Chamber awards small business owners of the year

Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce President Kirk Mancer speaks during the Chamber's first small business owner of the year award lunch on May 22 at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce President Kirk Mancer speaks during the Chamber’s first small business owner of the year award lunch on May 22 at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

As Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce President Kirk Mancer was looking over his Chamber membership roster, a trend jumped out at him.

“Seventy percent of our membership could be considered small businesses,” Mancer said. “I thought it was important for us to recognize the economic impact that sector makes in Shelby County.”

Mancer and the Chamber’s small business task force used the membership information to plan the organization’s inaugural small business owners of the year award luncheon on May 22.

During the lunch, the Chamber recognized the 21 nominees for the award, and named the winners in three categories based on business size.

The nominees included Will Green of Alabaster Optical, Katie Baker Bolton with Baker Lamps and Linens, Bryan Parker with Bryan Parker CPA, Bill Jones with Bryant Bank, David Schlueter with Bick Creek Stained Glass, Matt Howard and Cathy McKay of Carpet Outlet of Pelham, John LeBreche with Covenant Classical School and Daycare, Jim Davis with Davis Drug and Richard Byrd with Donut Joe’s.

Other nominees were Keith Davis with Fit 24, Naseem Ajlouny with Alabaster’s Full Moon Barbecue, Steve Issis with Issis and Sons, Sonia Bertolone with Joe’s Italian, Miranda Carter with Chelsea’s Johnny Ray’s, Bobby White with Reliance Financial Group, George Bentley with Rux Carter Insurance, Bill Davis with Sav More Food Outlet, Dr. Corey Hartman with Skin Wellness Center of Alabama, Lora Lunsford with The Bead Biz, Tre Morton with The UPS Store in Hoover and Travis Walker and Scot Bruce with Walker Backflow and Fire Protection Services.

“It’s a big honor just to be nominated for this award,” Mancer said.

After collecting the 21 nominees, the Chamber called in an outside panel to name the winners in three categories. Walker and Bruce were named the winners in the 1-10 employees category, Byrd was named the winner of the 11-20 employees category and Bill Davis won the 21-and-more employees category.

“It behooves us to recognize what small businesses mean to Shelby County,” Mancer said. “This is a small way for us to start doing that.”