Yesterday, Bernard M. Sweeney, Director of Connecticut's U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) District office announced the 2013 Connecticut winners of the SBA's Small Business Awards. Topping the list is Christopher R. Runyan, Owner/President of Milford based GameXChange. Runyan has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2013 Connecticut Small Business Person of the Year, SBA's top award.
According to an SBA Press Release, Runyan founded GameXChange in 2009 as a franchise retail store that sells, purchases and trades new and pre-owned electronic interactive gaming and other related entertainment hardware, software and accessories. Since opening his first store Chris had opened five more stores in Connecticut; Bridgeport, Wallingford, Waterbury, Branford, Orange, and Milford. Not only has Chris launched six GameXChange franchise locations, but his store in Orange was ranked sixth out of more than 50 GameXChange stores in revenues for 2012, just in its third year in operation. And, he created 36 new jobs along the way!
Other SBA award winners are:
Kenneth E. Bryant of Bead Industries, Inc. , has received the Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Business of the Year. Bead Industries is comprised of two divisions: Bead Electronics and Bead Chain, and a wholly-owned subsidiary, McGuire Mfg. Company. Founded in 1914, Bead Industries, Inc. developed and manufactured bead Chain for electric light pulls. Using the same innovative metal working process, it fabricates contact pins for the electronics industry, and has since the mid-1920s. Today, Bead Industries, Inc. continues to thrive as a manufacturer, supplier, and distributer thanks to strong family values, effective leadership and continuous innovation.
William Turner, APS Technology has received the Exporter of the Year Award. Advanced Products & Systems is a measurement while drilling, and logging while drilling (MWD/LWD) technology company headquartered in Wallingford, CT. APS is a leading innovator, and creator of numerous components, and full systems dedicated to the support of drilling operations in both oilfield areas, and other extremely harsh environments. APS's customers include all of the major integrated multinational oilfield service companies, independent directional drilling companies, MWD service companies and several international and national oil Companies.
Eric Grabowski, Renaissance Farm has received the SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Renaissance Farm is committed to Sustainable Agriculture. Eric, alongside his parents are passions are in providing quality plants, produce and flowers directly to the customer. Their belief in and practicing organic techniques in their farming operations helps them do their part in sustaining our planet. Since 2008 Renaissance Farm has offered superior quality horticultural products within Burlington, CT and its surrounding communities.
Nelson Merchan, CLICROI LLC has received the Home-Based Business Small Business Champion of the Year Award. Nelson founded CLICROI in 2006, a company dedicated to assisting small businesses in getting recognized on the internet and in increasing the success of their online marketing efforts. Following his success as a minority business owner in 2010 he joined SCORE as a business counselor and since this time has successfully assisted entrepreneurs in counseling one-on-one and well as presenting at many business seminars in both Spanish/English languages.
Gerald Clark, Greater New Haven Business & Professional Association has received the Minority in Business Champion of the Year Award. As one of the founders of the GNHBPA in the early 1960's he has been a tireless advocate of small businesses in guiding them throughout the challenges small business owners face; among those legal support and medical services available to them and networking among members. His lifetime goal has been to provide business support services and encouragement to minority-owned businesses.
Rose-Bednarz-Luglio, Gateway Community College is the Woman in Business Champion. Rose has been committed & supportive to Small Business throughout her career. She has volunteered her time as a SCORE counselor, a business owner, a sponsor for high school entrepreneurial programs that highlight women businesses, and in Veterans business programs.
Michael Thomas, ArchAngel Ventures, LLC is the Veteran in Business Champion. Michael is a strong advocate of Veterans and has created a business model thru Subway that not only creates employment but training as well for franchise opportunities. From the inception of his entrepreneurship journey he has always had the broad vision of the hand that he would be able to offer to others along the way._
Gary M. Toole, Connecticut Community Investment Corporation is the Financial Services Champion. Gary began his banking career 42 years ago in Connecticut. Since this time he has worked at many different lending institutions assisting business owners in all types of transactions. Since 2000 Gary has represented the CTCIC, taking to heart CTCIC's mission statement of truly helping small businesses by working on loans of all sizes.
All award winners will be recognized at the Connecticut Small Business Week celebration scheduled for Wednesday, June 5th at the Hartford Club in Hartford, CT.