Five local businesses were recognized by the Little Rock Regional Chamber with its Small Business Impact Awards.
The Small Business Impact Awards were established in 2019 to highlight local small businesses and other organizations for their innovation and contributions to the Little Rock community.
Heather Baker, Publisher of AY Media Group was emcee of the event.
Partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the chamber selected 16 local businesses and organizations as finalists in five awards categories. On Wednesday, Nov. 4, the chamber hosted a virtual awards ceremony, revealing the winners.
Galley Support Innovations, of Sherwood, took the Small Business of the Year Award, which recognizes a business that “exemplifies both business and civic leadership” through community involvement, management practices and financial performance. The company, which manufactures latches, locks and other interior hardware for the aviation industry is led by chief executive officer Gina Radke and chief operating officer Wade Radke.
In its first year, Galley Support Innovations had 10,000 in sales, according to a previous Arkansas Money & Politics article. Today, it is a multimillion dollar company with clients such as Dassault Falcon Jet and more.
“We have never been about how much money we make; we have always measured our success or how much impact we have made,” Gina Radke told Arkansas Money & Politics in an earlier interview. “Our community impact is our first measure of success and economic success seems to always follow that.”
The Love Little Rock Award, which honors a company that “actively contributes to quality of place and our community,” went to Nexus Coffee & Creative. The criteria for this award, according to the chamber, is that businesses must interact with other businesses to “create unique collaborations,” as well as donate time and resources to the local community and champion Little Rock.
Founded in 2016 by Amy Counce, Nexus Coffee & Creative provides a space for connection in downtown Little Rock. The coffee shop partners with North Little Rock roasting company Leiva’s Coffee to provide the beans for its beverages.
Dempsey Bakery snagged the Health and Wellness Small Business award for 2020. This award recognizes companies that aim to improve the health of the Little Rock community.
Owner Paula Dempsey started down her entrepreneurial path after finding out that her family needed to follow a gluten-free diet, experimenting with allergy-free recipes and opening a brick-and-mortar store in 2011.
The Little Rock Regional Chamber presented the Women-Owned Award to ZenStudio of Little Rock, which is owned by Camden Hyneman and overseen by corporate and general manager Katelyn Avery. This award honors a company that is 51 percent or more owned and operated by a woman and demonstrates “the entrepreneurial potential necessary for long-term business success and economic growth.”
The first ZenStudio was opened in Jonesboro in 2010, and Hyneman has since opened studios in Little Rock, Fayetteville and Memphis.
Arkansas Foodbank received the final award, the Community Impact of the Year Award. To be eligible for this award, nonprofits must be founded and operated within the Little Rock region and must be empowering an underserved or disadvantaged population.
This nonprofit, founded in 1984, works to provide food to those in need. Arkansas Foodbank provides food that can be used in households or soup kitchens, and it distributed 29.5 million pounds of food and 25.2 million meals to Arkansans in 2019, according to an AMP article.