In an effort to salute Gwinnett's small businesses and entrepreneurs as pivotal to America’s economic growth and stability, the Gwinnett Chamber and presenting sponsor Purchasing Alliance Solutions hosted the 2018 Pinnacle Small Business Awards luncheon and ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Infinite Energy Forum.
In conjunction with the Gwinnett Small Business Summit, the event honored many of successful small businesses and entrepreneurs for their extraordinary achievements.
“We are honored to celebrate and recognize the region’s top small businesses and individuals that contribute greatly to our local economy,” said Dr. Dan Kaufman, President & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber. “These businesses, led by risk-takers and visionaries, are essential to creating jobs and sustaining economic growth.”
Winton Machine Company was awarded both the 2018 Pinnacle Overall Gwinnett Small Business of the Year Award and the Small Business of the Year: 25+ Employees.
“Knowing who has won this award in the past, and the finalists in this year’s event, we are humbled, honored and surprised to receive the top award in our category. For Winton Machine to then be recognized as the Overall Winner was even more exciting, but completely unexpected,” said Lisa Winton, Co-Owner and CEO, Winton Machine Company. “We are grateful to the Gwinnett Chamber leadership and event team for this opportunity. George and I are especially proud of our Winton Machine team and appreciate our customers who really made these awards possible.”
Winton Machine was founded in 1997 by company owners, George and Lisa Winton, in the basement of their home in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The company started by designing and building dedicated hand benders. Over the next 12 months, it acquired some chip cutting machines and soon the Winton’s basement machine shop was filled with equipment and supplies. A few short months later, Winton Machine received its initial machinery order and the company moved into its first manufacturing facility. In the past 20 years, the company has expanded using Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and has moved to a larger facility four times. Today, Winton Machine employs over 20 people and has a 13,000 square-foot facility in Suwanee.
The category winners are as follows:
Small Business of the Year: 0-5 Employees – Condor Tours & Travel, Inc.
Condor Tours & Travel is a woman-owned agency offering customized worldwide travel packages for individuals, business retreats, chamber Incentive travel, family, romantic and adventure getaways. The management of Condor Tours & Travel works with its clients to construct the perfect dream getaway, giving suggestions and meeting if not exceeding expectations. Condor Tours & Travels does not just book its clients’ travel but is with its clients throughout the whole trip. Condor Tours & Travel provides a level of concierge service to its client that they will not receive utilizing a travel site or other agencies
Small Business of the Year: 6-24 Employees – TIE – Marbury Creative Group and Mighty 8th
Media Marbury Creative Group Marbury Creative Group, located in downtown Duluth, is a group of 10 creative and operational professionals with a vision to help clients “Tell it Better! (If Necessary, Use Words)®. Marbury Creative Group is a strategically-driven creative studio that supercharges brands through unique creative approaches and campaigns across digital, print, and broadcast media. The mission is to create advertising concepts that help companies “Tell it Better” to reach business goals. Marbury’s industry experience spans healthcare, food service, food ingredients, food and beverage manufactures, banking, professional services, and Fortune 500 division/department areas (such as AT&T and Halyard Health), and higher education.
Mighty 8th Media In 2005, business partners Bradley Sherwood and Jonathan Holmes had a dream to start their own agency. Mighty 8th’s namesake comes from the Eighth Air Force out of Savannah, GA during WWII. They wanted a brand that embodied respect and a drive to change the world for the better—a place where clients come first, and the staff is treated like family. Thirteen years later, Mighty 8th is consistently selected as a Top 50 Agency in Atlanta and one of the Best Places to Work. Its mission is to make its clients successful and to see its creativity better their business.
Small Business of the Year: 25+ Employees – Winton Machine Company
Winton Machine solves production and safety problems for manufacturers who need tube and semi-rigid coax fabricating to make their end products. Winton machines are designed to meet specific production demands and have the highest safety standards for both domestic and global markets. Winton designs and builds over 100 machines that provide standardized engineered solutions in major industries such as HVAC/Refrigeration, Aerospace, Electronics, Microwave and Military. Winton Machine also works with clients to create custom engineered solutions. Winton has developed a proprietary software to optimize user interfaces which maximize performance and output.
Family-Owned Small Business of the Year – Georgia Swarm Pro Lacrosse
The Georgia Swarm Pro Lacrosse team is a member of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). In 2017, the Swarm became NLL World Champions. The NLL ranks third in average attendance for professional indoor sports worldwide behind only the NHL and NBA. The Swarm competes in an 18-game regular season schedule from December to April, followed by the NLL Playoffs in May and June. The Swarm plays their home games at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, and offers season tickets, single game and group tickets, suites, and Goal Zone club tickets as well as sponsorship opportunities.
Home-Based Small Business of the Year – East2West Creative, LLC.
East2West Creative is a full-service photography company, specializing in portraits and event capture. They capture with the mind of marketing and promotion, as its sister company, East2West Media, includes social media management, they do everything with marketing in mind. Also, freezing those smiles in those little moments that people can cherish forever is the icing on the Canon cake.
Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year – Willis Mechanical, Inc.
Since its inception in 2002, Willis Mechanical, Inc. has continued to provide outstanding customer service on construction projects specializing in mechanical systems, as well as excellent HVAC maintenance and services. Willis Mechanical provides outstanding service and superior quality to our customers, performing safely, within budget and with on-time delivery. We reward our employees for their integrity, loyalty, and creativity by providing career opportunities, training and education and a challenging environment.
Small Business Resource Champion of the Year - GarageWorx
GarageWorx is a business incubator for suburban entrepreneurs. Its mission is to improve the lives of people, families, and communities through entrepreneurship.
Rising Star Small Business of the Year – Atlanta Water Store
The Atlanta Water Store is a distributor of Japanese water ionizers that transform your tap water into alkalizing, anti-oxidant-rich, superiorly hydrating drinking water. The company focuses on education and providing its distributors with the resources they need to make them successful. From its 1,400 square foot teaching and resource center in downtown Suwanee, Atlanta Water Store provides its prospects a powerful value proposition to allow them to make the right health decision for their families. In turn, we provide our distributors with the same value proposition, mentoring, and additional resources for their prospects. Our mission is nothing short of making people healthier and longer lived.
Young Entrepreneur Small Business of the Year – Shuma Sports
Established in 2014, Shuma Sports, places a premium on customer value and satisfaction by simplifying the ordering process of uniform and specialty apparel. Offering a full line of sports team uniforms, equipment, school spirit wear, corporate apparel and much more, every team member associate ensures selection and design choices are customized to ensure the best products are delivered to its customers.
Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year – TJS Deemer Dana LLP
TJS Deemer Dana LLP is a full-service certified public accounting firm with offices in Duluth, Dublin, Sandy Springs, and Savannah, Georgia. The firm offers traditional services in accounting, auditing and taxation as well as consulting services. It is committed to creating value in each relationship by providing personal attention and professional resources to each of its clients. Specialties include audit and compliance work for financial institutions, the post-secondary education sector, the architecture/engineering/construction industry, employee benefit plan audits and the governmental and nonprofit arena.
Nonprofit of the Year - The Hudgens Center for Art & Learning
The Hudgens Center for Art and Learning brings art lovers, leaders, and learners together through quality programs and exhibits. The 34,000 square-foot Hudgens Center houses several galleries, a Children’s Art Zone, two classroom wings, state of the art ceramic studio, sculpture garden and more. Founded in 1981, it offers year-round fine art exhibits and classes for all ages; as well as community arts initiatives which reach out to underserved students and people struggling with chronic illness or disability. The Hudgens puts Gwinnett County on the map within the national arts community by offering The Hudgens Prize every other year.
Pinnacle Small Business Award Fan Favorite (awarded from among the semi-finalists) - Aaron Overhead Doors Atlanta
Family owned and operated since 1968, Aaron Overhead Garage Doors is a turn-key garage door company based in Buford. It is a customer service company in the garage door business, providing repair and installation of garage doors and operators with a smile. Aaron Overhead Doors Atlanta does customer service in a way that puts customers first.