Record 36 Small Businesses Announced as Finalists in the 2012 Annual KOSBE Awards

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) today announced 36 area small businesses are finalists in the 18th Annual KOSBE Awards, competing for one of several prestigious awards.
Sept. 26, 2012 - PRLog -- KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) today announced 36 area small businesses are finalists in the 18th Annual KOSBE Awards, competing for one of several prestigious awards.

KOSBE Award applicants compete in the following categories:

1.   Business Excellence (under 10 employees)
2.   Business Excellence (10 or more employees)
3.   New Business (in business 12—36 months)
4.   Young Entrepreneur (owner is under 40 years of age)
5.   Innovation
6.   Small Manufacturer
7.   Woman-Owned
8.   Veteran-Owned
9.   Minority-Owned
10.   Impact (can only be nominated by a business competing in any of the above categories)

Inaugurated in 1994, the Annual KOSBE Awards is the longest running and most recognized small business-focused awards program in the Tri-Cities area. “Due to the record number of entries again this year, the judges have an especially difficult task ahead of them,” said KOSBE Executive Director, Aundrea Wilcox. “The contenders will have to find memorable and creative ways to set themselves apart from their competitors. Saying that they offer the best customer service won’t be enough.”

Selections will be made based on customer relationship strategy, story of success overcoming adversity, community involvement, financial strength, marketing creativity and presented strategies for growth.

This year’s awards chair, Leslie Tentler Ridings, Attorney with Hunter, Smith & Davis said, “Small businesses continue to provide for more than 50% of job creation.  This year’s turnout is an indication that business owners remain optimistic about the economy, and continue to leverage their resources to enhance their visibility and position in the marketplace.”  Ridings further stated, “Small business owners realize that this competition is a great way for them to maximize their return on marketing investment.”

This year’s finalists are:
•   Aldebaran Financial (Peter Raber)
•   Angry Penguin (Marc Nachman)
•   Anytime Fitness (Willie Hamilton)
•   Bellafina Chocolates  (Brenda Barnicki)
•   Beyond Engagement (Valentina Gonzalez)
•   Biggie’s Clam Bar (Robert Ranuro)
•   Carew Cuts Barber Shop (Joseph Jackson)
•   Charmed Southern Home, Gifts and Events (Jacki Ewing)
•   Cindy Saadeh Fine Art Gallery (Cindy Saadeh)
•   Comfort Keepers (Linda Bambino)
•   Cross Country Mortgage, Inc. (Russell Street)
•   Fish Window Cleaning (Scott Forney)
•   Gazebo Party Shop (Carla Spivey)
•   Haun Chiropractic (Janie Haun)
•   Jenkins Insurance Group (Chris Jenkins)
•   Kay’s of Kingsport (Mark Wells)
•   Kingsport Imaging Systems, Inc. (John Demuth)
•   LIVEfit Medicine (Willie Hamilton)
•   MarketingMel (MaryEllen Miller)
•   Mason Distributors (Scott Mason)
•   NugZee, LLC (Kollin Day)
•   Off The Grid, Inc. (Kelvin Thomas)
•   P&J Antiques Mall (Pat Houchens)
•   Pal’s Business Excellence Institute (David McClaskey)
•   Picsee Studio, LLC (Christy Steadman)
•   Posh Spa and Salon (Jessica Thomas)
•   Preferred Tax-Free Retirement (Ron Bedford)
•   Professional Exteriors, LLC (KC Bartley)
•   Rusty Nail Primitives (Lisa Hurd-Morris)
•   Signature Properties (Shirley Warren)
•   SRV Global Health  (Sudha Venkataraman)
•   Sweet CeCe’s (Scott Butler)
•   The Bagel Exchange (Keith Cunningham)
•   Toyables (Barry Campbell)
•   Tri-Cities Tennessee Business Video Page (Tim Flannagan)
•   VIPSEEN Tri-Cities Magazine (Angela Striligas)

In addition to naming the winners of the business competition, KOSBE will also announce the recipient of the Impact Award for an outstanding individual and small business advocate who is nominated by a business who has entered the contest in one of the preceding categories. The individuals nominated for the Impact Award are:

•   Mr. Thom Crosby (Pal’s Business Excellence Institute)
•   Ms. Jenny Dugger (Bank of Tennessee)
•   Mr. Robert Payne Cave, Jr. (Cave Law Firm P.L.L.C.)
•   Mr. Gorman Waddell (Wilson, Worley, Moore, Gamble & Stout PC)
•   Mr. Jimmy Karnes (Krissem Custom Builders)
•   Ms. Rikki Rhoton (Allstate Insurance)
•   Mr. Dan Eldridge (Washington County Mayor)
•   Mr. CJ Hallock (Visionet Media)
•   Ms. Marjorie Woods (Charmed Southern)
•   Ms. Kristen Capel (A Bit of Britain)
•   Ms. Rhonda Watlington (Dress to Impress)
•   Ms. Nada Weekley (Literacy Council of Kingsport)
•   Mr. Robert Seale (Robert Seale)
•   Mr. Steve Lahair (Chef’s Pizzeria)
•   Ms. Sandy Ratliff (Virginia Department of Business Assistance)
•   Ms. Lori Cogan (The Tombras Group)
•   Mr. Mike Stice (Holmes and Stice)
•   Mr. Richard Lambert (Kingsport Imaging Systems, Inc.)
•   Mr. Steve Warren (Sloopy’s Diner)
•   Ms. Laura Begley (Rustic Country)
•   Ms. Chaiba Bloomer (Regions Bank)
•   Mr. Miles Burdine (Kingsport Chamber of Commerce)
•   Ms. Kathy Richards (AdviCoach)

Winners and runner-ups from each category will be announced live at a special recognition event on Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 6 – 9 p.m. located at The Club at Ridgefields, 2320 Pendragon Road, Kingsport. The event will take place in the ballroom of the Club.

The public is invited to attend.

General seating tickets are $45 per person, VIP/Reserved seating are $55 per person and both can be purchased online at or call (423) 392.8825 beginning Monday, October 1st, 2012. Tickets must be purchased in advance to be eligible for prize drawings. It is recommended to purchase tickets early as tickets for this event have been sold out for the past two consecutive years.
Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased to attend.

2012 Annual KOSBE Award sponsors include:

Title Sponsor: SunTrust Bank

Platinum Sponsors: Cumberland Marketing and Dykes Trucking

Gold Sponsors: KNETIC, Sweet CeCe's, Phil's Dream Pit, The Village at Allandale and F & L Limo & Livery

Silver Sponsors: Eastman Chemical Company, Triten Insurance & Financial Services, Food City / K-VA-T Food Stores, Hunter, Smith & Davis, WWMGS, Pathway Lending, East Tennessee Eye Care and HairBenders Salon

Bronze Sponsors: AdviCoach and Charlie Dotson with TCI Group

Media Sponsors: Holston Valley Broadcasting Group, Kingsport Times News, Times Digital Group and Picsee Studios

Event Partners: Action Rentals and Sales, Express Signs, Flowers by CopperCreek, Holston Distributing Company and Pristine Springs

Entertainment Sponsor: East Tennessee Eye Care

Red Carpet Sponsor: VIPSEEN Tri-Cities Magazine

It is the intent of KOSBE to be the go-to organization in the Tri-Cities for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their businesses, by creating and developing the right tools and resources and cultivating the right partnerships. In partnership with Tennessee Small Business Development Centers (TSBDC) at ETSU, KOSBE can more effectively serve the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses. For a complete listing of services, tools and resources, visit

The cooperative agreement between KOSBE and East Tennessee State University is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions or services. SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Additional funding is provided by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the state of Tennessee.

To schedule your free confidential counseling appointment in a private setting by TSBDC-certified counselors in person, online by phone or e-mail call David Schools at (423) 392.8825 or e-mail,  

For more information about the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at ETSU Kingsport Affiliate Office and your Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE), visit and or call (423) 392.8825. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook, Kosbe – The Small Business Connection, Twitter, @KOSBEConnection, LinkedIn group, KOSBE - The Small Business Connection and our YouTube Channel, KOSBEConnection.
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Tags:Kingsport, tn, Kosbe, Awards, Competition
Industry:Business, Home business
Location:Tennessee - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Oct 11, 2012

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