Earlier this month, SouthLife Supply Company was recognized by the state of Georgia as a Small Business Rock Star by the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA). According to City of Thomasville staff, this is the second consecutive year that a downtown Thomasville business has earned this distinction.
“This is very exciting for downtown Thomasville, as not only was SouthLife Supply Company named an award winner for 2018, but we’ve also had several other downtown businesses nominated for this award as well,” said April Norton, Main Street Director. “In fact, Sweet Grass Dairy was named a Small Business Rock Star in 2017.”
In addition to SouthLife Supply Company, three other downtown businesses were also nominated for this award. Farmer’s Daughter Vineyards, Fuzzy Goat and Liam’s Restaurant, Lounge and Cheese Shoppe were all 2018 Small Business Rock Star nominees. Norton also said that other downtown businesses have been recognized in previous years.
“In 2017, Sweet Grass Dairy – who also earned an honorable mention in 2015 - was named an award winner, and the Taste of Thomasville Food Tour was named a nominee. To have so many small businesses recognized at the state level says a lot about the economic vitality of our downtown,” says Norton.
This year’s Small Business Rock Stars were recognized during Small Business Week, March 19-23, 2018. During Small Business Week, which was officially declared by Governor Nathan Deal, the achievements made by small businesses throughout the state were celebrated.
“What an honor it is to celebrate Georgia’s Small Business Rock Stars during the state’s annual Small Business Week,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Anytime that we can put a spotlight on Georgia’s small businesses is a win-win for the state. These companies keep our economy thriving, and help Georgia maintain its status as the No.1 state in the nation in which to do business.”
Heather Abbott of SouthLife Supply Company is thrilled to be recognized with the Small Business Rock Star Award. “Kelly and I are so thankful and blessed to live in a community that supports small business in every way possible,” she said. “This award is a reflection of the growth and opportunity that exists in our small town - from the Main Street office to the Chamber of Commerce to the Small Business Development Center- small businesses like ours are reaping the rewards of all of those that work so hard every day to make Thomasville America’s best small town!”
Small businesses mean big business for the state of Georgia. “With almost 98 percent of Georgia companies employing fewer than 100 people, small business has a tremendous impact on Georgia’s economy,” said GDEcD Director of Entrepreneur & Small Business Mary Ellen McClanahan. “The Rock Star recognition provides the perfect opportunity to showcase how important small businesses are to the state and of course, the local economy.”
Norton agrees and said that downtown Thomasville is successful because of strong small businesses, such as SouthLife Supply Company. “Our downtown business district is important to our local economy,” she said. “During 2017, twelve new businesses opened or expanded, creating 39 new jobs. Every dollar our community spends within our downtown results in an average of $32.56 in new investment. That type of economic impact is worth celebrating.”
Norton said that it is important to highlight Thomasville’s award-winning small businesses, and plans are in the works now to formally acknowledge the power of downtown’s small businesses. “During the month of April’s First Friday Sip and Stroll, a commemorative decal will be unveiled that will celebrate Thomasville’s Small Business Rock Stars,” said Norton. “This will make it easier for visitors in downtown Thomasville to identify these businesses so that they can experience what makes each of these establishments special.”
Downtown Thomasville’s highly anticipated First Friday Sip and Stroll will officially kick off on Friday, April 6th. In addition to a celebration of Thomasville’s Small Business Rock Stars, the event will also include entertainment on Broad Street from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm before the mainstage concert featuring Music Maker Blues Revue, gears up in the amphitheater at 8:00 pm. For more information, visit thomasvillega.com.