“We are very, very proud to be such an important part of an amazing community,” said Dr. Elizabeth Upchurch as her company, Beach Pet Hospital, took home the overall title of Hampton Roads Chamber 2017 Small Business of the Year. Dr. Upchurch knew she had already won The Hampton Roads Virginia Beach Small Business of the Year before the ceremony on May 2. The overall winner was a welcome surprise to Dr. Upchurch and her team. The judges noted the extreme levels of customer service Beach Pet Hospital staff delivers to their customers, both two and four-legged.
Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO Bryan Stephens began the event by noting the Chamber’s dedication to small businesses as the “backbone of the economy.” The Hampton Roads Chamber puts on the Small Business of the Year event each year as part of the mission to be a powerful economic partner to all businesses, small and large. Chesapeake winner Charlie Hackwork, President of Hackworth/The Graphics Shop, said he already had doors opening to new business with the earlier announcement of the Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year for Chesapeake. Hackworth was honored by Mayor Alan Krasnoff during the Hampton Roads Chesapeake State of the City Address on April 27. Mayor Krasnoff was on hand for the Small Business of the Year awards to honor the Hackworths.
And One Marketing took home the inaugural Top to Watch award. The Top to Watch award honors emerging businesses via a people’s choice vote. This category is for businesses that have been in business for less than 3 years but are making big strides in the local small business community. In its first year, the Top to Watch award registered over 7,000 votes, with And One Marketing taking home the win. “The best decision we made was to join the Chamber” said Renée Ainslie-Rodriguez of And One Marketing, "thank you to all our supportive clients and thank you to everyone that voted."
The Small Business of the Year Awards, presented by Southern Bank, awards a small business of the year from every Southside city before the overall winner is chosen by a panel of judges. This year the city winners were as follows:
Two other award winners were announced previously, Christina Sims of Beach Pet Hospital won the 2017 G& W Leadership Award while Christine Holley of Wasserhund Brewing Company won the Young Entrepreneur Award.
The program included an update on the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center's PROPEL program Jim Carroll, by Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, Carroll noted businesses who participate in the mentor program have a much higher level of success than those who try to go it alone. Anyone seeking assistance with a small or emerging business can contact the SBDC via their website www.hrsbdc.org
The Small Business of the Year awards coincides with National Small Business Week which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Small businesses account for approximately 85% of the Hampton Roads Chamber’s total membership and we do everything possible to ensure their success. The Small Business of the Year Awards is one of many ways we support our small business members. The Hampton Roads Chamber is the premier pro-business organization serving as an Impactful Advocate, Powerful Economic Partner, and Inspiring Ignitor in order to set the conditions for other businesses to be successful, large and small. Congratulations again to all our winners!
This year's judges included: Susan Long-Molnar, President of Managing Communications; Tami Burke, Virginia Eye Consultants; Caron Crouse, Market Managing Partner of the Hampton Roads offices, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP; Darian Fisher, Southern Bank and Trust Company; Max Greenhood, RocketBike; Stephen E. Lanivich, Old Dominion University Strome College of Business; Zach Miller, Hatch; Shepelle Watkins-White, Shepelle Watkins-White Consulting & Law, PLLC
Thank you to our sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Southern Bank; Workforce Development Sponsor: Opportunity Inc.,’ Platinum Sponsor: Cox Business; Media Sponsor: Inside Business; Video Production Sponsor: Neptune Video Creations; Award Sponsor: G&W Gifts and Awards; Banner Sponsor: SpeedPro Imaging Norfolk; AV Sponsor: Elite Audio-Visual Elements.
(Pictured here: Drew Lumpkin Regional Director with US Senator Mark Warner; Bryan Stephens, CEO & President of the Hampton Roads Chamber; Dr. Elizabeth Upchurch and Christina Sims of Beach Pet Hospital; Taylor Harrell, President Southern Bank & Trust Company; and Mike Herron, Publisher, Inside Business.)