And our 2018 Business Award Winners Are…

May 2, 2018

2018 is the 15th year the Chamber has celebrated and recognized the role local small businesses, individuals and organizations have in our local economy. This year, we recognized 23 small businesses, non-profits and entrepreneurs, who were nominated by their customers and members of the public.


An entrepreneur is defined as a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. Our 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Karla Eden of Taste of Eden, has evolved from a  hobby of making specialty cakes into a full-time growing business with a new storefront coming to Noble Street in Historic Downtown Anniston in 2018.

DSC06999Calhoun County has been known as an extremely giving community. Through programs like Meals on Wheels and interfaith cooperation and understanding, our 2018 Non-Profit of the Year, Interfaith Ministries, provides assistance and serves as an advocate for individuals and families in crisis.

DSC07001An emerging business is defined as a business in existence for less than 5 years. These businesses are just beginning to make their mark. Beginning within a small room of another historic downtown Anniston business, within two years, our 2018 Emerging Small Business of the Year, Rosa Lee Jewelry, has experienced 900% growth, moved to a new 2000 square foot space, with even more space being considered for the future.

DSC07003Our Sustaining Small Business Award recognizes a business that has been in existence for more than 5 years. These businesses are the ones who have re-invented themselves, from time to time. Beginning with one employee in 1999, our 2018 Sustaining Small Business of the Year, New Leaf Marketing, has now expanded to three locations, evolving with the market trends daily, offering more than 3 million products and aiding clients in marketing initiatives from start to finish.

DSC07005The Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a business, which has set the precedence for our area small businesses. Family Owned and operated for over 80 years, J.W. Bennett first established Bennett Lumber Company in 1920, as strictly a sawmill operation, and in 1947 J.W. Bennett stepped down and handed over the company to his son J.O. Bennett, who took the company a step further by adding a dry kiln and a planer mill. After graduating college in 1973, J.O.’s oldest son James W. Bennett started eager to learn, and since 1983 he has been holding the reins of the company.

DSC07008The Larry K. Sylvester Small Business Advocate Award recognizes an individual or group that provides assistance and support to small businesses.  Headquartered at the Entrepreneurial Center, the Anniston SCORE Chapter is a partner of the Small Business Administration and a volunteer organization/nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business.


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