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Four area businesses receive SBA honors June 1

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Four southwest Missouri businesses were nominated for the Small Business Administration's Small Business Person (Team) of the Year.

They will be honored at the SBA's Small Business Week kick-off breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at Heritage Cafeteria in Springfield June 1.

The four nominees are Jerry and Janice Martin of Martin's Crafts, Springfield; Richard Barnhouse, Micro Innovations, Nixa; Karen Lea Zaborac, American Sun Control, Osage Beach; and Tim and Jane Bennett, The Maiman Company, Springfield. The nominees are being honored at the Springfield breakfast, but none will represent region VII, the SBA region Missouri is in, in the national competition this year.

One Missouri businessman, David Steward, president of World Wide Technologies, St. Louis, will represent Region VII in the national Small Business Person of the Year competition, along with three other nominees from Region VII. The national awards will be presented in Washington, D.C., during Small Business Week.

Martin's Crafts was originally a Ben Franklin franchise store, but because of competition from large discount chains, the Martins decided to rework the store's concept. The new concept phased out the company's involvement with the franchisor.

The company grew from 12 employees when the Martins acquired it in 1989, to 22; those employees earn 35 percent above minimum wage.

Micro Innovations is a supplier of micrographic filming and electronic imaging products. Barnhouse took the lead in the company in 1989, and the business has since grown from 12 employees to more than 175 and had sales of nearly $5 million in 1997. The company began in 6,000 square feet and had one customer; it now has more than 500 customers and Barnhouse operates his own 20,000-square-foot facility.

Tim and Jane Bennett purchased the Maiman Company in March of 1990. The company produces architectural wooden stile-and-rail doors for specialized purposes.

Over the last seven years, sales for the company have tripled and the company has kept its promise to employees for steady employment and no lay-offs.

American Sun Control began in 1986 and is a glass tinting company and also provides awnings, deck covers, roll curtains, carports and tent rentals. The company employed only one sales person and two installers in 1986, but now has nine full-time employees. Its annual sales are $500,000.

Also during the kick off breakfast, the SBA will honor two southwest Missouri lenders that have been newly selected as SBA Preferred Lenders, along with honoring major loan producers in the area.

Metropolitan National Bank of Springfield and Ozark Mountain Bank of Branson are the new preferred lenders, who received the designation based on their commercial loan analysis expertise, portfolio quality, and commitment to the small-business community of southwest Missouri.

The banks are two of the top SBA lenders in the Midwest, according to James Combs, branch manager of Springfield's SBA office.

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