The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce announced the 2014 Small Business Award recipients on Wednesday during the 2014 Small Business Awards Luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Office Furniture Warehouse won the award for companies with 1-20 employees, while Southtree was honored in the 21-50 employees category and Chattanooga Allergy Clinic was recognized in the 51-200 employees category. The award for Nonprofit of the Year went to The Trust for Public Land.
“During the Small Business Awards, we honor our finalists as exemplars, but I also want to emphasize the important role all small businesses play,” said Ron Harr, Chattanooga Chamber president and CEO, at the event. “Although today is the Chamber’s most visible celebration of our local small business owners, they are a top priority for the Chamber every single day.”
To qualify for a Small Business Award, companies must have owned and operated a business in the Chattanooga MSA for a minimum of three years and have displayed exemplary success within their industry, a high level of community involvement and corporate citizenship. Nonprofit agencies must be committed to ethical practices, engage in local volunteerism and exert a positive impact on the community. Award candidates come from the Chattanooga Chamber’s membership.
After the awards presentation concluded, many attendees moved to the adjacent hall for EXPO Chattanooga, the region’s largest showcase of local business. More than 200 exhibitors participated in the all day event.
The Small Business Awards Luncheon’s top sponsors were EPB, Volkswagen Chattanooga, NovaCopy, Sandler Training, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, YP, RJ Young, SoundForce and Unum.
About the 2014 Small Business Award Recipients
In 2008, architect John Jerman founded Office Furniture Warehouse, a company that provides facility services and liquidates office furniture and technology for resale to startups and midsize companies at very affordable rates. Today, the company occupies a 137,000 sq. ft. building and is divided into three divisions: My Chair Doctor, focusing on chair repair and re-manufacturing, and OFW+MED, focusing on refurbishing clinical furniture in the healthcare sector domestically and abroad. A third division called Wishing Well ventures into social entrepreneurship, encouraging businesses to donate office furniture that Office Furniture Warehouse turns into cash for nonprofits, generating large donations to organizations including Susan G. Komen and Habitat for Humanity.
Southtree reconnects people with the past by converting irreplaceable memories on outdated tapes, photos, film and audio to modern digital keepsakes. This unusual service has drawn nearly 50,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada. The company strives to find simple technology and design-driven ways of streamlining their processes. One of only a few U.S. companies to digitize home movies with the same technology as the Academy of Motion Pictures, Southtree has preserved more than 100,000 home movies and 600,000 photos. Going forward, Southtree has several national marketing partnerships in the works and continues to improve their product and lead as an innovator in their industry.
Founded in 1975, the Chattanooga Allergy Clinic is the region’s longest-established full-service, allergy-specific clinic. Over the last decade, the clinic has experienced explosive growth – expanding from five employees and one office to nearly 60 staffers, five offices and eight providers. The Clinic recently opened a new office in Cleveland, doubling their capacity in Bradley County. Chattanooga Allergy Clinic is committed to increasing quality of life for allergy sufferers, and not only via their services. They also sponsor air quality reports and daily pollen counts on local news channels, and work tirelessly to help current and prospective patients live life to the fullest.
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Since opening in 1993, The Trust for Public Land’s Chattanooga office has grown from a one to four person staff, and has led the creation of the Tennessee River Park, Stringer's Ridge Park and the North and South Chickamauga Creek Greenways, among others. Inspired by the belief that parks and green spaces improve lives and transform communities, the organization’s goal is to work with Chattanooga communities to ensure that everyone has a place to enjoy the outdoors within a 10-minute walk of their home.