Small Business Awards
33rd Annual Small Business Awards Ceremony
May 15, 2013, Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Washburn University - Memorial Union
Please complete this form and return it to:
You may also fax this form to: 785.234.8656, attention Small Business Awards.
2012 Small Business Awardees
Emerging Entrepreneur of Distinction:ShopGracieb.com - Grace Brown-Mitchell – owner/operator
Non-profit Award of Distinction:TARC, Inc., chief executive officer – Eileen Doran
Minority and Women Business of Distinction:Color Works Paint & Supply, Diana Swafford- owner/operator
Capital City Business of Distinction:Educational Credit Union, president/ceo –Greg Winkler
Details about the award winners:
Emerging Entrepreneur of Distinctionshopgracieb.com Retail Store – Located at The HUB
2114 SW Chelsea Drive, Topeka, KS 66614
Grace Brown-Mitchell, owner/operator
Launched in July 2011, shopgracieb.com has sustained an average 53% sales growth month over month, giving an ever growing customer base more access to a carefully curated selection of uniquely whimsical dresses, clothing and accessories. Grace has adjusted her business inventory practices to accommodate her customers and late last year she moved into The Hub in Fairlawn Plaza Shopping Center, a collective boutique featuring clothing from a variety of boutiques in and around northeast Kansas. She's found participating as a sponsor and donor to community events such as a ping pong fundraiser for Easter Seals Capper Foundation and Couture for Cancer has given her visibility and generated new customers. Through her website she hopes to inspire women as they shop and nurture an environment that celebrates originality in personal style.
Non-profit Award of DistinctionTARC, Inc.
2701 SW Randolph Avenue, Topeka, KS 66611
Eileen Doran, CEO
TARC's mission is to enhance the lives of people affected by intellectual, developmental and related disabilities through commitment to excellence in service, support and advocacy. The first paid employee at TARC started in 1955 and today there are 158 employees and the agency provides employment opportunities to 145 consumers with developmental and related disabilities. Developing and maintaining diverse funding streams have enabled programs to thrive, a key to supporting their clients and expanding collaborative partnerships in the community. TARC, through their employment services program, fundraising programs and connections to medical professionals and hospitals demonstrate a strong commitment to their clients and the community. Seeking contracts with local employers that fit the skills and abilities of their clients has demonstrated their creativity and willingness to help their clients learn additional job skills. TARC's staff has been instrumental in offering education to the community on such topics as Medicaid, Managed Care and KNI closure as well as CPR and First Aid and they offer their facility for neighborhood meetings and related organizational meetings.
Minority & Women Business of Distinction
ColorWorks Paint & Supply
4410 SW 21st Street, Topeka, KS 66604
Diana Swafford, owner/operator
When Diana purchased ColorWorks in January 2008, she didn't anticipate the economy being her number one problem. After 13 price increases in four years, loss of customers who have closed their doors and never-ending competition from the box stores, Diana, her husband Bob and staff of six responded with team planning and hard work. Marketing strategies changed from "old school" to social media, better co-op agreements were developed and new lines added. Employees with special talents thrived, resulting in increased sales. In promoting "buy local" they exhibited at community events, offered seminars and been involved in business and charitable organizations. After participating in GO Topeka's Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute they were inspired by the message: "If you're not unique, you better be cheap." From that quote, their employee team re-engineered warehouse and delivery processes, added services and further developed their ColorWorks brand. Unforeseen benefits from the innovations were magazine articles in local and trade magazines and notice by peer dealers wanting to learn "how they did it."
Capital City Business of DistinctionEducational Credit Union
2808 SW Arrowhead Rd., Topeka, KS 66614
Greg Winkler, president/CEO
Educational Credit Union, with 36 full time and 7 part-time employees that serve over 19,000 owners/members, is celebrating 72 years in the Topeka community. Over the years Educational Credit Union has grown into a full service financial institution that in addition to savings accounts and loans offers checking accounts, VISA Credit and Debit cards, ATM machines, CD's and IRA's, and much more. In January 2008, ECU reached $100,000,000 in assets and opened its sixth location. Challenges have included building awareness of products and services, accomplished in part by establishing in March 2011 a Junior Advisory Board to educate young adults about how to become financially literate. ECU staff members have been involved with organizations such as the Topeka Rescue Mission, TARC Inc., Minority Women Business Development Council, the Jayhawk Area Council "20 Under 40" program, Topeka Public Schools, Washburn Institute of Technology (Tool Loan Program), the Topeka Chamber and Fast Forward.
These businesses were honored at the 2012 Small Business Awards Luncheon Wednesday, May 16, in the Washburn University Memorial Union. Join us in congratulating these fine area businesses!
2012 Small Business Awards Sponsors:
The Chamber/GO Topeka extend thanks to the following 2012 sponsors:
Platinum— Kennedy and Coe
Gold—Schwerdt Design Group
Silver—Bimbo Bakeries USA; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Century Health Solutions, Core First Bank & Trust, Jayhawk File Express, PTMW, Inc.
Bronze—Griffith & Blair American Home Service, Lower Heating & Air Conditioning and Parrish Hotel Corporation
Past Small Business Award Winners 1981-2011