The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce held its 26th Annual Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year Awards on May 25, 2010 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center. More than 250 people attended the luncheon, which coincided with “National Small Business Week” held May 23–29 that recognizes the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of the United States.
The overall winner of the 2010 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year was Classic Air’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning of Virginia Beach. The company started in 1979 as a joint venture between Todd Kletz and his brother-in-law Alan Henkel. By the company’s eighth year, its sales surpassed the $1 million mark. Growth continued, and in 2009, the company had 34 employees and sales in excess of $6 million. The Chamber named Classic Air’s as a “Top 10 to Watch” in 2009 and it has earned the Virginian-Pilot’s “Best of” every year from 1998-2005. The company participates and donates to charities including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and Samaritan House.
“To be recognized as the Small Business of the Year in Virginia Beach and included in the same list as the other city winners was quite an honor,” said Todd Kletz. He added, “It was with great deal of pride that we accepted recognition as the Small Business of the Year for all of Hampton Roads. The award is a validation for all the discipline and determination that our Team has demonstrated over the past several years as we worked toward our goals. However, more importantly we will use it as an inspiration to remain humble in our service to our current and future customers.”
The Chamber convened a panel of judges to select five businesses, one from each Southside city, to honor. Judges included: Jim Carroll, Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, Inc.; Caron Crouse, Goodman & Co., LLP; Joseph Donnelly, Donnelly Real Properties, LLC; Roslyn Houston, Old Dominion University; and Shepelle Watkins-White, Kaufman & Canoles, P.C. The winning businesses were chosen based on financial performance and business history, staff training and motivation, community involvement, business plan, growth, and customer service and satisfaction.
The five city winners and finalists for the Small Business of the Year title were:
Eastern Virginia Family & Cosmetic Dentistry: Dr. A. Jeffrey Weisbergand Dr. Barclay K. Weisberg (Chesapeake)
A. Reddix & Associates (Norfolk)
Bayside Harley-Davidson (Portsmouth)
Bennett’s Creek Farm Market & Deli (Suffolk)
Classic Air’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Virginia Beach)
The “Top 10 to Watch” was also selected. These businesses are some of the fastest-growing small businesses in the area:
Asset Recovery International, LLC
BK Appraisal Services
Cape Henry Associates, Inc.
Endurance Network Services
Mad Science of Hampton Roads
Prism Maritime, LLC
Providence Computers, Inc.
The Impressions in Print Leadership Award was presented to Charles A. Schue III, President & CEO of UrsaNav, Inc., who demonstrated leadership, impact on workplace cultural, community service and involvement, professional achievement, and perseverance.
In addition, Mark Klett was named the Virginia Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. This award, presented by the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network, recognizes veterans who have made a significant contribution to their region’s economy and to recognize those deserving individuals who have made a significant difference in their communities by promoting a sense of duty, volunteerism and an appreciation of country, democracy and freedom.
The event was emceed by Ed Power, Publisher of Inside Business and the keynote speaker was Bobbie Walker, Partnership Marketing Education Director for Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Many thanks to sponsors: Monarch Bank (Presenting), Inside Business (Media), the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center (Gold), and Impressions in Print (Leadership Award).