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Bidness As Unusual

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It's Small Business of the Year time. This week is always a challenge, a gratifying challenge, here at the Business Journal.

First, foremost and to the exclusion of whatever other ramblings I will have here, congratulations to Butler, Rosenbury & Partners, the 1998 W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year.

And, without the slightest slight, congratulations, too, to all the finalists for the award: Perkin Watts Advertising and Marketing Services, Ozark Mailing Service, Sunbelt Environmental, LCS Kleen-Aire, Marketing Partners/Embroidery House, Bass Litho Color, Mostly Memories and Ollis & Company.

Small business is, of course, our butter and bread here at SBJ. We write about small-business issues, we sell advertising to small businesses and, for the most part, our readers are owners and executives of small businesses. The award is always of interest to us.

Each year the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce holds its luncheon to announce the award on a Thursday. As any of you who have telephoned me on Thursday know, that day is our deadline for the regular section of the paper. Because procrastination is my birthright, and I evidence this by being perpetually late in my duties, I am usually terse, if not entirely hostile, on Thursdays.

But the chamber fails to recognize that the universe should revolve around our deadlines. In order to get news of the winner into the paper in a timely manner (which is to say days after the award is presented rather than weeks after) we make special arrangements to accommodate the announcement.

In fairness, the chamber, too, makes accommodations for us, clueing us in on the winner ahead of time on our oath not to reveal the secret. The element of surprise is, rightly, valued by the chamber folks. And then we snap a photo at the luncheon and rush to get that picture into the paper.

Actually, that's the nature of the newspaper business: working hard to get timely information to our readers. So, all my bellyaching is nothing more than us doing our jobs.

Part of that job this year involved a month-long series building up to this week's luncheon. Throughout May we profiled each of the finalists. Karen Culp did a fantastic job writing about each of those nine finalists.

Reading those stories revealed why the chamber presents the award. It's not for self-aggrandizement of the businesses. To reduce this event to the presentation of a trophy is to miss the point that being in business is a constant learning process in the quest for improvement, and even the ever-elusive perfection.

The award is presented on the basis of a panel of judges' assessment of the companies in a number of categories, including response to adversity, staying power, business management philosophy and community involvement.

Everyone in business can learn from the finalists. Karen's profiles showed that businesses have myriad ways to reach success, and each has a story that shows how creativity, persistence and intelligence pay off. In the same way that small business is the lifeblood of the Springfield Business Journal, so, too, is it to all businesses in town.

You are each other's customers, you are each other's clients, and the vitality of the economy in the area is in large part due to the diversity and strength of its small businesses.

This year's finalists reflect that diversity in Springfield small businesses, from the ages of the companies to the breadth of the industries they work in.

The luncheon June 4 was a special honor to Butler, Rosenbury & Partners. Again, congratulations to all its owners, partners and employees. Enjoy the limelight now and continued success in years to come.

And, without diminishing that, the award each year is also a celebration of small business itself.

Keep learning.


In the same way that small business is the lifeblood of the Springfield Business Journal, so, too, is it to all businesses in town. [[In-content Ad]]


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