Southern Indiana was the focus for small business Thursday as three locals were honored for their contributions to the state and Midwest.
As part of Small Business week, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes those local businesses that have made a difference in their community. For the first time in the group’s history, two multistate winners and another local company were honored.
“You guys really know what you’re doing down here for small business,” said Gail Gesell, Indiana district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
She added that the awards, which have been handed out since 1963, are designed to honor the contributions of, and advocates for, small business.
Those who received awards at a luncheon Thursday were: Schimpff’s Confectionery, honored as the 2013 SBA Indiana and Region Five family-owned business of the year; Le Anne Kruer Scott, senior vice president of Your Community Bank in Jeffersonville, who received the 2013 SBA Indiana and Region Five financial services champion award; and Kimberly Martin-Dawkins, vice president of PNC Bank in New Albany, who was recognized as the 2013 SBA Indiana Women in Business Champion.
Also honored was Jack Thompson, president of Building Associates Inc., as the prime contractor of the year for Indiana and Region Five.
New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan pointed to the importance small businesses have had in his city.
“Small, unique businesses have driven the economic revitalization of downtown New Albany,” he said.
And for Southern Indiana residents, presenters didn’t have to offer a name for one business that has long been a fixture in the community, but instead broke out a pack of candy red-hots.
Gesell, when introducing Schimpff’s owners Jill and Warren Schimpff, provided some recent statistics about the confectionery that has been in the same location along Spring Street since 1891. Among those: from 2011 to 2012, revenue increased 21 percent for the company. In addition, web and mail orders for the business only comprised 5 to 7 percent of its revenue, she said.