ALBANY — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce will honor the city’s top small businesses and announce the 2014 Small Business of the Year at its annual Small Business Celebration on Tuesday.
Held this year at the Albany Museum of Art, the Small Business Celebration provides the Chamber and the community an opportunity to recognize those small businesses that have made a significant impact over the past year.
“Small business is an integral part of the community,” said Jenny Savelle, chairman of the small business resources committee, which chooses the final nominees and the small business of the year winner. “It’s important for those businesses to be recognized.”
According to Savelle, the small business resources committee makes its selections based on a businesses’ continued growth in sales, customer service, or new products and services; product innovation; resiliency when dealing with challenges and opportunities; contributions to aid the community; and chamber involvement.
Savelle also said that the committee is made up of a wide variety of community partners that include representatives from the Small Business Administration, local colleges and universities, representatives from area non-profit organizations and business leaders.
She also said that any members of the committee whose business were nominated were excused from the voting process in order to maintain fairness and transparency.
After deliberating for several weeks the selection committee narrowed the pool to seven finalists, all of which will be recognized at the awards reception.
“This year’s selection was very competitive,” Savelle said. “We had a lot of worthy nominations. The committee had a lot to consider.”
This year’s finalists are Southern Point Staffing LLC, Stewbo’s, Break Away Cycles, Hughey & Newman Inc., Diark Inc., Smallcakes and DarkoTech Inc.
In addition to the normal small business award, the Chamber will also be presenting a special award called The Innovative Customer Service Award, recognizing an area small business for excellence in customer service.
Savelle said this award is presented to coincide with the Chamber’s year-long initiative on customer service. Throughout the year the Chamber has held seminars and training around the importance of great customer service and how businesses can improve service to be more competitive and customer-focuses.
“This award is not something we’ve done before,” Savelle said. “It is designed to tie in with our initiatives around customer service. We felt the customer service aspect of this particular company was so strong and unique they deserved special recognition.”
The awards reception is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Albany Museum of Art located at 311 Meadowlark Drive, next door to Darton State College. Tickets to the event are $35. Anyone interested can contact Sue Corbin at (229) 317-7188 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.