Cobb Chamber of Commerce

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Date ArticleType
6/5/2017
Blue Sky Exhibits is the 2017 Small Business of the Year



The Cobb Chamber of Commerce named Blue Sky Exhibits as the 2017 Small Business of the Year at the Chamber’s First Monday Breakfast, presented by sponsors NovaCopy and Servis1st Bank.
Blue Sky Exhibits is a premier exhibit company with expertise in design, manufacturing and field-related services to the Trade Show Industry. Owners Don Keller and Tim Kelly launched Blue Sky Exhibits in 2003 and today it’s a complete turn-key exhibit firm offering solutions that enable its clients to sell their products and meet marketing objectives.
Blue Sky Exhibits impressively stays in a constant state of improvement, questioning how processes are done, always seeking improvement and the highest quality standards. Since its inception, Blue Sky has experienced consistent and incremental increases in revenue. This success began to place a strain on internal resources—there were break downs in quality, client responsiveness and profitability. Keller and Kelly made a bold decision was made to re-invent the company. Through a comprehensive analysis, every aspect of the operation was addressed. A new operations manual was written, new personnel were hired, investments in team building were made and a rebrand was launched. This effort paid off with a 300 percent growth in profitability and Blue Sky Exhibits is poised for continued growth and success.

As the Chamber’s 2017 Small Business of the Year, Blue Sky Exhibits will compete in the state’s small business of the year competition.

Competitive Application and Selection Process
To be considered for the Top 25 Small Businesses of Year, each hopeful submits an application to the Cobb Chamber. The applicants must prove an increase in sales or unit volume, provide examples of innovation, discuss adversity and challenges, and thoroughly detail their community involvement. Applications are analyzed and considered by a group of independent community business leaders and affiliates of the Small Business Administration.
After all of the submitted applications are judged and rated, five finalists are selected based on their numerical score. The five finalists are then put through a second step in the application process – a 30-minute site visit by the judges. The visit is meant as a fresh, in-person opportunity to present to the panel of judges the ideals, practices, values and day-to-day operations discussed in the initial application.

2017 Top 25 Small Businesses of the Year
The Cobb Chamber honored the following Top 25 Small Businesses at the June First Monday Breakfast:
• Artisan Custom Closets
• Blue Sky Exhibits
• Deluxe Athletics
• DynamiX
• ETA-Creative Event Producers
• Georgia Trade School
• GeorgiaLocalSearch, LLC
• High Road Craft Ice Cream, Inc.
• Historic Marietta Trolley Co.
• IAG Forensics and Valuation
• Ivy Lane
• K Mike Whittle Designs, Inc.
• North Georgia Staffing
• One Ring Networks
• Peterson Foods (Otter’s Chicken)
• RE/MAX PURE- Wendy Bunch Team
• Seed Kitchen & Bar
• SimpleC, LLC
• The Color Spot, Inc.
• The Marietta Local
• The Service Fort, LLC
• Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique
• Tuxedo Mosquito Control
• Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q
• Win-Tech, Inc

Small Business Hall of Fame
2016 Small Business of the Year, Gaskins Surveying and Engineering Company, was also honored at the June First Monday Breakfast. The reigning small business was inducted in to the Small Business Hall of Fame, which includes all county and state winners of Small Business of the Year from Cobb County since 1982. The full list of Small Business Hall of Fame honorees can be found at www.cobbchamber.org/sboy.

2017 Businesses to Watch
In order to recognize the impressive accomplishments of many new Cobb businesses, the Cobb Chamber expanded the Small Business of the Year program to include the Businesses To Watch awards presentation. These are businesses that have launched three years ago or less and have already achieved substantial growth. The 2017 Businesses To Watch are:
• Dirty Deed Junk Removal
• Dry County Brewing Company
• Inbox Pros
• Lee Davis Law Firm
• Peachtree Hearing

The Presenting Sponsors of the 2017 Small Businesses of the Year awards are NovaCopy and Servis1st Bank. The Business To Watch sponsor is Smith & Howard. The awards sponsor is Wells Fargo. The Hall of Fame Sponsor is the UGA Small Business Development Center at Kennesaw State University. Gold sponsors are Cumberland Diamond Exchange, Gaskins Surveying and Engineering, Henssler Financial and Kenny’s Great Pies. Silver sponsors are Mauldin & Jenkins and Moore Colson. The Bronze sponsor is AkzoNobel.