Chamber Announces Finalists for Annual Business Awards
Jan Powell Award Winners Named
The Moore County Chamber of Commerce has announced two winners of the Janet A. Powell Community Service Award — Ralph Jacobson and Friend to Friend.
The award honors the accomplishments of an individual or organization that demonstrated a tremendous positive impact on the community with a goal of “advancing commerce or community” within the last year, a news release said.
“The Chamber is proud to present two awards in Jan’s honor to Ralph Jacobson and Friend to Friend,” said Richard Higginbotham, 2012 chairman of the board. “Both Ralph and Friend to Friend truly demonstrated excellence, creativity and initiative in all they did throughout 2011.”
Jacobson is a dedicated individual who shares his business experiences as a SCORE volunteer. He has been touching the lives of the business community for more than 17 years as the longest-serving local SCORE chapter volunteer.
In addition, he regularly speaks to schools regarding his personal Holocaust experiences from 1933 to 1939.
Friend to Friend’s mission is to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults rebuild their lives. In February 2011, the nonprofit organization itself that had to deal with a devastating loss of its Serenity House.
Since that time this organization has secured and raised the funds to rebuild and to ensure thar up to 34 women and children will have safe haven.
While rebuilding the Serenity House, Friend to Friend was also in the process of developing a working strategic plan.
Jan Powell was a longtime volunteer and supported of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce and several local nonprofits. She died in the summer of 2009.
The creation of this award is a permanent reminder of her passion for Moore County and serves as a lasting tribute to someone who impacted so many lives, the Chamber said in a news release.
The Powell awards will be presented during the Moore County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet Feb. 2, at the Carolina Hotel.
The banquet will highlight the Chamber’s accomplishments and that of several members. More than 300 Chamber members will be on hand, from one-person shops to large corporations for the annual banquet.
One of the evening’s highlights is the presentation of various awards to the business community.
“The Chamber is proud to showcase these winners and their contributions to the enrichment of Moore County’s business community,” Higginbotham said. “The Chamber was looking for businesses that, despite facing tremendous adversity, would do it all over again, and whose fervor for running a business is rivaled only by their willingness to serve the community. We look forward to announcing the winners at the annual banquet.”
Other awards that will be presented include the William F. Hollister Award.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the annual banquet, visit www.moorecountych... or call (910) 692-3926.
A tangram is an ancient Chinese puzzle consisting of seven geometric shapes that can be formed into a specific shape.
Sven Schaefer changed the name of his Seven Lakes-based company to Tangram Media last year because he felt that the puzzle symbolizes the numerous options that a company faces when it comes to developing a website and social media plan.
“Essentially, we adjust the solution to the company’s needs,” Schaefer says. “It’s not just about building a website anymore. It’s about educating people about choosing the right solution or solutions.”
Tangram Media is one of two finalists for Entrepreneur Business of the Year, which is presented at the Moore County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet to a company that has been in business less than five years and has fewer than 50 full-time employees.
“Being named a finalist was a surprise, but a happy surprise,” Schaefer says. “I thought there would have been other good companies that would supercede us.”
The other finalist is Railhouse Brewery in Aberdeen, the only microbrewery in Moore County.
“We are humbled and honored,” co-owner Mike Ratkowski says. “More than anything, the customers that have supported us have put us in a position to be a finalist. It seems like it’s more of an award for them than for us. However, to be nominated and become a finalist also reinforces to us that all of our hard work has paid off.”
The Chamber will also present its Small Business of the Year award to a company that has been in business for more than five years and has fewer than 50 full-time employees.
The finalists are Morgan Miller and Town Center Pharmacy, both of Southern Pines, and Biz Tools One, which is headquartered in Fayetteville.
Claudia Miller, who owns the women’s apparel and accessories store on Broad Street in downtown Southern Pines, serves on the Chamber board of directors with Smith and is a Town Center customer.
“I feel honored to be in such great company,” Miller says. “I think it’s terrific. I am so excited about it. We’re all sort of seasoned veterans, so that’s interesting, especially since we’ve weathered the tough economy for the past three or four years.”
Mark Smith, owner of Town Center, says he never imagined ever being nominated when he bought the store on Bennett Street in 1990.
“I thought awards like that were for the big boys, so we were quite surprised to be named a finalist,” Smith says. “It’s a dream come true and really means a lot. It just makes you want to work a little harder.”
Biz Tools One may be the first business not headquartered in Moore County to be named a finalist in either category.
“It’s certainly a little surprising, but we do quite a bit of business in Moore County and I’m really fond of the area,” Wick Smith says. “Awards like this are not why you’re in business. You work hard to please your customers and do what’s best for the company.”
Smith, who will miss the banquet due to a mission trip to Haiti, adds that being named a finalist is “indicative” of how flat the world is in his industry.
“We have customers as far west as Portland, Ore., as far north as New York and as far south as Florida,” he says. “You are not limited by bricks and mortar in today’s business world.”
The criteria for both awards included innovation, response to adversity and community involvement. The banquet is scheduled for Feb. 2 at Pinehurst Resort.
Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Chamber, says the finalists reflect the county’s diverse business community.
“You’ve got retail, technology, health care and, to some degree, manufacturing in the Railhouse Brewery,” Coughlin says. “It’s really an interesting mix. I was thrilled to see these folks nominated, not to mention get to the final round, because they’ve really done an outstanding job in building their businesses.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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