We would like to congratulate the 10 winners of the 2016 SCORE Awards! Hailing from every corner of the country, these small business owners represent the ability of dedicated individuals to turn their dreams into reality. 

Let’s meet the winners of the 2016 SCORE Awards and learn about their exciting ventures!

Homestead Beer Co.
Outstanding American Manufacturer

Adam Rhodes and Kevin Atkinson came to Licking County, Ohio in support of their academic spouses. They both had corporate experience, but they also wanted to create a valuable cultural addition to rural life there. In just three years, Homestead Beer Co. grew into the largest production microbrewery in Licking County. Mentors Kenneth Williams and John Martin supported the pair as the perfected their recipes and hired a growing brewery staff.

Fit to Recover
Outstanding Community Impact Business

After Ian Acker completed drug and alcohol inpatient treatment in 2012, he wanted to connect with a community that would support his new, healthy lifestyle. He built Fit to Recover not only to provide opportunities to exercise as a group, but also as a place to explore nutrition, community service and creativity. Mentor Doug McNeil supported Acker as he developed his business plans; Fit to Recover has grown to offer a 5,500 square-foot nonprofit gym and community center.

GaBBY Bows
Outstanding Diverse Business

Busy mom Rozalynn Goodwin was frustrated by hair barrettes that wouldn’t stay in her daughter Gabby’s hair. Together, they designed a hair clip that could keep up with hairstyles, but they needed help to find a manufacturer and scale up production in a cost-effective manner. Mentors John LaFond and Maxey Love helped Goodwin improve her business plan. GaBBY Bows has doubled unit sales each year, but Goodwin knows she can call on her mentors at any time for guidance and support. 

Eric & Christopher
Outstanding Encore Entrepreneur

Eric & Christopher started as a collaboration between two artists. Eric Fausnacht and Christopher Kline met at an art show in 2011, where Kline helped Fausnacht create a screen-printed pillow. They developed a business model to share their travel and animal photography on American-made, screen-printed pillows. The Eric & Christopher team worked with mentors Tim Fielder, John Small and Ken Haldeman for guidance to grow their enterprise.

Home Helpers Home Care South Tulsa
Outstanding Franchise Business

Physical therapist Michele Scott opened a Home Helpers franchise to provide comprehensive care for seniors, new mothers and others needing recuperative and continuing assistance. She strives for her franchise to serve as family for clients whose own families can’t be present. Mentors Joseph Gagliardi and Chris Borne guided Michele in the franchising process and helping with best practices for marketing and advertising.

Zeponic Farms
Outstanding Green Business

Agriculture graduate Zach Zepf noticed the demand for locally grown produce as the farm-to-table movement gained popularity. His hydroponic farm, set up inside a shipping container, supports the special-needs population by employing individuals with autism and other challenges to farm produce for the local market. Zepf credits mentor Len Johnson for helping him take his idea from the planning stage to reality.

Outstanding Innovative Business

Maria Dellapina was a licensed optician and single mother of four when her youngest daughter, who has Down syndrome, needed eyeglasses. Dellapina struggled to find frames that would fit on her two-year-old’s petite facial features, so she started sketching designs to improve how her daughter’s glasses could fit. Fast forward 10 years — Specs4Us offers 15 eyeglass models for infants, children and adults with unique facial features. Mentors Jon Slaybaugh and Dick Coyne have provided outside perspective for Dellapina as she has developed her business.

Outstanding Job Creator Business

Christopher Gonzalez, Dave Comisky and Jim Camut developed Barkly, offering on-demand dog walking services for dog owners in the Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas. Barkly background-checks, insures and trains its walkers for superior service. Their custom smartphone app includes features like GPS mapping and pick up/drop off notifications. Mentor Hal Shelton has supported the team during a rapid growth period in new markets.

Outstanding Woman-Owned Business

Dianne Harrison and Cynthia Clarke know that small details can make a huge difference. In 2011, they challenged themselves to open a boutique company creating exquisite paper products for all levels of the consumer market. Today, their greeting cards and complementary items are sold by six national retailers. Mentor Bruce Gitlin helped the pair map a strategic plan for business development.

Carmel Honey Company
Outstanding Young Entrepreneur

Carmel Honey Company grew out of a passion for bees and good grades. Jake Reisdorf’s fifth-grade report on honey-bee colony collapse disorder developed into a passion for beekeeping. His business not only provides local honey products to consumers, but also supports the restoration of the area honeybee population. SCORE mentor Larry Horan helped Reisdorf develop the financial side of his business plan.

Want to follow in the footsteps of these amazing small-business leaders? Find a SCORE mentor online or in your area who can help take your business to the next level.

About the Author(s)

Bridget Weston Pollack

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association.

Vice President of Marketing & Communications, SCORE
SCORE Awards logo