WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today SCORE, – www.score.org - mentors to America's small businesses, announces the winners of The American Small Business Championship, a program supported by Sam's Club, providing expert training, resources and networking opportunities to small business owners. A total of 102 winners from 48 states were chosen based on written, video and photo entries that detailed the sacrifices each had made to achieve small business success. Winners were determined by online voting and a panel of judges comprised of small business experts.

View the full list of 102 winning businesses at championship.score.org.

Thanks to a $700,000 grant from Sam's Club, the membership club for the small business community, Champions will each receive a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to one of five SCORE training events, SCORE mentoring for one year, and promotion throughout the year to showcase each Champion's story.

The stories of sacrifices made by each winner tell the story of what it means to really pursue the American dream. Three such stories include:

Business: The Orange Crunch of Westminster, Colorado 

Leshner Del Rosario and his new wife started their food cart after both being dealt layoffs from their corporate jobs. Del Rosario says, "Our Sacrifice is our Marriage, as we never had a breath to take and enjoy each other as newlyweds should. We are working our tails off so we can finally get to a point and feel like a normal married couple and not business partners." Their product was recently selected for resale by a major national retailer.

Business: Rain Baby Gear Design, LLC of Portland, Oregon

Susan Stearns had an idea to improve the lives of babies and parents and gave up a career in healthcare policy to make it a reality. Stearns says, "Leaving a known career, a large network of colleagues, job security, and benefits was a risk and a sacrifice." The current popularity of Rain Baby Gear with both wholesale and retail buyers has validated her idea and Stearns is looking to grow production.

Business: Simply Falafel Mediterranean Cuisine of Edmond, Oklahoma

Magid Assaleh had always dreamed of owning a Mediterranean restaurant and left his job as general manager of a country club to take over a failing restaurant in major financial trouble and very near closing its doors. His major sacrifice? Time: "We are open seven days a week, and I personally make every effort to be there to greet my customers from open to close because I believe in personalized service that exceeds my customers' expectations. As a result, I put in about 70 hours each week." Two years after taking over the business, it has completely turned around financially and boasts high online ratings.


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