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Chamber Announces Annual Awards

June 21, 2011 - Southport, NC - The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce presents four awards annually. These awards are the Ambassador of the Year, President’s Award, Small Business Customer Service Award and Small Business of the Year award. They were presented during the 36th Annual Membership Meeting held this past Thursday at the Southport Community Building.

The 2011 Ambassador of the Year is Karen Guenette of Edward Jones in Southport. Ms. Guenette visited 51 members, attended 14 ribbon cuttings, 9 Business After Hours and 6 other chamber events.

2011 Ambassador of the Year

Pictured Left To Right: Dennis Coffey, Karen Guenette Karen Taylor

The President’s Award is given to an individual or business that has gone above and beyond in the support of the organization. This year’s recipient is Dr. Brad Hilaman. Dr. Hilaman was very generous during the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s acquisition of the Chamber’s Building. His generosity secured a bright future for the Chamber and will be showcased when we begin to build the new Chamber Building.

2011 President’s Award

Pictured Left To Right: Dennis Coffey, Dr. Brad Hilaman and Karen Taylor

The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce accepts nominations until May 1st of each year for the Small Business Customer Service & Small Business Person of the Year. Through these awards the Chamber recognize small businesses that are providing excellent customer service and businesses that are creating jobs in our area. Judging for the competition is provided by the Small Business Technology & Development Center at UNCW. The SBTDC provides FREE confidential assistance and training for small businesses.

The 2011 Small Business Customer Service of the Year is Zeetlegoo’s Pet & People Store. This business opened its doors in 2004 and by 2011, it had doubled its square footage, grew the business 30% in the first few years to about an 8% growth annually despite the sluggish economy and increased employees from one full time employee when it opened to now employing 7 individuals. What distinguished Zeetlegoo’s Pet & People Store in addition to great customer service is that a large number of customers that shop at Zeetlegoo’s have pets with problems; skin issues, gastrointestinal issues and training issues to name a few. They provide one-on-one assistance. They keep a database with the history of purchases, thereby tracking a pet’s food history allowing them to better assist in finding solutions to food allergies. They provide handouts about allergies and dog nutrition, do talks at community meetings, and have an informational website and a Facebook presence where they post articles, updates and coupons. Their customers both four legs and two legs are the key to their success and they recognize it daily providing great customer service.

2011 Small Business Customer Service of the Year

 Pictured Left To Right: Dennis Coffey, Rae & Paul Keane and Karen Taylor

The 2011 Small Business Person of the Year is Emily Humphreys of Port City Java of Southport. Ms. Humphreys purchased an established business in 2005 because she wanted to live in Southport and run a business while she still had energy and stamina. The first year she owned the business sales grew 13%, growing 19% in the next and this year growth is currently tracking at 7%. She employees 10 people, who are interactive, responsible, friendly, courteous, and hard working. Emily Humphreys views customers as guests and strives to treat them as such by giving them the best product and most clean environment that they can – fast, accurate, and courteous. Being a franchise, they are required to do things the way the corporate office has specified – otherwise they need to deliver their product the same way as a store in Wilmington or Greensboro. But she does not rely on corporate to innovate. She is constantly suggesting new ways of doing things for example they pre-measure and bag smoothies for added speed and she was the catalyst that recognized the smaller appetite which led to the addition of half wraps on the menu. She is open seven days a week recognizing consistency, quality and speed as vital to keep repeat customers. She is consistently among the top six franchise stores for highest monthly sales within the system. She received the Platinum A award from the Brunswick County Health Department in March 2011. An award given for achieving a Sanitation Score 95% or above for five consecutive years for each quarter.

2011 Small Business Person of the Year

Pictured Left To Right: Dennis Coffey, Emily Humphreys and Karen Taylor


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