Jim Monroe, CEO of Greenbrier Nurseries, the 2015 Small Business of the Year.
Jim Monroe, CEO of Greenbrier Nurseries, the 2015 Small Business of the Year.

Company’s Ability to Adapt to Constant Business Changes and Grow Earn Company Award

The Roanoke Regional Chamber and Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center have named Greenbrier Nurseries the 2015 Small Business of the Year.  The independent garden retailer that has evolved into a farm-to-table operation that helps other small agricultural businesses grow and succeed was recognized at the Chamber’s 29th Annual Small Business Awards dinner held September 17 at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.

The annual awards program showcases the accomplishments of the small business sector which is composed of more than 90 percent of the area’s business community.

Founded in 1998, Greenbrier Nurseries has grown to be the largest independent garden retailer in the Roanoke Valley. The Chamber noted that, “with their expert team of seasonal employees, Greenbrier offers a high level of horticultural customer service, excellent product selection, and a beautiful environment in which to shop.”

 Following the economic downturn period beginning in 2008, the nursery evolved into a farm to table operation that helps other small agricultural businesses grow and succeed.

“This year’s selection committee had a very difficult decision to make as there were a number of highly successful small businesses represented in the competition,” said Joyce Waugh, president of the Roanoke Regional Chamber.

Waugh continued, “The Small Business Awards selection committee was impressed by Greenbrier Nurseries’ story of adapting from being a leading independent garden retailer to setting up an onsite farmer’s market, allowing local agricultural businesses a place to offer their produce and goods directly to the public.”

A committee of local business people evaluates nominees in terms of increased sales, employee growth, staying power, innovativeness, and contributions to the community.  To be eligible for the small business of the year title, companies must meet SBA small business standards and be at least three years old.

Award winners by category are:

  • Small Business Advocate: Jim Flowers, VT Knowledge Works
  • Small Business Veteran of the Year: Bill Hume, Interactive Design Group
  • Construction/Real Estate: Valley Boiler & Mechanical has grown from a five person operation in 1998 to an employer of 21 with a 45 percent sales increase.
  • Micro-Business (five or fewer employees): Viva la Cupcake, the baker of small treats that can be enjoyed without the guilt, uses social media and crowd sourcing to grow and promote its business.
  • Technology:  TORC Robotics is a leading provider of unmanned and autonomous ground vehicle solutions for public and private uses.
  • Business-to-Business Services:  Family–owned Farmer Auctions has grown and adapted to the times with diversification, new headquarters and finding new markets.
  • Business-to-Consumer Services: For the past decade, HomeTown Bank has remained an independent bank while showing steady growth and employment.
  • Manufacturing: Tecton Products is the manufacturer of custom fiberglass pultrusions produced with exceptional durability and performance.
  • Wholesale/Retail: Greenbrier Nurseries
  • Legacy Award (in business for 50+ years):  Mechanical Development Company has provided high-quality, precision machining services to the area for the past 65 years.
  • Best New Small Business (in business for one to three years, not eligible for overall award):  Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers attracts young professionals, has added new employees, and offers mainstream and seasonal craft brews.
  • Not-for-Profit Arts & Culture: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia has partnered “big” mentors with their “little” charges for the past 65 years.
  • Not-for-Profit Health & Human Services:  HopeTree Family Services has offered residential, educational and support services for at-risk children, youth and adults for 125 years.

Previous small business of the year winners include Homestead Creamery (2014), Roanoke Natural Foods Coop (2013), EHS Support Services (2012), Interactive Achievement (2011), Magnets USA (2010), Home Instead Senior Care (2009), and Virginia Prosthetics (2008).

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