News & Press

Small Business Celebrated!

Small Businesses Celebrated


Heralded as “the heart and soul of our economy,” small businesses in Macon and Bibb County were recognized at an awards luncheon Thursday.

 About 130 people attended the 2010 Small Business Achievement Awards luncheon at the Wilson Convention Center sponsored by the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce. This is the first year the chamber has honored small businesses at an event separate from its annual meeting.

 Guest speaker Ed Grisamore, columnist for The Telegraph, talked about the importance and significance of “small things,” as he shared stories about some of the people he’s met.

He told about a man in Jones County who carved and painted figures on the head of toothpicks and about a first-grader in south Bibb County who started a penny drive to raise money to buy teddy bears for children who were victims of house fires.


“I’ve personally learned that it’s all the small things in the world that make up the big things,” Grisamore said.

Grisamore began his newspaper career in the Telegraph sports department, where he was an editor, reporter and columnist. He began writing local news columns in 1996 and is the author of six books.


The chamber received about 90 nominations for the awards and that number was narrowed down to 17 finalists, chamber CEO and President Chip Cherry said. The entire list and a list of the finalists are available at


The awards were given in five categories, and the following are the winners along with comments made at the luncheon about the companies:


Contractors/service providers: Speir & Associates Electrical Contractors Inc. The company was founded more than a decade ago with five employees. It recently completed the electrical work at the new Veterans High School in Houston County ahead of schedule and within budget.


Professional services: Preston Testing & Engineering Co. Inc. For more than 35 years, the company has provided service to counties, municipalities, contractors, developers and owners. The company has grown from four employees to 20 and a majority of those employees have been with the company more than 15 years.


Restaurants: Natalia’s. The restaurant was established in 1984 with a staff of 12 people, and within about five years that number doubled. Construction of its new building on Bass Road is under way, which will result in new jobs.


Retail: Larry Bush’s Riverside Tire. Since the owner purchased the business more than six years ago, gross sales have grown by more than 300 percent and the number of employees has more than doubled. Last year, the company moved and expanded but remained in downtown Macon.


Specialized services: Taylor Restrooms To Go. Founded three years ago, this company has moved from a part-time, family start-up business to a full-fledged commercial business with annual sales of more than $1 million and 12 full-time employees.


“(The winning companies) are a true testament to the high quality of the business community in Macon and Bibb County and demonstrate to us all that the small-business community is on to something good,” said Robbo Hatcher, the 2010 chairman of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and president and CEO of H2 Capital Inc. “If every small business in our community hired one person, it would be bigger than any announcement that Macon has ever made. ... We are discovering that working hard, risking carefully and being successful is what is right with the world.”


To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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