10th Annual Small Business Awards names 5 award recipients
Published 1:58 pm Monday, May 23, 2022
By MEG HERNDON | Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA – Small business owners came together to celebrate the positive economic impact small business has on Shelby County at The Shelby County Chamber’s 10th Annual Small Business Awards.
According to The Shelby County Chamber, “The purpose of the “Small Business Awards” program is to support Shelby County small businesses by recognizing successful companies and spotlight the businesses that play a vital role in building our Shelby County communities and overall economy.”
The community luncheon featured speaker Dr. Bruce Irwin, the founder and CEO of American Family Care.
Irwin discussed how he got the idea to start American Family Care after he spent time in the emergency room with his dad and as an emergency room physician. He saw how many non-emergency patients were taking time and resources away from the ER.
He then sketched a plan for a network of urgent care clinics despite not having any schooling in business. Irwin explained how he had to ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research and study, all things he was used to doing as a doctor.
When things weren’t going to plan, Irwin found another way to achieve his goals.
“I put all the numbers to it and it wouldn’t work,” Irwin said. “If I opened that clinic I would fail, I would go broke. it was too expensive. So I came up with an idea that was pretty unique. I said, ‘Wait a minute, what if I open more than one?’ So I came up with, I needed to open a minimum of three. So I decided I would open four.”
He went on to open his first location in Hoover, and now AFC has almost 300 clinics in the U.S. and a new location opens every six days.
Irwin also discussed how important small businesses are, not just locally but nationally.
“I think small business is a bit of an oxymoron,” Irwin said. “They say Wall Street runs the economy, no it doesn’t, small businesses do.”
He said that Shelby County has always been good to him and American Family Care and that AFC is “committed to Shelby County.”
“I’ve been a resident of Shelby County for over 30 years. My kids grew up here, my company is headquartered here and we’ve got four clinics in Shelby County – Pelham, Alabaster, Calera, Greystone and we’re building one in Chelsea.”
The awards recognized recipients in five categories at the Grande Hall at Old Mill Square On Wednesday, May 18.
The five categories’ recipients are as follows:
- Small Business of the Year-Category I: 1-5 Employees, Open 1 Year or More – Creations Galore & Moore
- Small Business of the Year-Category II: 6-10 Employees, Open 1 Year or More – Blues, Bourbon, & Brews
- Small Business of the Year-Category III: 11-20 Employees, Open 1 Year or More – Vinehouse Nursery
- Small Business of the Year-Category IV: 21+ Employees, Open 1 Year or More – Drytech Water Resoration
- New Small Business of the Year-Category V: Less Than 25 Employees, Open Less Than 1 Year – Daysol Coffee Lab
Nominees for the awards included:
- Advanced Landscape Services Inc.
- Adventurers Coffee Co.
- Bama Burgers
- Buck Creek Coffee House
- Blues, Bourbon, & Brews
- Champion’s Boxing,
- Creations Galore & Moore
- Daysol Coffee Lab
- Delta Blues Hot Tamales
- Drain Right Guttering
- Drytech Water Restoration
- Ensley Fairfield Mattress
- Falcon Art Supply
- Fuzzy Buttz Pet Supply
- Gagliano Mortgage Inc.
- Low Latency Communications Inc.
- Mobile Fleet Specialists of Birmingham
- Oak Mountain Brewing Co.
- Plant, LLC
- Restoration 1
- Reverie Customs
- Royal Restoration
- Rux Carter Insurance
- Save My Cell
- Shelby Baptist Association
- Specification Rubber Products
- Ryan Fagerstrom State Farm Agency
- Strand Coffeehouse
- Team Lehman
- T. Fox Salonspa Aveda
- The Arc of Shelby County
- The Soul Spot
- Temperature Pro Birmingham
- Urban Home Market
- Vinehouse Nursery