M. Pierson
Ad-VANCE Talent Solutions, Inc.
Brion Sunseri
All Baskets VAMtastic!
Vicky Albright-McNally
Atlanta Bread
Heinz & Bonnie Wiechmann
Boyd Insurance & Investment Services, Inc.
James E. Boyd & L. Pat Osburn
Ezra Fine Foods, Inc.
Dr. Donna Eason
Frederick Auto Repair, Inc.
Robert S. Frederick
Gator Plumbing, Inc.
William W. Smock
Global Organic Specialty Source, Inc.
Mitch Blumenthal
Grapevine Communications Intl., Inc.
Angela Massaro-Fain & John Fain
Hornback Chiropractic & Wellness, P.A.
Cynthia Hornback
Integrated Tech Support, Inc.
Donald L. Scheid
Kirk Pinkerton, P.A.
Mark Barnebey
Maintenance Too Paper Company, Inc.
John R. Hargreaves
Manatee Diagnostic Center
Angus W. Graham, Jr. M.D.
Manatee Surgical Center
Linda Nash and Jan Ross
Mercedes Medical, Inc.
Noelle Haft, Alexandra Miller and Andrew Wright
Moonlight Marketing Group, LLC
Yonilee Miller
RPM Business Advisors, LLC
Marc Simms
Seychelles Spa, Inc.
Caroline Freeman
Southern Comfort One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating
Rick Allard
Susan Humphreys Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Susan Humphreys
Vreman Insurance Services, dba Great Florida Insurance
Martin & Denise Vreman
Weaver Landscaping, Inc.
Paul Weaver