Three small business people this year were finalists in the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year award, announced Monday during the chamber's annual meeting.
All three businesses are highly deserving of the honor. But it's heartening to note the common thread running through all of the finalists had nothing to do with sales or revenues or growth or market share.
That common thread? Community involvement.
The winner, Cindy Crawford, co-owner of Cindy's Catering, launched her business as an offshoot of her personal quest for healthier food to help her fight off cancer.
Her catering business and her relatively new diner next door in Martinez has been a great success. What really makes her star shine, however, is that Crawford has continued her fight against cancer by helping others. She's been tireless in her support of both individuals and organizations waging the battle against the disease.
The same charitable thread applies to the other finalists:
-- As an attorney, Wade Padgett is a small-business owner. As Columbia County's chief magistrate judge, he's also an elected official. But in the past few months he's perhaps become best known for his series of seminars, Teenage Years 101.
With an incredible commitment of time and effort, Padgett has made dozens of appearances to discuss the legal repercussions of bad behavior to teens and their parents. These seminars, without a doubt, will help make this a better community by keeping children out of trouble.
-- Known as "The Bug Babe," Advanced Services for Pest Control general manager Pat VanHooser makes a living waging war on household pests. But on her own time, VanHooser battles illiteracy and low self-esteem.
Founder of the Smart Girls Club, VanHooser and fellow volunteers provide a healthy environment for girls ages 12-15 for monthly meetings in which the girls share a love of reading and learn a positive outlook from what are sometimes difficult circumstances.
The key lesson from all these entrepreneurs is that business doesn't have to be all hard-nosed and cutthroat. Success is about a heck of a lot more than just making money; it's also about making the community a better place.
With Cindy Crawford, Wade Padgett and Pat VanHooser leading the way, Columbia County indeed is a better place - and will only get better.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.