Awards kick off Small Business Development week

Published 9:38 pm Monday, May 16, 2011

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce honored two Pike County businesses with historic business awards Monday as part of the Chamber’s celebration of National Small Business Development Week, May 16-20.

The awards were presented to Douglas Bros. Jewelry in Troy, which was established in 1871, and First National Bank of Brundidge, which was established in 1904.

Kathy Sauer, Chamber president, said Douglas Bros. and First National Bank were chosen for the awards because they are the oldest, family directed businesses that remain in business in Pike County today.

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“We congratulate Scherr Qualls (Douglas Bros.) and Jimmy Ramage (First National Bank) for the longtime commitment to the Pike County community that their businesses have made,” Sauer said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our county, state and nation.”

Qualls said his great-grandfather, Charles Bryant Douglas, founded Douglas Bros. in post-war 1871 out of the necessity to make a living.

“He set up shop in the corner of a general store and worked on watches,” Qualls said. “He had always been good working on mechanical things and began making a living as a watch maker. We are excited to celebrate 140 years in business in Pike County in the fall.”

Ramage said the First National Bank was founded by his great-grandfather James T. Ramage when he was only 29 years old.

“More banks were founded in 1904 than at any other time in history,” Ramage said. “The country was beginning to come back from the Civil War and people needed banks. First National survived the Great Depression and we take great pride in that.”

Sandra Lucas, Small Business Development Center, said that small businesses are consistent and steadfast in keeping this country going.

“More than half of Americans own or work for a small business,” Lucas said. “Small businesses are responsible for creating 60-80 percent of new jobs. Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers, pay 44 percent of private payroll and provide 67 percent of first jobs.”

Also in recognition of National Small Business Development Week, Pike County Commission Chairman Homer Wright signed a proclamation on behalf of the county commission, the county’s municipal governments, the Troy University Sorrell College of Business, the Small Business Development Center, Pike County Economic Development Center and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, declaring the Week of May 16-20 as Small Business Development Week in Pike County.

Wright said that the proclamation recognizes the tremendous economic impact made by small business owners and entrepreneurs.

“Small businesses are major contributors to the strength of the American economy with half of Americans either owning or working in small businesses,” Wright said. “During National Small Business Week, an estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America will be honored.”

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor several related events during the week and all members of the business community are invited to participate.

On Monday, the press conference and proclamation signing was held at Troy University and free counseling for new and existing businesses was offered through the Small Business Development Center.

Today, from 9 until 10 a.m., free cultural awareness training will be available at the Pike County Economic Development Center. At 6 p.m. a free counterfeit money detection seminar will be held at Park Memorial United Methodist Church.

From 8 until 10 a.m. Wednesday, Len Williams, Dale Carnegie Training, will lead a seminar titled “Leading in Difficult Times and Developing Your People” at Troy Regional Medical Center. The fee is $5. Call 566-2294 to make reservations.

Free Counseling for New and Existing Business will be from 9 a.m. until noon Thursday at the Small Business Development Center by appointment only. Call 334-674-2425.

From noon until 2 p.m., the Len Williams, Dale Carnegie Training, presentation will be at Brundidge City Hall. The fee is $5 per person. Reservations may be made by calling 566-2294.