Gwinnett Chamber Announces Winners of Pinnacle Small Business Awards

In an effort to recognize Gwinnett’s small businesses and entrepreneurs as pivotal to America’s economic growth and stability, the Gwinnett Chamber and Presenting Sponsor The Atlanta Journal-Constitution hosted the 2015 Pinnacle Small Business Awards luncheon and ceremony in conjunction with the second annual Small Business Summit. The event honored dozens of successful small businesses and entrepreneurs for extraordinary achievement.

“We are honored to celebrate and recognize Gwinnett’s top small business owners whose entrepreneurial achievements are a driving force behind the U.S. economy,” said Dr. Dan Kaufman, President & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber. “These small businesses create significant job opportunities and are essential to sustaining economic growth and prosperity.”

Wealth Horizon received the 2015 Overall Gwinnett Small Business of the Year Award and will go on to compete for the U.S. Chamber Dream Big Small Business Award. Wealth Horizon was also the category winner of Gwinnett’s Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year.

“I am honored and humbled for Wealth Horizon to be named the Small Business of the Year because we have so many great small businesses in our community,” said Jerrí Hewett Miller, CFP®, President, Wealth Horizon. “I am very grateful to the Gwinnett Chamber for their leadership and support, and I appreciate that the Chamber and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recognize the many years of hard work it takes to become an overnight success.”
Nearly 300 nominations were submitted across 10 categories, seven of which were new this year. The following were announced as category award winners.

Young Entrepreneur Small Business of the Year – Jess Creatives
Jess Creatives works with small businesses and nonprofits to create a brand that shines through engaging graphic and website design. By offering exceptional customer service and designs that are personalized for each business, project, or campaign, Jess Creatives is able to support an organization’s goals and vision. By utilizing the latest technology and design techniques to help, Jess Creatives enables businesses to share their story, while they focus on what they do best.

Home-Based Small Business of the Year – McMahan’s Clothing
Specializing in the manufacturing of hand-sewn suits, jackets, and custom shirts for executives and television personalities on both the retail and wholesale level. McMahan’s strives not only to meet, but also exceed the expectations of retail clients and wholesale store accounts. Masterfully tailored and purposefully made with superior craftsmanship, each garment is styled from the finest materials. Serving retail clients in the convenience and privacy of their home or office, McMahan’s measures, fits and delivers when convenient with its clients, all with the best handmade value in the custom clothing industry.”

Rising Star Small Business of the Year – Sterling Rose Consulting Corp.
Sterling Rose Consulting Corp., a Lawrenceville, Georgia S-Corp launched in February 2014. The Company develops business plans, marketing plans, marketing services, accounting, bookkeeping and provides business consulting. The Company’s staff has grown from one to 11 people with a combined 100 years of entrepreneurial, marketing, branding, business strategy, accounting and PR experience. CEO Vlad Rusz has launched four businesses ranging from 17 months to seven years old with gross revenues from $175,000 to $5 million. Sterling Rose Consulting Corp. believes in the quality of its work and in meeting, if not exceeding, its customers’ expectations.

Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year – Lawrenceville-Suwanee School of Music
Lawrenceville-Suwanee School of Music is the best growing music school in Gwinnett County! They are located in Suwanee, Georgia, yet easily accommodates students from Lawrenceville, Dacula, Buford, and Duluth. With more than 200 students enrolled, they offer voice/singing, piano, guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, flute and drum lessons for everyone 3 years of age and up. They also teach art lessons and special population music lessons. With a teaching faculty qualified and dedicated to providing great music lessons, they offer free music recitals, early morning and lunch time lessons for home school students, retirees, college students and working professionals.

Family-Owned Small Business of the Year – Tiger Tails Animal Hospital
The team at Tiger Tails Animal Hospital strives to provide remarkable service to clients and top quality care to pets. They recognize that providing a high level of service and care starts with maintaining a positive work environment for their employees. Compared to other practices, they over-staff to achieve service goals and to prevent staff burnout, and they work hard to respect employees’ need for work-life balance. Family-owned, they consider their team members as part of the family. They value honesty, integrity, teamwork, education, communication, compassion and the human-animal bond.

Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year – Wealth Horizon, Inc.
Wealth Horizon is a boutique comprehensive financial planning and investment advisory firm that is intimately involved with planning and guiding their high net worth clients with ‘the confidence to move forward’ through all of life’s transitions. Their maxim is ‘Knowledge is Power’ and they spend a lot of time educating clients and helping them navigate the financial terrain. When you walk into their office it is like walking into their living room. They offer relaxed, intimate conversations about wealth that often have little to do with money, but everything to do with living the life you love.

Small Business of the Year: 1-5 Employees – Freeland Painting
Freeland Painting was created by founder Doug Ireland to fill a needed gap in the service industry for painting, roofing and siding services. Since 2009, Freeland Painting has grown because of its philosophy that showing up on time and doing the right thing are the two most important keys to success. They believe in their people and their community. As stated in their mission: they believe that their customers’ fulfillment and happiness is their ultimate goal and only assignment. They believe that only by serving their customers FIRST can they then serve their employees, suppliers and families.

Small Business of the Year: 6-24 Employees – Red Clay Interactive
Red Clay Interactive uses strategy, creativity and technology to solve classic marketing problems with a digital-first approach. An open, high-energy office space promotes cross-functional collaboration among SEO experts, copywriters, programmers, designers, digital strategists and developers. They plan and build websites around intimate knowledge of their users and then make them work harder with content creation, marketing automation, site optimization and advertising. They are a neo-traditional agency that works hard and celebrates winning for their clients.

Small Business of the Year: 25+ Employees – Thomco
Thomco is a customer-focused, service-oriented, value-based and technically sound Industrial Distributor and Converter. Their primary products are tapes, adhesives, graphic films and materials, custom die-cut components and custom printed labels. Their business is largely business-to-business in the industrial marketplace and they strive to be a resource to customers, not merely another source of supply. They have evolved from a pure industrial distributor to a national and international premier converter earning both ISO 9000 and TS 16949 quality and process certifications. They are “The Resource Bonded to Business.”

Small Business Resource Champion of the Year – UGA Small Business Development Center
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of the Public Service and Outreach unit of the University of Georgia. Their mission is to work with aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in the community – guiding and educating them on all facets of the business life cycle. The culture of the organization is one of collaboration and service. In order to meet the many and diverse needs of the entrepreneur community, they have to work together as an organization to be effective. Since their charter is public service, the individuals within the organization are service-minded and derive job satisfaction from seeing others succeed.

Pinnacle Small Business Award Fan Favorite (awarded from among the semi-finalists) – TJS Deemer Dana LLP
TJS Deemer Dana LLP is a full-service certified public accounting firm with offices in Atlanta, Dublin and Savannah, Georgia. The firm offers traditional services in accounting, auditing and taxation as well as consulting services. They are committed to creating value in each relationship by providing personal attention and professional resources to each and every client.

All photos by Jennifer Stalcup. To order high-resolution files of any of these pictures, please note the image number and send your request to Ken Rutherford.