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Five businesses lauded at chamber gala

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image Tony Del Castillo of the Tampa Bay Times, left, with Chamber Small Business Programming Committee Chair and CRG Coaching Partners’ Carole Gill, Carr Pediatrics’ Natalie Carr and Dave Brown of the Bank of Tampa’s Brandon Division, the event’s title sponsor

Business smarts and savvy paid off

By Kevin Brady

Business smarts and savvy paid off for five local businesses last week when they were singled out for acclaim at the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 32nd annual Small Business of the Year Award Gala.

A local dentist, innovative food delivery company and communications company were among those honored this year.

“The gala is truly about celebrating small businesses and entrepreneurs in our area,” said Laura Simpson, the recently installed president and CEO of the Chamber. “We recognize that small businesses are a big part of our local economy.  The finalists that were highlighted this year were representatives of the types of quality businesses our community holds.”

Natalie Carr of Carr Pediatric Dentistry who grew up in Apollo Beach and graduated from East Bay High School was quick to thank her staff after taking home the blue ribbon in the Minority and Woman Owned Business category.

“I have been blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful group of women who always have the best interests of the patients in mind. This is recognition of them,” Carr said. 

Opened in 2010 with two employees, Carr’s business has grown to 12 employees. 

“It was very exciting for my team to win,” said Carr who put the award down to her staff’s commitment to customer service and providing a “positive experience for children and their parents.”

Participating in community events like Brandon’s Trick or Treat Street also helped, Carr said.

“Our vision is not only to provide excellent dental care but also help educate our community.”

Dumping time cards for tuxedos for one night, more than 250 people turned out for the event, one of the highlights of the Brandon business community’s social calendar.

Including Carr Pediatric Dentistry, the winners were:

• Business with 1-5 Employees – You Say When Yogurt Shoppe

• Business with 6-15 Employees – Brandon Open MRI

• Business with 16+ Employees – Sencommunications, Inc.

• Home Based Business – TakeOut Butler

Erik Butler, founder of TakeOut Butler and the 2009 Riverview Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year, started his business in May 2009 with two employees helping dispatch independent contractor drivers. His business provides timely delivery of meals from local restaurants, covering an area encompassing Sun City Center, Ruskin, Riverview, Brandon and western Tampa.

Reluctant to share specific numbers on how the business has grown, “we have grown exponentially from day one,” offered Butler. With 90 percent of his business driven from the company’s web page and a $3.99 delivery fee, “we provide a level of convenience and value that customers are thrilled with,” Butler said. 

“We provide restaurants with a delivery service without additional personnel. They don’t have to worry about insurance or training for delivery staff allowing them to focus on their core business and grow.” 

Up against an assisted living facility and school for children with disabilities, Stacie Senory Miller was getting ready to clap for someone else when the envelope was opened in the large company awards category.

“We were against two very worthy competitors,” said the vice president of Sencommunications, Inc., a voice, video and data integration company. “Winning was a very pleasant surprise.”

With 38 employees in Brandon, the award comes as the family-owned company is about to celebrate 25 years in business and planning to add staff in its sales department in the first quarter of 2014. 

“This year’s winners range from the corporate offices of a yogurt shop whose excellence is being franchised around the country, to a family-owned company that started over 20 years ago and is now beginning to transition to the next generation,” Simpson said. “These are stories of excellence that need to be shared and our organization is thrilled to create a platform to do so.”

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