Risk-takers. Problem Solvers. The Dreamers and the Doers.

Not for the faint of heart, being a small business owner is a bold feat. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we celebrate those who are up to the challenge. The Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards do just that, by showcasing those that dare to start, sustain, and succeed and the community that supports them.

Culture Creator Award:

Tim Minard, CEO Eclipse Gaming Systems

Creating a company culture is not just for large corporations. This small business is intentional by investing in the development and wellbeing of its employees. Since 2008, this year’s Culture Creator has placed a special focus on the Native American gaming markets as well as commercial and international gaming markets. With the mission of “Going Beyond The Game”, Eclipse Gaming Systems leadership team actively invests in each employee by providing on-going training and development year-round. Eclipse Gaming Systems offers its nearly 70 staff members competitive salaries, excellent benefits, a safe workplace, work from home flexibility, and all the tools and training necessary for advancement within the company. Employees are regularly rewarded with bonuses and often recognized for their achievements, from the 2023 Global Gaming Awards to the 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders in Gaming. Eclipse employees regularly go beyond the game by supporting the metro Atlanta and Gwinnett community through volunteerism and charitable financial contributions.

Minority/Woman-Owned Small Business Award:

Danielle Hudson-Laughlin, Founder and CEO – SAGE Business Counsel

This award recognizes a minority-owned and/or woman-owned organization that exhibits excellence and best business practices. This year’s winner is a woman-owned small business that embodies the motto “Where Legacy Thrives.” Danielle Hudson-Laughlin started SAGE Business Counsel as a single mom, operating as its sole owner. The goal of SAGE is to help companies stay in business longer by providing tailored legal solutions that keep them going without unnecessary risks. SAGE Business Counsel has evolved over the years and attributes their success to harnessing the core value of GROWTH as the heartbeat of their company’s evolution. Through growth, SAGE Business Counsel has managed to stay ahead of the curve by continuously assessing market trends, emerging technologies, and client demands. Their mission is not only to provide legal counsel but to be a catalyst for positive change within the legal industry, empowering businesses and fostering a culture of success.

Community Contributor Award:

Joy Monroe, Founder and Executive Director – Single Parents Alliance & Resource Center (SPARC)

The Community Contributor award pays tribute to an organization that, although small, makes a big difference in the lives of others. This year’s winner is an organization whose mission is to empower and equip single parents with the necessary tools, resources, and support to create a healthy home. Through their motel-to-home program, Single Parents Alliance & Resource Center, or SPARC, provides funding to homeless families living in extended-stay motels and supports transition into apartments of their own.  They also have a financial achievement club where they work with families on their finances, savings and credit health. Book Buddies and SPARC kids’ academy engage the kids in this process offering a literacy program and a free after school program, respectively. In addition to the programs mentioned, SPARC offers ongoing parenting support groups for single parents. All of SPARC’s programs are designed to ensure the community is inhabited with healthy, stable single parents.

Launch Award:

Dr. David Kunz, Founder – Sugarloaf Wellness Center

The Launch Award honors a business that began no more than two years ago. This year’s Launch Award goes to an organization that emphasizes taking care of the whole person – body, soul, and spirit. As a family doctor for 36 years, Dr. David Kunz (KOO-nz) created Sugarloaf Wellness Center to help patients consistently live healthier and happier lives. An extension of Perisseia Primary Care, Sugarloaf Wellness Center goes beyond mainstream traditional medicine by offering a number of holistic and aesthetic services including bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, laser hair removal, Botox, and more. Over the years, Dr. Kunz and his staff have established a reputation for listening, caring and finding answers to patients’ health problems and questions, where others could not. Sugarloaf Wellness Center is known for its hospitality and care on a personal level for every patient and has successfully “launched” a space dedicated to the total well-being of Gwinnett’s residents

Founder Award:

Bin Liu, Founder and CEO – SimpleFloors

The recipient of this award started small but thought big. Founded in 2005, this year’s winner takes pride in her ability to consistently deliver high quality material and installation solutions. Bin Liu started SimpleFloors as a way to have financial independence and give back to her community. Bin was not afraid of the hard work and learned early that being successful requires a strong foundation. SimpleFloors now has six locations across the United States. Over the years, Bin has learned to adapt to the changes that come with growth in order to be successful. She prides herself on the work her team produces and continuously attends grand openings of her clients, walking through their spaces to ensure everything was done to standard. When Bin is not running her successful company, she serves on several boards and volunteers when the opportunity presents itself.

Small Business (0-5 Employee Category) Award:

Kandi Todd, Owner – Bring The Crew

Founded in 2016, this year’s winner provides planning, logistics, and strategy management of residential insurance related property claims. Bring The Crew’s mission is to ensure that homeowners who are not familiar with contractual jargon are able to complete the claims process efficiently and correctly. They specialize in claims for household renovations, structural drying mold remediation, and water extractions. Owner Kandi Todd says failure is not an option. Bring the Crew has fought through difficult times and even had to compromise on what products they offer whenever economic elements impacted their existing list of services. But they make these decisions in the spirit of their company’s mission and have created a long list of raving fans as a result. 

Small Business (6-24 Employee Category) Award:

Shara Ryan, Owner – Team Ryan Automotive

In 2015, Dan Ryan and his wife Shara built Team Ryan Automotive, a kitchen-table conversation that turned into an automotive service and repair business. Their goal is to provide customers with expert advice and empower them to make tailored decisions based on needs and budget. Team Ryan Automotive was built with five core values in mind: fortitude, adaptability, discipline, continuous growth, and consistency. Their mission is to enrich the lives of everyone around them through meaningful conversation, education, and compassion. Dan and his wife pride themselves on the business and team they have built while being steadfast and honest every step of the way. Their daily commitment to customer service embodies their motto to be the auto repair shop “You Can Trust!”

Small Business (25 or More Employee Category) Award: 

Colleen Japuntich, President – NEMA, Inc.

Founded in 1988, this year’s winner has maintained its success by doing everything organically and according to the needs of their customers. NEMA, Inc. is an asset-based logistics and warehousing company in Duluth. NEMA provides trucking, warehousing, and importation and exportation of ocean containers and air freight. One of the biggest benefits NEMA can offer any business that imports products is its Foreign Trade Zone designation. A Foreign Trade Zone – or FTZ – is a location where imports can be stored domestically without paying customs duties until the product is needed. Their mission is to provide exceptional service and a seamless supply chain for their customers. NEMA exhibits staying power by continuing to have their customers, employees, and end users at the heart of everything they do to ensure satisfaction and quality of service at every step

Support System Award: Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center

Mark Farmer, Gwinnett County Gov, Dep. Division Director, Economic Development

The success of a small business is often dependent on the ecosystem that it is surrounded by. This designation honors an organization that strengthens the community’s small business environment. This year’s Support System winner is an organization whose sole purpose is to support entrepreneurs and small businesses. Sponsored by Gwinnett County Government and located in downtown Lawrenceville, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center is a regional education institute for entrepreneurs and small business owners as well as a business incubator. The center provides education offerings including classes, workshops, peer discussion groups, and one-on-one coaching, most of which are at no charge. The incubation support is an intensive program designed to move businesses through start-up or growth-development, utilizing customized graduation plans. As a small business community, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center understands the need for having a place where questions can be answered, support can be provided, and growth can be achieved in Gwinnett’s vibrantly connected county.

Emerging Entrepreneur Award:

Charbel Aoun, Founder and Executive Director – Georgia FirstGen

That Emerging Entrepreneur Award celebrates a young professional, under 40 years old, who is shaking up the small business space. This year’s emerging entrepreneur winner started his business with the desire to make a lasting impact in his community. As a first-generation student himself, Charbel Aoun created Georgia FirstGen with the intention of addressing the unique challenges first-generation students face. Charbel is committed to empowering fellow students with educational resources, mentorship, and support. Since its inception, Georgia FirstGen has organized over 75 educational events, meetings, and conferences with speakers across Georgia, strengthening student participation by over 90%. In addition to his full-time job, Charbel volunteers on the Gwinnett Young Professionals Board of Directors and was recently named to Georgia Trend’s 40-Under-40 Metro Atlanta Leaders. His photo graced the cover of this statewide publication issued in September, making him an icon for successful emerging entrepreneurs from Columbus to Savannah, and Valdosta to Atlanta

“And The Nominees Are…”

Selecting the winners from this extraordinary lineup of finalists proved to be an arduous task. Each nominee, be it a thriving business or a community-focused organization, stood out for its exceptional contributions. The depth of impact and dedication displayed by these finalists was nothing short of inspiring. In a sea of excellence, these nominees truly embody the essence of distinction, making the decision-making process both challenging and awe-inspiring.

Congratulations to this year’s finalists!

Community Contributor Award

E2E Benefits Services
Eclipse Gaming Systems
Freedom Path Counseling
Global Paint for Charity, Inc.
Good Samaritan Health Centers of Gwinnett
Green Financial Resources, LLC
Gwinnett Chatt Outreach
Gwinnett Coalition, Inc.
HB Consulting Co
Hi-Hope Service Center, Inc.
Manna Scholarship Fund, Inc.
Navigate Recovery Gwinnett
Tadeo & Silva Law
The Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Inc.
Porter Steel, Inc.
Rare Wish
ReKlayMe Health and Wellness
SPARC (Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center, Inc.)
Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett
Spectrum Autism Support Group
StreetWise Georgia

Minority-Owned/Woman-Owned Small Business Award

Aasiya Muslim, LaShonia Turner and Marisa King – Scrum-did-dly-ump-tious
Ann-Carol Pence and Katie Pelkey – Aurora Theatre
Angelia White – ALW Tax & Financial Services
Celeste Giordano – Celeste Giordano Consulting
Chantel Cohen – CWC Coaching & Therapy
Danielle Hudson-Laughlin – SAGE Business Counsel
Dezirae Hatchell – Healthy Minds for Healthy Homes
Genie Burnett – Manna Scholarship Fund, Inc.
Imran Niazi – Blackwater Construction Group, LLC
Jeimy Arias – Lead With Coach Jeimy, LLC
Jennifer DeLoach – The DeLoach Law Practice, LLC
Karen Quintanilla – King of Kings Tax & Accounting Firm
Linda Octavien – Reklayme Health and Wellness
Linnea Miller – Long Table, LLC
Lucy Mejia – The Junkluggers of Atlanta Metro East
Marzena Trawinski – Main Street Realty Group
Melissa Gunderson – Morsels by Melissa
Nancy McGill – Cartridge World Lawrenceville
Nathaly Loaiza – CAL Industries Heat and Air
Olivia Amyette – Infinite Energy Advisors
Ossiereen Jones – Rejoice Christian Books and Gift Shop, LLC
Tina Woodard – Capstone Performance Solutions, Inc.
Trena Myers – Rare Wish

Emerging Entrepreneur Award

Charbel Aoun – Georgia First Generation Foundation
Freddie Hart – Frhart2 Enterprises
Heather Bellew – HB Consulting Co
Juan Mejia – JCM Ventures
Kennedy Patterson – K.L.P. Entertainment
Melissa Peñate – Peñate Consulting, LLC
Olivia Amyette – Infinite Energy Advisors

Founder Award

Bin Liu – SimpleFloors, Inc.
Chad Gaffney – Empire Contracting, LLC
Chrissy Thomas – About Face Skin Care
Deirdra Cox – Community Sustainability Enterprise
Don Ansley – ACG Solutions
Genie Burnett – Manna Scholarship Fund, Inc.
Kandi Todd – Bring The Crew
Kirk Halpern – Farmers & Fishermen Purveyors
Matthew Hunt – C2H Air & Electric
Raymer Sale, Jr. – Red, Blue & You, LLC

Launch Award

BB Watkins Agency – State Farm
Sugarloaf Wellness Center
Lillies Boutique
Mobility City of Lawrenceville
On-Site Results Laboratory
Rare Wish
The Sugarcane Factory

Culture Creator Award

Aaron Overhead Doors
Aurora Theatre, Inc.
Bring The Crew, Inc.
Budget Blinds of Duluth and Central Gwinnett
Eclipse Gaming Systems
Green Financial Resources, LLC
IntegriCom, Inc.
NEMA, Inc.
Office Creations
RudHil Companies
Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery

Small Business Award (0 – 5 Employees)

Bobby’s Shine Shop Mobile Car Wash
Bring The Crew
Business RadioX
G Ragsdale Builders
Lillies Boutique

Small Business Award (6 – 24 Employees)

Earthwise Pet Hamilton Ridge
Emert & Yeom, LLC
Green Financial Resources, LLC
SAGE Business Counsel
Team Ryan Automotive

Small Business Award (25+ Employees)

Britt’s Home Furnishings, Inc
Comcast Business
Eclipse Gaming Systems
Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center
HR Partners, Inc.
New York Life Insurance Company

Support System Award

Business RadioX
Comcast Business
Eclipse Gaming Systems
Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center
HR Partners, Inc.
New York Life Insurance Company