Kingsport, Tenn. - The winners of the 2009 Annual KOSBE Awards have been named by the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE).
1. Edo Sushi Bar & Grill (May Ling Hu-Lai & Benson Lai) took First Place in the category for Young Entrepreneur Award (under age 40). The owners have been in their new location at the intersection of I-26 and W Stone Drive in Kingsport for over two and a half years, and opened a second location in Johnson City in September 2009. The runner up for young entrepreneur was StudioTan (Reid & Kristin Burton), which opened in the new Food City Shopping Center on Eastman Road in October 2007. Studio Tan is looking at opening a second location in 2010.
2. Phil's Dream Pit LLC (Phil & Dianna Pipkin) took First Place for New Business (in operation for at least 12 months but not more than 36 months). In addition to running the restaurant and catering business, Phil’s Dream Pit has begun bottling their Original Sweet BBQ and Sweet Fire BBQ sauces to sell in retail stores. Pinnacle Ranch LLC (Holly Hopson & Ellen Stroud) was runner up for a new business. The main services offered by Pinnacle are equine-assisted psychotherapy, growth and learning, and organizational development.
3. Maxwell Coach Company, Inc. (Charles W. Maxwell) was awarded First Place for Business Excellence Employing Under 10 Employees. Maxwell has four vehicles: a 56-passenger motorcoach, a 50-passenger motorcoach, a 15-passenger van, and a 7-passenger van for business, sports and leisure trips and tours. A Team Real Estate Professionals (Pam Addington) was named runner up. A Team has remained in the top five real estate agencies in Kingsport, and is 10th in the entire Northeast Tennessee.
4. Clean + Safe Janitorial Services (John Humphries) received the sole award for Business Excellence Employing 10 Employees and Up. Clean + Safe, employing 50 employees, is also known throughout the region as “The Happy Janitors.” In the last year, post-construction cleanup has been the biggest area of growth for the company. This is the second KOSBE Award presented to Clean + Safe. The company was also named a winner in 2005. Selections were made based on reported past financial performance, growth in number of employees, business staying power and history, story of success overcoming adversity, community involvement, marketing creativity, and presented strategies for growth.
The recipient of the Impact Award for an outstanding individual and small business advocate was presented to Joyce Grills, The Haggle Shop. Debbie Dykes of River Mtn. Antiques & Primitives nominated Joyce Grills because she tells everyone she meets how wonderful downtown is. “Joyce made a point of visiting River Mtn. Antiques often, and checking to make sure that everything was going well for me,” said the new business owner, Debbie Dykes. “She takes the time to talk with people and get to know them. Joyce has been instrumental in helping River Mtn. Antiques get started in our new location. She sees downtown Kingsport as a vibrant business community with a diversity of service and retail merchants.”
Also during the ceremony, Kingsport City Mayor Dennis Phillips and KOSBE Chair Ken Frohlich of GTS Refreshment Services presented Michael Strickland, keynote speaker and Chairman of Knoxville-based Bandit Lites --the second largest lighting hire company in the world –with the key to the city, for setting the example and inspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to succeed. Bill Dudney, Citizens Bank, introduced Strickland, who told attendees that they must believe in themselves first, above anything or anyone else. He said, “Just go ahead and buy the big shoes, and grow into them.” He also said that much of his success was built on learning, earning, and returning. Strickland has been involved in myriad charities and nonprofits. According to Strickland, “To have continued success, you need opportunity, luck and determination.”
The title sponsor of the 2009 Annual KOSBE Awards is Southeast Community Capital. Additional sponsors include Citizens Bank, Clark & Company Development, GTS Refreshment Services, Integrity Capital Management, Kingsport Times-News, Leinbach Building Services, Pal’s Business Excellence Institute, Plastic Surgery Center of East Tennessee, the Small Business Administration (SBA), Triten Insurance & Financial Services Inc., Urban Synergy, and Wilson Worley Moore Gamble & Stout PC. The awards ceremony was recorded by Elixir Media Group - Web Design Media Marketing Group in Tri-Cities, and will be shown on the City of Kingsport's government access channel, MyTown Channel 16 TV, in the coming weeks.
www.MoveToKingsport.com is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the Eastern U.S. This city of 50,000 in a metro of 308,000, was planned by renowned American planner John Nolen in his office at Harvard Square. Located in the lush green foothills of the Tennessee Valley, it is surrounded by the Southern Highlands and mountain lakes. Kingsport is home to Marriott’s www.MeadowViewResort.com and thousands of acres of unique, natural amenities at Bays Mountain and Warriors Path Parks. The natural geography provides a temperate, well-balanced climate with four seasons and a natural shelter from extreme weather. Population growth has also been well-balanced, ensuring you will not outgrow your decision to relocate. With no personal property taxes, special assessments, or state income taxes on salaries/wages, you’ll find that Kingsport has a very low cost of living coupled with an exceptionally high quality of life (see for yourself at www.BestPlaces.net). The regional airport (TRI) has direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and St. Pete/Clearwater with easy access, parking, and virtually no security lines. The public education system was planned by Columbia University and Newsweek has repeatedly recognized the local high school as one of the best in America. Year in and year out our graduates go on to the top colleges and universities (and without costly private school tuition fees). Harvard also recognized Kingsport in 2009 with the Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiative. What are you waiting for? It’s time to leave the high costs, traffic jams, and stress behind and discover this hidden gem.